For many years the book programme on Radio 4 A Good Read was a source of enjoyable recommendation but like many a broadcast on the BBC its direction has been blown away by the headwinds of feminist dogma.
On yesterday’s programme the first contributor Jayde Adams, a comedian, freely admitted that her recommendation – Jon Ronson’s So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed – was the first book she had read in years. It’s extraordinary that she could be invited onto the programme as you would have thought that an enthusiasm for reading was a pre-requisite. Adams did not spend touch time expanding why her choice, a book on tweeting, would be of interest to listeners. She told a long and boring story of how she was harassed on the Tube whilst reading the book for wearing a knapsack and the row that ensued.
The second contributor Steph McGovern , a BBC finance broadcaster, followed this with her own story of harassment and it was left to the presenter Harriet Gilbert to steer the conversation back to the book she did not seem to rate. McGovern recommended The Seagull, a crime novel by Anne Cleves – I thought she was the beheaded queen of Henry VIII. Harriet Gilbert properly informed us that this Cleves is a good friend of the contributor.
Does the producer do any work on screening guests and their choices, or is she also part of the sisterhood and anything goes ?
It’s unlikely I will be invited on the programme as I so enjoy reading and am not a feminist but if I were I would give my choice some considerable thought to fit within the parameters of a good read.
Irish novelists Colm Toibin, Callum McCann and Sebastian Barry spring to mind as their novels, with a distinct Irish flavour, are well written and plotted.
William Boyd’s Any Human Heart the journal of Logan Mounstuart is a witty romp of the life of a troubadour as set out in his journal.
Anthony Quinn’s three novels in a rolling account of life many theatrical or film from the thirties – Curtain Call, Freya and Eureka – are all highly readable with intriguing layered plots and colourful characters. i will not be holding my breathe for an invite.