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Welcome to Voluminous, the new Listening Books Podcast! We'll be talking about books with an audio slant, through round table discussions with Listening Books staff and stars of the book world. You can subscribe to the podcast at, or alternatively visit this page.

Episode Eight: "As an Irish person I have no such inhibitions" - 60th Anniversary Special

For the last episode of the series, Jess talks to Gillie Howarth, who chairs the Listening Books Board of Trustees, about how it all began, and how it’s grown along the way. We also hear from Listening Books ambassadors Sally Gardner, Bali Rai, Kit de Waal, and Jenny Eclair. Finally, Nik de Garis, on his last day as audio producer, recalls proud achievements, embarrassing moments, and meeting Stephen Fry.

Episode Seven: "I know not of the squeaky wheel" - Books popular with our members

Wail Qasim makes his debut appearance on the podcast, joining Amy Flinders and Jessica Stone for a chat in celebration of Listening Books' 60th birthday, focusing on books popular with Listening Books members before turning to some of Wail's and Amy's favourites.

Episode Six: "I wasn't that sorry" - Author Simon Brett

The ever so charming author of the Charles Paris, Mrs Pargeter, Fethering and Blotto & Twinks series of crime novels joins Jessica in the studio to talk about the experience of narrating his own work, how to spot a crime writer's misdirections, and even what it was like to work with Douglas Adams on the pilot episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Episode Five: 'And suddenly it starts to make sense' - Books Even Better as Audiobooks

Andrew Bell and Sarah Matthews join Jessica to round up some books they feel are even better as audiobooks than in their traditional printed format. From author-read autobiographies to full cast performances, they talk about which books and why they'd rather listen to.

Episode Four: "Being read to is a basic human need" - Audiobook narrator Bronwen Price

Jess meets the person behind the microphone to find out more about what it takes to be a narrator. Voice artist Bronwen Price talks about what it is like to record stories in the studio, what helps her give her best performance and what her dream books to read would be.

Episode Three: "I don't want to be distracted by the voice" - The art of Audiobook Narration

Jess is joined by Listening Books staff members Nik and Claire to talk about what makes a great audiobook narrator. What are the great qualities to look for and what are the pet peeves? Nik and Claire also make their recommendations for who they rate as fantastic narrators before being put through their paces in the quiz!

Episode Two: "You cannot have her Owl" - Natalie Haynes on rewriting Homer's Epics

Star of BBC Radio 4's Natalie Haynes Stands Up for the Classics as well as author, Natalie Haynes talks to Jess in the studio to talk about her love of classic greek stories and why they need to be retold. They also discuss her new book, A Thousand Ships, and why a whole other story has been missed previously by ignoring the female perspective.

Episode One: "It's just a story Mummy!" - The retelling of myths and fairytales

Once upon a time in a recording studio far away, three women sat round to talk of fairies and bears!

For the first episode of series two, Jess Stone talks to Lou Barling and Abbie Jaggers from Listening Books about the retelling of myths and fairytales for both children and adults and what makes these stories timeless.

Series Two

Bonus! Extra chat with Mark Evans

A treat to bring in the new year, an extra slice of conversation between Mark Evans and Jessica Stone, talking all about Mark's voracious reading habits.

Episode Six: "Come on Charles, get a grip!" - Interview with Bleak Expectations creator, Mark Evans

The hilarious comedian, writer and avid reader Mark Evans sat down in the Listening Books studios with Jessica Stone to talk about his BBC Radio 4 smash hit comedy, Bleak Expectations and his relationship with the works of Charles Dickens.

Episode Five: "What is the Grinch...a green cat?" - books for the holidays

Sit next to the fire, pour some warm milk, grab a gingerbread man and settle in with Jess Stone as she chats about the best books to read this holiday. We talk to Listening Books staff members Abbie (the Christmas elf) and Amy (the Christmas grinch) about what literary escapes they will be taking during their festivities. 

Episode Four: "It's all just for a Guardian mug" - an interview with the Not the Booker Prize organiser Sam Jordison

Having been running since 2009, one of the organisers for the Not the Booker Prize, the Guardians' Sam Jordison, tells Jessica Stone about what makes this award special, why it was started as well as his opinion on some of the great (and not so great) books to have been nominated. Jessica and Sam also discuss the 2018 Man Booker Prize winner and why it maybe doesn't deserve the furore surrounding it.

Episode Three: "I had to just put the book down to have a good cry" - Books to make you weep

Our host, Jess Stone, passes the tissues to our panel of Listening Books staff, Louise Barling and Jenny-Ann Lewis, as the discuss books that made them cry (or at least, get a bit misty-eyed). They look at both fiction and non-fiction titles that bring on the waterworks and talk about why books can have this effect.

Episode Two: "No one is more goth than Mary Shelley" - A celebration of Frankenstein with Abigail Jaggers

To celebrate 200 years of Frankenstein, Listening Books staff member Abigail Jaggers spoke with our host Jessica Stone about the bizarre life of Mary Shelley. They also go into detail about why the story of Frankenstein is simply amazing and why you may feel you have read it without actually having read it.

Episode One: Are you crazy? Don't go in the Basement! - when is a horror a horror, what makes a monster plus book recommendations

For the start of our first series, host Jessica Stone delves into the dingy depths of horror with two members of the Listening Books staff: Claire Bell and Nik de Garis. They will answer questions such as:

- What makes a horror story a horror?

- Is it the actions or the circumstance that creates a monster?

- What you should be reading next

PLUS play along with our horrible horror anagram quiz!

Series One

In our first series, we will look at the highs and lows of horror, why Mary Shelley was a goth, the upcoming book award season as well as why Charles Dickens would definitely have recorded his own audiobooks.


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