Summer season of the Jo Whiley Radio 2 Book Club

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We are delighted to share the books chosen for the Summer season of the BBC Radio 2 Book Club with Jo Whiley! Every fortnight on Mondays from 7-9pm a different book will be discussed, starting on Monday 8 July.

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.

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

Monday 8 July: Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

On an ordinary Saturday morning in 1996, the residents of Nightingale Point wake up to their normal lives and worries.

Mary has a secret life that no one knows about, not even Malachi and Tristan, the brothers she vowed to look after. Malachi had to grow up too quickly. Between looking after Tristan and nursing a broken heart, he feels older than his twenty-one years. Tristan wishes Malachi would stop pining for Pamela. No wonder he’s falling in with the wrong crowd, without Malachi to keep him straight. Elvis is trying hard to remember to the instructions his care worker gave him, but sometimes he gets confused and forgets things. Pamela wants to run back to Malachi but her overprotective father has locked her in and there’s no way out.

It’s a day like any other, until something extraordinary happens. When the sun sets, Nightingale Point is irrevocably changed and somehow, through the darkness, the residents must find a way back to lightness, and back to each other.

Monday 22 July: Found by Erin Kinsley

When 11 year old Evan vanishes without trace, his parents are plunged into their worst nightmare.
Especially as the police, under massive pressure, have no answers.

But months later Evan is unexpectedly found, frightened and refusing to speak. His loving family realise life will never be the same again.

DI Naylor knows that unless those who took Evan are caught, other children are in danger. And with Evan silent, she must race against time to find those responsible…

Monday 5 August: Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls

Charlie Lewis is the kind of boy you don’t remember in the school photograph. His exams have not gone well. At home he is looking after his father, when surely it should be the other way round, and if he thinks about the future at all, it is with a kind of dread.

Then Fran Fisher bursts into his life and despite himself, Charlie begins to hope.

But if Charlie wants to be with Fran, he must take on a challenge that could lose him the respect of his friends and require him to become a different person. He must join the Company. And if the Company sounds like a cult, the truth is even more appalling.

The price of hope, it seems, is Shakespeare.

Monday 19 August: The Woman in the White Kimono by Ana Johns

Japan, 1957. Seventeen-year-old Naoko Nakamura’s prearranged marriage secures her family’s status in their traditional Japanese community. However, Naoko has fallen for an American sailor and to marry him would bring great shame upon her entire family. When it’s learned Naoko carries the sailor’s child, she’s cast out in disgrace and forced to make unimaginable choices with consequences that will ripple across generations.

America, present day. Tori Kovač, caring for her dying father, finds a letter containing a shocking revelation. Setting out to learn the truth, Tori’s journey leads her to a remote seaside village in Japan where she must confront the demons of the past to pave a way for redemption.

Monday 2 September: Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane

Gillam, upstate New York: a town of ordinary, big-lawned suburban houses. The Gleesons have recently moved there and soon welcome the Stanhopes as their new neighbours. Lonely Lena Gleeson wants a friend but Anne Stanhope – cold, elegant, unstable – wants to be left alone.

It’s left to their children – Lena’s youngest, Kate, and Anne’s only child, Peter – to find their way to one another. To form a friendship whose resilience and love will be almost broken by the fault line dividing both families, and by the terrible tragedy that will engulf them all. A tragedy whose true origins only become clear many years later…

A story of love and redemption, faith and forgiveness, Ask Again, Yes reveals the way childhood memories change when viewed from the distance of adulthood – villains lose their menace, and those who appeared innocent seem less so. A story of how, if we’re lucky, the violence lurking beneath everyday life can be vanquished by the power of love.

Monday 16 September: The Offing by Benjamin Myers

One summer following the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on foot from his Durham village. Sixteen and the son of a coal miner, he makes his way across the northern countryside until he reaches the former smuggling village of Robin Hood’s Bay. There he meets Dulcie, an eccentric, worldly, older woman who lives in a ramshackle cottage facing out to sea.

Staying with Dulcie, Robert’s life opens into one of rich food, sea-swimming, sunburn and poetry. The two come from different worlds, yet as the summer months pass, they form an unlikely friendship that will profoundly alter their futures.

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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.

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.

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

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