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The week in Books...

This week in Books we bring you the book of the moment: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. If you prefer the chill of the deep to early modern Amsterdam we present James Nestor's exploration of our deepest oceans as our Book of the Week. We also have Michael Palin taking a tour of the Monty Python heyday, a commemoration of Nadine Gordimer and some excellent archive programmes on two singular novelists; Kingsley Amis and Raymond Chandler.

As ever, we have a growing archive of author interviews from across BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra. Everything is available to listen to now, as soon as this newsletter arrives in your inbox. If you know someone who might enjoy this newsletter why not forward it to them – or, if you've been sent it by a fellow bibliophile, you can subscribe here.

 
 
 
 

Readings

 
 
 

Book at Bedtime: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

On a cold autumn day in 1686, 18 year old Nella Oortman arrives in Amsterdam to begin a new life as the wife of the Dutch East India Company's most successful merchant trader. Johannes Brandt is kind yet distant which leaves Nella isolated in the grand house on the canal with his sister and their servants. Nella's world changes when Johannes presents her with an extraordinary wedding gift: a cabinet-sized replica of their home. She slowly becomes aware that the Brandt household contains unusual secrets and she begins to understand - and fear - the escalating dangers that await them all. Read by Emilia Fox.
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  Book at Bedtime: The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton  
 
 
 
  Book of the Week: Deep by James Nestor  

Book of the Week: Deep by James Nestor

In his new book, Deep: Freediving, Renegade Science and What the Ocean Tells Us About Ourselves, American journalist James Nestor investigates the world of freediving. He learns how to stay underwater for extended periods, goes shark-tagging, has a close encounter with a sperm whale and plunges to 2,500 feet in a DIY submarine. We learn about the old and new life-forms that inhabit our deep oceans, a habitat with the greatest biodiversity on earth, much of which remains unknown. Read by William Hope.
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The Python Years by Michael Palin

Michael Palin rummages through his diaries to bring us his version of The Python Years. In the first episode The Monty Python star recalls the influential comedy troupe's huge success in the 70s and the making of their first film.
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  The Python Years by Michael Palin  
 
 
 
 

Features

 
 
  Last Word: Nadine Gordimer

Last Word: Nadine Gordimer

The South African novelist Nadine Gordimer, whose work embodied the complex story of the nation's struggle with race, died recently. Matthew Bannister spoke to her friend Maureen Isaacson, former Literary Editor of Independent on Sunday in South Africa and to Dennis Walder, Emeritus Professor of Literature at the Open University.
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  Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury

Set in 1960s Illinois this gem of modern Gothic literature is the memorable story of two boys, James Nightshade and William Halloway, and the evil that grips their small Midwestern town with the arrival of a "dark carnival" one Autumn midnight. A thrilling, chilling, richly kaleidoscopic sound world ensues...
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  Open Book: Tom Campbell and Nikesh Shukla

Open Book: Tom Campbell and Nikesh Shukla

Alex Clark discusses writing about alienated young men with Tom Campbell and Nikesh Shukla. As the novels of Amos Tutuola are reissued, Nigerian writer Chikodili Emelumadu assesses the literary merit of his work. With commemorations of the First World War beginning we turn our gaze to the place where it all began, the cultural melting pot that is Sarajevo.
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Extra Content

 
 
  Bookshelf: Kingsley Amis from the archives  

Bookshelf: Kingsley Amis from the archives

English novelist and critic Sir Kingsley Amis talks to Nigel Forde about his 40 years as a writer. He reflects on the people he has known, his love of jazz, the English language and literature, and the art of the essay and novel. A programme from 1991.
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A Coat, a Hat and a Gun

Harriett Gilbert presents a reappraisal of the life and legacy of the man from Upper Norwood who invented the PI as we know him. Philip Marlowe has become in many people's minds the archetypal American detective anti-hero, yet his creator was educated at English public school, took the Civil Service exam and started a career in the Admiralty. This re-examination of the greatest crime writer of all time assesses him as an uneasy Englishman abroad and analyses his love-hate relationship with Hollywood, as well as his writing.
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  A Coat, a Hat and a Gun  
 
 
 
 
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