Podcast: Using books for good, plus what we’ve been reading

It’s a topical one this week – Rob and Kate talk about whether books and reading can be a force for good in the light of recent events, and give you their thoughts on what they’ve been reading lately – Goldfinger by Ian Fleming and Trigger Mortis by Anthony Horowitz for Rob, and Unbecoming by Jenny Downham for Kate.

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Our main topic this week is whether books and reading can be a force for good, after Patrick Ness, author of The Rest of Us Just Live Here, out this week, started a fundraising page to raise money for the Save the Children campaign helping Syrian refugees. At the time of recording, it had raised just under £500,000 including Gift Aid.

Rob and Kate talk about why it might be important to discuss difficult topics, or to include realistically diverse casts of characters, in literature, and whether reading can make people more empathetic – the article Rob mentions is here if you’d like to read it. Kate also makes some recommendations of authors who do this well in young adult fiction – James Dawson (whose new book All of The Above is out now), Non Pratt (whose new book Remix is out now),  Asking For It by Louise O’Neill, the wonderful Malorie Blackman, and of course Patrick Ness too.

Finally, we catch up on what we’ve read lately. Rob gives his thoughts on rereading Goldfinger and what he’s made of Trigger Mortis so far, and Kate has read, and loved, Unbecoming by Jenny Downham, a YA novel which deals with sexuality and also mental health and ageing.

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Episode 139. An Adventures With Words production.

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