On the first Thursday of every month at 1:30pm Bill Buckley hosts Radio Reads. Bill plus two panellists review last month’s book choice and they each give it a mark out of 10 (for a total out of 30). I joined the panel in 2017 alongside the lovely author and poet Claire Dyer. After that discussion the panellists offer 1-2 books as their recommendation for next month. After a conflab during a song, the winning book gets announced. Berkshire libraries join in, adding extra copies of the chosen book so people can read the same book and decide whether they agree with our reviews.
On my first show (2nd May 2017), we reviewed Nick Hornby‘s Funny Girl and gave it 24 out of 30.
On 6th June we reviewed Slow Horses by Mick Herron and it got a mixed reception, but with a total of 22 out of 30.
On 4th July we reviewed The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry and all loved it, with a total of 25 out of 30.
On 1st August we reviewed Miss You by Kate Eberlen, with a total of 23 out of 30.
On 5th September we reviewed Good Me Bad Me by Ali Land, with a total of 24.5 out of 30.
On 3rd October we reviewed The Power by Naomi Alderman. It was a provocative read, but didn’t quite hit the spot for us, and it got a total of 17 out 30.
On 7th November we reviewed Dr Jekyll and Mr Seek by Anthony O’Neill. It was an atmospheric tale of identify theft that dovetailed nicely with the original Dr Jekyll. We gave it 22.5 out of 30.
On 5th December we reviewed The Reader on the 6:27 by Jean-Paul Didierlaurent. It was a charming story of romance and Gallic quirkiness. We gave it 23 out of 30.
On 2nd January 2018 we reviewed Tin Man by Sarah Winman. Two of us loved it, and one was indifferent. It scored 24 out of 30.
On 6th February we gave Bill Beverly‘s debut novel, Dodgers 25.5 out of 30. That makes it our highest mark to date.
On 6th March we reviewed Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor. We admired the writing greatly, but for one of us, the genre (fantasy) was not quite right. It still got 24 out of 30!
On 3rd April we reviewed Let me Lie by Claire Mackintosh. We enjoyed the twists and the depiction of love and gave it 25 out of 30.
On 1st May we reviewed Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. We loved the humour and the voice and applauded the message of hope and kindness. It got 26.5 out of 30, a new record!
On 5th June we reviewed Dear Mrs Bird by AJ Pearce. We loved the heroine’s plucky voice, the depiction of the blitz and the plot, though there were some mis-givings about the eponymous Mrs Bird. It got 24 out of 30.
On 3rd July we reviewed The Missing Girl by Jenny Quintana. We’ve loved the village setting but I was less keen on the plot and characters than the other reviewers. 23.5 out of 30.
On 7th August we reviewed The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. We all absolutely loved the characters, the setting, the energy of the writing and felt enriched from reading it. 3 nines meant it became top of our leader board! 27 out of 30.
On 4th September, we reviewed This Is Going to Hurt by Adam Kay. Plenty of great humour and shocking truths about the NHS. Very episodic which took the edge off it for me but still very good. 26 out of 30.
On 2nd October, we reviewed SNAP by Belinda Bauer. An original crime thriller, centred on 3 orphaned children and their shocking lifestyle. Bill wasn’t keen on the characterisation. 21.5 out of 30.
On 6th November, we reviewed 3 things about Elsie by Joanna Cannon. A touching and funny tale of dementia and mystery at an old people’s home. The twist is quite obvious though. 24.5 out of 30.
On 4th December, we reviewed 7 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stu Turton. Agatha Christie meets Quantum Leap in this twisty, stylish thriller about a man trying to save a woman’s life. 25.5 out of 30.
On 8th January 2019, we reviewed Orphan, Monster, Spy by Matt Killeen. A gripping story of a Jewish girl hiding in a Nazi school, working for the British secret service. 25.5 out of 30.
On 5th February, we reviewed the classic To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. What can be said about this peerless story where the message blends so well with the characters? An unprecedented 30 out of 30.
On 5th March, we reviewed The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro. Part fantasy, part historical novel about love and memories. Slow but moving. 22.5 out of 30.
On 2nd April, we reviewed A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. A moving story of one man’s loss, uplifted by the community around him and the author’s humour. 24.5 out of 30.
On 7th May, we reviewed Life, Death & Cellos by Isabel Rogers. A struggling London orchestra inherit a Stradivarius. Amusing characters and setbacks ensue… 23.5 out of 30.
On 4th June, we reviewed The Deserter’s Daughter by Susanna Bavin. A young pregnant woman is shunned when the community learn her father was a deserter in the Great War. 23 out of 30.
On 2nd July, we reviewed The Bees by Laline Paull. The story of a sanitation worker bee, Flora 717, who rises beyond her lowly status in a powerful feat of imagination. 25.5 out of 30.
On 6th August, we reviewed The Glittering Hour by Iona Grey. A society girl of the 1920s tells her daughter about a long buried secret through a series of moving letters. 23 out of 30.
On 3rd September, we reviewed ZED by Joanna Kavenna. A clever vision of how technology and tech companies will dominate our world and what would happen if it went wrong. 21 out of 30.
On 1st October, we reviewed Breakfast in Bogota by Helen Young. An excellent sense of place with an intriguing plot and love story. 23.5 out of 30.
On 5th November, we reviewed Mud by Emily Thomas. A diary of a teenager growing up in the early 80s with a dysfunctional family on a Thames Barge. Funny and moving. 23.5 out of 30.
On 3rd December, we reviewed They Call Me The Cat Lady by Amy Miller. A poignant tale of one woman’s tragic life who is lifted out of her slump by kindly neighbours. 22 out of 30.
On 7th January 2020, we will be reviewing Pinpoint by Greg Milner.
You can listen to the Radio Reads section of Bill’s show by clicking on the title right at the top and normally fast forward to just after the 1 hour mark. Enjoy!