Tea or Books? artwork

Tea or Books?

89 episodes - English - Latest episode: 18 days ago - ★★★★★ - 44 ratings

Simon (Stuck in a Book) and Rachel (Book Snob) debate the difficult decisions of books and reading.

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Tea or Books? #89: Do we care about gardens?, and Gilead vs Home

November 10, 2020 20:15 - 40.1 MB

Marilynne Robinson and gardens – welcome to episode 89! We are scraping the barrel a little in our first half, and arguably repeating ourselves, but please enjoy our musings on gardens. In the second half, after answering a question from

Tea or Books? #88: Blurbs or No Blurbs, and The Remains of the Day vs Never Let Me Go

September 22, 2020 20:30 - 41 MB

Blurbs and Kazuo Ishiguro – welcome to episode 88! In the first half of this episode, Rachel and I talk about whether we want blurbs – i.e. do we do research on what we’re reading before we pick it up.

Tea or Books? #87: Biographies vs Novels about Real People and Emma by Jane Austen and Crossriggs by Jane and Mary Findlater

August 16, 2020 15:26 - 39.3 MB

Jane Austen, Jane and Mary Findlater, and – it’s episode 87!   We recorded this episode a little while ago and I have been lazy at editing – but here we are. Hope you like our lovely new logo, courtesy

Tea or Books? #86: Empathy vs Sympathy and The Child That Books Built vs When I Was A Child I Read Books

July 06, 2020 14:42 - 39.9 MB

Marilynne Robinson, Francis Spufford, empathy and sympathy! Welcome to episode 86, in which we talk about characters we feel empathetic towards and those we feel sympathetic towards. And if you aren’t sure of the distinction, don’t worry, we’ve got that

Tea or Books? #85: One House or Many Houses, and A Thatched Roof vs Fresh From The Country

June 06, 2020 19:41 - 36.2 MB

Houses, Miss Read, Beverley Nichols! In the first half of today’s episode, we look at whether we prefer novels that stay in one house or those that go all over the place. In the second half, we explore two novels

Tea or Books? #84: Sea vs Mountains and Her Son’s Wife vs Auntie Mame

May 06, 2020 19:24 - 36.9 MB

Dorothy Canfield [Fisher], Patrick Dennis, sea, and mountains – episode 84!   In the first half of this episode, we talk about novels set in the mountains vs those set by the sea. The classic dichotomy. In the second half,

Tea or Books? #83: Comfort Zones (Yes or No?) and Two Willa Cather Novels

April 06, 2020 05:18 - 36.4 MB

Comfort zones, comfort novels, and two novels by Willa Cather – welcome to episode 83! In the first half of this episode, Rachel and I talk about whether or not we have comfort zones when it comes to reading –

Tea or Books? #82: Australia vs New Zealand and two Adrian Bell books

March 09, 2020 05:02 - 39.1 MB

Australia, New Zealand, and Adrian Bell – welcome to episode 82! In the first half, we do a topic suggested by Lindsay – books by Australians and books by people from New Zealand. And my GOODNESS we don’t know anywhere

Tea or Books? #81: Style vs Plot and Living vs Loving by Henry Green

February 18, 2020 05:07 - 40.8 MB

Henry Green, style over substance, and some listener questions – here’s episode 81! In the first half of this episode, we discuss style vs substance – or, to put it another way, writing style vs the plot of the novel.

Tea or Books? #80: Should Authors Only Write What They Know? and Agatha Christie vs Dorothy L Sayers

January 12, 2020 17:37 - 34.9 MB

A couple of Queens of Crime and an important question about what writers should be allowed to write…   In the first half of episode 80, we ask if writers should only write what they know – whether that means

Tea or Books? #79: Political Books (Yes or No?), and The Diary of a Bookseller vs Bookshop Memories

December 10, 2019 19:21 - 45.1 MB

Shaun Bythell, George Orwell, and a whole host of politicians – it’s episode 79! We have a special guest for this episode – my very good friend Lorna, who was meeting Rachel for the first time. We recorded in person

Tea or Books? #78: 19th Century vs 20th Century and Two Unfinished Jane Austen Novels

November 14, 2019 19:31 - 34.7 MB

Sanditon, The Watsons, and a whistle-stop tour of the centuries – we’re back!   In the first half of this episode, we take a suggestion from Elizabeth – do we prefer the nineteenth or twentieth century for literature? That’s an

