Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club Titles

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We are delighted to share the new selection of books that will feature on BBC Radio 2 Book Club with Jo Whiley. Every fortnight on Mondays from 7-9pm a different book will be discussed, starting on Monday 7 October.

The Book Club will continue to showcase the best brand-new fiction, with a live interview between Jo Whiley and the author, as well as a review from one of our brilliant reading groups.

Monday 7 October: Three Little Truths by Eithne Shortall

Martha used to be a force of nature: calm, collected, and in charge. But since moving her husband and two daughters to Dublin under sudden and mysterious circumstances, she can’t seem to find her footing.

Robin was the ‘it’ girl in school, destined for success. Now she’s back at her parents’ with her four-year-old son, vowing that her ne’er-do-well ex is out of the picture for good.

Edie has everything she could want, apart from a baby, and the acceptance of her new neighbours. She longs to be one of the girls, and to figure out why her perfect husband seems to be avoiding their perfect future.

Three women looking for a fresh start on idyllic Pine Road. Their friendship will change their lives, and reveal secrets they never imagined.

Monday 21 October: The Places I’ve Cried in Public by Holly Bourne

Amelie loved Reese. And she thought he loved her. But she’s starting to realise love isn’t supposed to hurt like this.

So now she’s retracing their story and untangling what happened by revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn to get over him.

Monday 4 November: The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

England, late 1930s, and Alice Wright – restless, stifled – makes an impulsive decision to marry wealthy American Bennett van Cleve and leave her home and family behind. But stuffy, disapproving Baileyville, Kentucky, where her husband favours work over his wife, and is dominated by his overbearing father, is not the adventure – or the escape – that she hoped for.

That is, until she meets Margery O’Hare – daughter of a notorious felon and a troublesome woman the town wishes to forget. Margery’s on a mission to spread the wonder of books and reading to the poor and lost – and she needs Alice’s help. Trekking alone under big open skies, through wild mountain forests, Alice, Margery and their fellow sisters of the trail discover freedom, friendship – and a life to call their own. But when Baileyville turns against them, will their belief in one another – and the power of the written word – be enough to save them?

Monday 18 November: Olive Again by Elizabeth Strout

Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes – sometimes welcome, sometimes not – in her own existence and in those around her.

Olive adjusts to her new life with her second husband, challenges her estranged son and his family to accept him, experiences loss and loneliness, witnesses the triumphs and heartbreaks of her friends and neighbours in the small coastal town of Crosby, Maine – and, finally, opens herself to new lessons about life.

Monday 2 December: Royals by Emma Forrest

July, 1981. London. Shy, working-class Steven finds solace in beauty. Eighteen years old, he dreams of being a fashion designer. He’s also gay, maybe – he hasn’t decided yet. There’s a lot Steven isn’t sure about, like whether he hates himself or thinks he’s amazing.

When he ends up in hospital after being brutally attacked by his father, he meets Jasmine, an heiress. Intoxicating, anarchic, fabulous Jasmine. Fuelled by their shared love of fashion, a friendship blossoms and soon, Steven finds himself swept into her hedonistic world, wholly beguiled. However, underneath the glitter and the frivolity, darkness lies.

Devastating, dazzling, queer and radical, Royals is a love story between unlikely friends from completely different worlds. It’s about the power of art to transform lives and the power of families to destroy them. It’s about working out who you are and what you want. It’s a tale of giddy happiness, crushing lows and, ultimately, the fragility of lives lived too fast.

Monday 16 December: The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott

1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so, she begins to search.

Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.

And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.

How the books are chosen

The Reading Agency works with librarians from across the UK to help Radio 2 choose the books featured on the Book Club. Hundreds of books are submitted by publishers and read by a fantastic panel before we meet to choose a shortlist. Meet some of our brilliant librarians.


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Reading groups

In each Radio 2 Book Club episode, the book is read and reviewed by one of our brilliant reading groups. Then, the BBC come to record their meeting and play it live on the show! If you are interested in your reading group taking part in this, please do send us your details.

Not yet a member of Reading Groups for Everyone? Sign up now.

Want more offers for your reading group? Visit our Noticeboard for the latest opportunities.

Looking for reading ideas? Visit our Book Reviews page for the latest themed reading lists.

Get involved

Have you read any of the Book Club titles? You can leave reviews of the books on our website.

Planning to buy some of the titles for your group? Buy books from Hive and support The Reading Agency and local bookshops at no extra cost to you.

Want to make sure you get the latest news? Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

You can join the Radio 2 Book Club Facebook group, and also follow Jo Whiley on Twitter.

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