Radio 2 Book Club with Jo Whiley

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We’re excited to announce that the BBC Radio 2 Book Club will be moving to Jo Whiley’s show on Mondays from 7-9pm, starting on 21 January. Every fortnight a different book will be discussed, and we have the first season’s titles to share with you.

The Book Club will continue to discuss the best brand new fiction as well as revisiting classic books and beloved authors.

The first season of Jo Whiley’s Book Club will feature these fantastic titles:

Monday 21 January: Golden Child by Claire Adam

Rural Trinidad: a family, quietly surviving, just trying to live a decent life. Clyde, the father, works long hours; Joy, his wife, looks after the home. Their two sons, are twins but nothing alike. Paul has always been considered odd, while Peter is widely believed to be a genius, destined for greatness.

When Paul goes missing one afternoon and doesn’t come home, Clyde is forced to go looking for him. And as the hours turn to days, and Clyde begins to understand Paul’s fate, his world shatters – leaving him faced with a decision no parent should ever have to make.

Monday 4 February: The Girl With The Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier

Johannes Vermeer can spot exceptional beauty. When servant girl Griet catches his eye, she soon becomes both student and muse. But then he gives her his wife’s pearl earrings to wear for a portrait, and a scandal erupts that could threaten Griet’s future.

Vivid, captivating and much emulated, this is a timeless modern classic and an international bestseller.

Monday 18 February: On The Come Up by Angie Thomas

Bri wants to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. As the daughter of an underground hip-hop legend who died right before he hit the big time, Bri’s got massive shoes to fill. But when her first song goes viral for all the wrong reasons, Bri finds herself at the centre of controversy and portrayed by the media as more menace than MC. And with an eviction notice staring her family down, Bri no longer just wants to make it – she has to. Even if it means becoming the very thing the public has made her out to be.

Monday 4 March: The Catcher In The Rye by JD Salinger

It’s Christmas and Holden Caulfield has just been expelled from yet another school. Fleeing the crooks at Pencey Prep, he pinballs around New York City seeking solace in fleeting encounters – shooting the bull with strangers in dive hotels, wandering alone round Central Park, getting beaten up by pimps and cut down by erstwhile girlfriends.

An all-time classic coming-of-age story: an elegy to teenage alienation, capturing the deeply human need for connection and the bewildering sense of loss as we leave childhood behind.

Monday 18 March: Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession

Leonard and Hungry Paul are two friends who see the world differently. They use humour, board games and silence to steer their way through the maelstrom that is the 21st century.

‘The figure in Munch’s painting isn’t actually screaming!’ Hungry Paul said. ‘Really, are you sure?’ Replied Leonard. ‘Absolutely. That’s the whole thing. The figure is actually closing his ears to block out a scream. Isn’t that amazing? A painting can be so misunderstood and still become so famous.’

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New host Jo Whiley said: “I’m thrilled to be hosting the Radio 2 Book Club on my new show. As an avid reader, I’m excited to discover some new authors and revisit some classic novels, as well as hear what the Radio 2 listeners think about our selection.”

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. Find out more about the librarian panel.

Reading groups

In the new format of the Radio 2 Book Club, each 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. This month we’re looking at myths and legends.

Get involved

Are you planning to read any of the new titles on the Book Club? Have you read the classics either on your own or as part of your group? 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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The Reading Agency loves books, in every form, and we know you do too. We love it when people borrow books in every format from their brilliant local libraries. We love it when reading groups get exclusive free proofs from our publisher partners. We love it when readers pick up a pre-loved book from a second-hand bookshop for a song. And we also love it when you buy yourself or someone else a brand new book from a high street bookshop. We also know that buying online is quick and convenient...

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