Tea or Books? #77: Fantasy vs Fantastic Fiction and Wine of Honour vs Beneath the Visiting Moon

October 03, 2019 17:26 - 36.3 MB

World War Two fiction and the difference between fantasy and fantastic fiction – welcome to episode 77! In the first half of this episode, I dive back into the topic of my DPhil and we talk about fantastic and fantasy

Tea or Books? #76: Illustrations (yes or not), and Miss Hargreaves vs Miss Boston and Miss Hargreaves

August 22, 2019 04:00 - 50 MB

Miss Hargreaves! Finally! But also illustrations and a novel by Rachel Malik. In the first half of this episode, we discuss whether or not we want illustrations in our books – taking a little venture to graphic novels on the

Tea or Books? #75: Moral Readers or Amoral Readers and The Summer Book vs Birthday Letters

July 16, 2019 20:09 - 42 MB

Tove Jansson, Ted Hughes, and fictional morality – welcome to episode 75!   We’re back after a bit of a break – and we’re doing poetry for the first time ever. In the first half of the episode, we discuss

Tea or Books? #74: YA (yay or nay?) and Stoner vs The Easter Parade

June 18, 2019 19:04 - 44.6 MB

Young Adult fiction – are we fans? And Richard Yates vs John Williams.   In the first half of this episode, we venture into potentially controversial territory as we discuss young adult (YA) fiction, and whether or not we think

Tea or Books? #73: One Chance or Many Chances, and Two Margery Sharp Novels

May 16, 2019 17:46 - 34.6 MB

How many chances will we give an author? And Margery Sharp!   In the first half of the episode, we ask whether we’re one-strike-you’re-out people or if we’re willing to give an author several chances – and which authors we’ve

Tea or Books? #72: Reading at Home vs Reading Elsewhere and The Hours vs Mrs Woolf and the Servants

April 24, 2019 15:51 - 42.8 MB

Where do we like to read? And books inspired by Virginia Woolf. It’s a very ‘us’ episode.   In the first half of this episode, we’re adopting a question suggested by Teddy – reading at home vs reading elsewhere –

Tea or Books? #71: Multi-Narrative vs Single Narrative, and Period Piece vs A London Child of the 1870s

April 03, 2019 14:49 - 36.7 MB

Lots of perspectives or a single narrative, and two 19th-century childhood memoirs – here we go! In the first half of this episode, we discuss multi-narrative novels and whether or not we prefer them to single narrative novels. In the

Tea or Books? #70: Simon Takes a Tour of Rachel’s Bookshelves

March 20, 2019 14:49 - 35.6 MB

Simon visited Rachel – so naturally took a look around the shelves. Come for the tour! In a change from scheduled programming, we do a slightly different episode. I was staying with Rachel in her beautiful flat while I was

Tea or Books? #69: Small World vs Wide World and Blue Remembered Hills vs Seasoned Timber

February 20, 2019 17:56 - 38.5 MB

Dorothy Canfield Fisher, Rosemary Sutcliff, and the scope of the books we love. Happy February!   In the first half of this episode, we discuss small world vs wide world in novels – do we like small communities or novels

Tea or Books? #68: Tact vs Attack, and North and South vs Pride and Prejudice

January 29, 2019 21:36 - 44.7 MB

The books we hate (and should we tell you?) and Elizabeth Gaskell vs Jane Austen.     In the first half of this episode, we talk about the books we’ve hated – prepare for things to get contentious! – and

Tea or Books? #67: Books as Gifts: Yes or No, and Little vs Alva & Irva

January 08, 2019 20:51 - 42.3 MB

Edward Carey and books as gifts – happy new year; we’re back!   We had a bit of a longer break over Christmas, but we’re back and raring to go with a post-Christmas discussion about whether or not we like

Tea or Books? #66: Domestic Books vs Worldly Books and Elizabeth Bowen vs Elizabeth Taylor

November 27, 2018 12:26 - 45.7 MB

  Elizabeth Bowen, Elizabeth Taylor, and venturing into the worldly…   In the first half of this episode, we look at… domestic books vs worldly books? Or something like that? We never quite worked out what we meant, but we

Tea or Books? #65: cars vs bicycles, and Hons and Rebels vs Tory Heaven

November 08, 2018 19:45 - 41.2 MB

  We are finally back! Apologies for the lengthy break – all is explained in this episode. We’re not back as soon as intended, because we recorded an episode a few days ago that… didn’t record. The podcasters’ nightmare! Nothing

