Blackwell Online Podcasts

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In-depth author interviews from Blackwell

Episodios

Robert Macfarlane

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This week, we're delighted to welcome to the programme Robert Macfarlane, one of the most distinguished of contemporary British nature writers and the author most recently of The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot. This book completes what Macfarlane has called 'a loose trilogy about landscape and the human heart' which began with Mountains of the Mind in 2003, followed four years later by The Wild Places. The Old Ways is an account of some of the most memorable of the seven or eight thousand miles of footpaths Robert has followed in his lifetime and the reflections they have given rise to, in him and in a host of other writers, venturers and restless souls.

Antonia Macaro and Julian Baggini

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On this week's programme we have two guests: Antonia Macaro and Julian Baggini, the eponymous shrink and sage, whose unique brand of self-help with a distinctly cerebral flavour is a regular feature in the FT Weekend magazine. Antonia Macaro is the shrink, an existential therapist and philosophical counsellor with many years’ experience. And Julian Baggini is the sage, the founding editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine and the author of numerous successful works of popular philosophy, some of which we have previously featured on this programme. Together they aim to bring the insights of philosophy, psychology and therapy to bear on some of the big questions we all grapple with at times in our daily lives.

Summer Reading Choices

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In this programme, we hear the summer reading choices of two of Heffers' most experienced and knowledgeable booksellers, Richard Osborne and Richard Reynolds. Whether you're after the best of this season's crop of new crime fiction or food for thought in the shape of some outstanding recent non-fiction, listen to this programme and you're bound to find something you'll want to take with you on holiday.

Diego Marani Part 1

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Diego Marani's novel, New Finnish Grammar in a prizewinning translation by Judith Landry, was one of the surprise bestsellers of the past year. Blackwell's has been an enthusiastic promoter of the novel from the start, so we were delighted to get the chance to record an extended interview with Diego on a recent trip to England. In part 1 of the interview, he explains how his own experience of learning Finnish shaped his desire to write the book and how he evoked the atmosphere of wartime Helsinki.

Diego Marani Part 2

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In part 2 of the podcast Diego introduces us to his latest book to appear in English, The Last of the Vostyachs, and talks about his interest in questions of language and identity which form a common thread between both works. He also reflects more widely on the fate of so-called minority languages and dialects in the modern world.

Elaine Fox

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In this programme we are delighted to have as our guest Elaine Fox, who is professor of cognitive psychology at the university of Essex. Elaine has just published Rainy Brain, Sunny Brain: The New Science of Optimism and Pessimism, which explores such fascinating questions as: how does having an optimistic or a pessimistic outlook affect the successes and failures in our lives? How do small biases to look on the bright or the dark side become confirmed, even ingrained? What part do genes play in all this?

Marilynne Robinson

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We are delighted to welcome to the programme one of America's greatest living novelists and essayists, Marilynne Robinson. In 2009 Elaine Showalter wrote of her: 'Marilynne Robinson has published only three novels, but each is a stunningly original exploration of the classic forms and formulas of American writing.'

Rebecca Stott

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Our guest in this week's podcast is novelist and historian, Rebecca Stott. Rebecca's previous non-fiction books include Darwin and the Barnacle, about the great naturalist's fascination with the tiny sea creatures. Her interest in all things Darwinian continues in her new book, Darwin's Ghosts, which investigates the life and work of some of "the shadowy figures behind Darwin, his predecessors, the less well-known rebels".

Hilary Mantel

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Hilary Mantel joins us for an exclusive in-depth interview, in which she discusses her much anticipated new book, Bring Up the Bodies

Jonah Lehrer

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We caught up with Jonah Lehrer just after he arrived for the UK leg of his book tour to ask him what he had discovered in his attempt to 'break open the black box of the imagination' for his latest book.

Tom Holland

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Tom Holland is one of the most popular and successful historians of the ancient world at work today, probably best known for his books on the Roman Republic, Rubicon, and on the Graeco-Persian war, Persian Fire. George Miller was lucky enough to speak to Tom recently about his latest book, a meticulously researched, beautifully written and inevitably controversial examination of the origins of Islam and the rise of the global Arab empire.

Jan Zalasiewicz

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In this programme, geologist Jan Zalasiewicz makes a return visit to the Blackwell Online podcast to talk about the new book he has co-authored with fellow Leicester-University geologist Mark Williams, entitled The Goldilocks Planet.

Susan Cain

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Susan Cain in her book, Quiet, speaks up for quiet people in a loudmouth world, or to put it differently, she puts the case for the approximately one-third of the population who are towards the introvert end of the extrovert-intovert spectrum.

Emily Cockayne

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Emily Cockayne tells George Miller about some of the perennial nuisances that bad neighbours have caused for centuries and some - like slaughtering a hundred sheep or locating a dunghill by your neighbour's property - that are mercifully rare today.

Ian Mortimer

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Our guest in this programme is historian - and time-traveller - Ian Mortimer. Following on from his very successful Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England, Ian now whisks us off to the England of Elizabeth I, a land where witchcraft was still a crime, bear-baiting a pastime, and medical knowledge and sanitation rudimentary.

Neil Faulkner

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In this podcast archaeologist and broadcaster Neil Faulkner takes us back to 388BC to reveal what the ancient Olympics were really like.

Stephen Armstrong

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Last year, writer and journalist Stephen Armstrong retraced the journey George Orwell made through the north of England in 1936 during the Depression, which he wrote about in The Road to Wigan Pier. Orwell wanted to see for himself the effects of poverty on working class communities, and seventy-five years on, Stephen Armstrong wanted to discover what had changed.

Robert Holland

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In this podcast, George Miller talks to historian Robert Holland about his action-packed new history of the British involvement in the Mediterranean world since 1800.

Alain de Botton

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If there is a common thread running through Alain de Botton's bestselling oeuvre, it is surely the question how are we to live richly, meaningfully, well. And in seeking answers to that question he has frequently had recourse to the wisdom of the great thinkers and philosophers of the past.

Michael Hofmann

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Michael Hofmann has translated a selection of Roth's letter that describe his turbulent life as a peripatetic journalist often beset with money and drink problems in the early decades of last century. Hofmann says he "likes the idea of a sort of accidental biography, told in the subject's own words, the sort of book that isn't nine parts starch, that is always medias in res".

Mark Lynas

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According to our guest in this podcast, Mark Lynas, many current Green preoccupations are simply wrong.

Philip Oltermann

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At the age of fifteen, Philip Oltermann's parents told him that the family was relocating from their native Germany to England. Philip's new book, Keeping up with the Germans, is an entertaining account of his experiences getting to grips with a new culture.

James Palmer

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In this first podcast of 2012, George Miller talks to James Palmer about his new account of a momentous year in Chinese history - 1976. Not only did the year witness the death of Chairman Mao, who had ruled the country for over three decades, it also was the year of the Tangshan earthquake, one of the most devastating natural disasters in human history.

Juliet Gardiner

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In our latest book podcast, host George Miller talks to the immensely popular social historian, Juliet Gardiner, about her panoramic account of The Thirties, which has just come out in paperback. The book covers everything from hunger marches to greyhound racing, seaside holidays to the preparations for war. So does Gardiner share W. H. Auden's view of the thirties as a 'low, dishonest decade'?

Hugh Aldersey-Williams

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Our guest on this podcast is Hugh Aldersey-Williams, whose Periodic Tales explores the cultural history of the elements and puts the fun back into chemistry. In the interview he talks about our often bizarre relationship with elements such as radium, which in the early twentieth century experienced a great surge in popularity and led to miracle claims being made for all sorts of household products - even shoe polish.

Henry Hitchings

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We talk to historian of the English language, Henry Hitchings, about The Language Wars. Why do notions of 'proper' English arouse such strong feelings and such heated controversy? Are we still living with Victorian attitudes to language? And why were we taught that we shouldn't end a sentence with a preposition?

Robin Osbourne

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In this podcast, Robin Osborne, who is Professor of ancient history at the University of Cambridge, tells George Miller about the importance of "joined-up thinking" when it comes to considering how Greek democracy actually worked.

Mary Roach

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Science journalist Mary Roach takes us on a trip to Mars, in one of this year's funniest popular science books, Packing for Mars, boldly going where other writers fear to tread. Among the questions she tackles are: what's it like to spend two weeks in the same spacesuit? And is there sex in space?

Jan Zalasiewicz

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Having peered into the distant future in his previous book, The Earth after Us, Geologist Jan Zalasiewicz winds back the clock of the earth's history in his latest publication to tell the story of The Planet in a Pebble.

Roger Moorhouse

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Historian Roger Moorhouse's new book, Berlin at War, follows the fate of ordinary Berliners in the German capital throughout the second world war. In the words of one review, he brings to vivid life "what passed for normal life in the abnormal capital of Hitler's empire": the challenge of surviving air raids, hunger and - for the city's Jewish inhabitants - the egregious brutalities of the Nazi regime.

Francis Spufford

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Francis Spufford is a former Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year. His previous books include I May Be Some Time: Ice and the English Imagination and a memoir, The Child that Books Built. His new book, Red Plenty, skilfully blends fact and fiction to explore the heady years in the early 'sixties when the USSR entertained ambitions of becoming a Soviet paradise on earth.

Paul Kriwaczek

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Paul Kriwaczek is a writer, director and producer. In 'Babylon', Paul tells the story of ancient Mesopotamia, the area of the Tigris-Euphrates river system that gave birth to the first civilisations. From the earliest settlements around 5400 BC, to the eclipse of Babylon by the Persians in the sixth century BC, 'Babylon' charts the rise and fall of dynastic power, the numerous material, social and cultural innovations and most specifically, the glory of Babylon - 'gateway to the gods'.

Madeleine Bunting

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Madeleine Bunting is a journalist who writes for The Guardian. 'The Plot' is her book about discovery, people, the passing of time and most importantly, a place. That place is a one acre plot of land on the North York moors. Madeleine's father, an artist and visionary, had strong connections with this plot, erecting the chapel that stands there. Seeking to understand her father's passion for the area after his death, Madeleine soon discovers that this simple acre of land has many secrets to tell...

Catharine Arnold

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Catharine Arnold is an author, journalist and popular historian who joins our show for the second time. With her 'London Trilogy', Catharine has explored the darker sides of the capital from Roman times through to present day. Starting with London's dead in 'Necropolis', via its insane in 'Bedlam', Catharine finishes her trilogy with 'City of Sin', a book that focuses squarely on the history of London's shocking sexual underground.

Alastair Blanshard

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In this latest Blackwell Classics podcast, we return to the interview recently recorded with Alastair Blanshard to complete our two-part special on his book 'Sex: Vice and Love from Antiquity to Modernity'. Mirroring the structure of the book, part one of the interview focussed on sex in classical Rome. Now with part two, we turn to Greece, looking at Greek love, homosexuality and the impact they have had on our modern views.