Tea or Books? #64: WW1 vs WW2 and Coronation vs Love of Seven Dolls

September 12, 2018 14:31 - 43.6 MB

Paul Gallico and two World Wars – quite a mix!   In the first half of this episode, we look at the books of the World Wars – whether written at the time or later – and decide which we

Tea or Books? #63: First Edition vs Worst Edition and Parnassus on Wheels vs The Education of Harriet Hatfield

August 28, 2018 05:57 - 44.6 MB

Women opening bookshops, and how we feel about the physical book.   In the first half of this episode, we look at first edition vs worst edition – in a fairly sprawling discussion about whether we care about first editions,

Tea or Books? #62: Internet vs Bookshop and Mr Pim Passes By vs Four Days’ Wonder

August 13, 2018 08:00 - 48.9 MB

Two novels by A.A. Milne and we get deep about Amazon.   In the first half, we talk buying books in bookshops vs buying books online – taking our cue from a suggestion by Karen – and then we wander

Tea or Books? #61: Do We Care What Characters Eat? and The French Lieutenant’s Woman vs Remarkable Creatures

July 24, 2018 19:58 - 46 MB

John Fowles, Tracy Chevalier, and eating in books – Lyme and limes, if you will!   Sorry for a bit of a delay (because I had to read two quite long books) – and advance apologies for the delay before

Tea or Books? #60: married vs unmarried characters, and Miss Pettigrew Lives For a Day vs Patricia Brent, Spinster

June 27, 2018 14:46 - 39.6 MB

This episode is all about married and unmarried people – in general, and two ‘spinsters’ in particular. Buckle up!   (Apologies if the podcast in your app overlaps the intro music with the intro chat… this one doesn’t, but I

Tea or Books? #59: Hard vs Easy Holiday Reading, and We Have Always Lived in the Castle vs The Haunting of Hill House

June 13, 2018 05:29 - 43 MB

Shirley Jackson and holiday reading – welcome to episode 59!   In the first half of this episode, we look at holiday reading – chiefly whether we prefer easy or difficult books when we go off on holiday, but we

Tea or Books? #58: Book Groups (yes or no), and The Fountain Overflows vs Invitation to the Waltz

May 29, 2018 21:51 - 45.6 MB

Rebecca West, Rosamond Lehmann, and book groups – welcome to episode 58!   I can hardly believe that we’ve not done an episode on book groups before – but here we are! In the first half, Rachel and I talk

Tea or Books? #57: save vs binge, and The Murder of Roger Ackroyd vs The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle

May 14, 2018 06:17 - 47.4 MB

Murder mysteries and binge-reading – enjoy episode 57!   In this episode, we compare an uncharacteristically modern novel – The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle by Stuart Turton, published in 2018 – with Agatha Christie’s classic Poirot novel The Murder of Roger

Tea or Books? #56: Review vs Recommendation and The Lark vs High Wages

April 23, 2018 20:29 - 44.8 MB

We’ve finally done the reviewers vs recommendations episode! Also: E Nesbit and Dorothy Whipple.   Every now and then, the critics vs bloggers debate rears its head. In the first half of the episode, we take a slightly different look

Tea or Books? #55: Versatility vs Dependability and House-Bound by Winifred Peck vs The Priory by Dorothy Whipple

April 09, 2018 05:46 - 46.2 MB

Dorothy Whipple, Winifred Peck, and authors who hop genres – welcome to episode 55!   In the first half of this episode, Rachel and I discuss a topic suggested by my friend Paul (thanks Paul!) – versatility vs dependability. Well,

Tea or Books? #54: Reading Children’s Books as Children vs Adults, and Tom’s Midnight Garden vs The Secret Garden

March 19, 2018 05:40 - 47.5 MB

A children’s books special today, featuring Frances Hodgson Burnett and Philippa Pearce. Not in person, you understand.   In the first half of the episode, we discuss whether it’s better to read children’s books as children or as adults (especially

Tea or Books? #53: Top of TBR vs Bottom of TBR, and The Bookshop vs According to Mark

March 05, 2018 06:07 - 42.7 MB

It’s the battle of the Penelopes – and which books we’re most likely to read first (top or bottom of the pile?)   Rachel is back (hurray!) – many thanks to Karen for taking her seat last time. And in

Tea or Books? #52: Detective Fiction vs Crime Fiction and Merry Hall vs The Sweet and Twenties

February 18, 2018 18:00 - 47.2 MB

Detective fiction, crime fiction, and Beverley Nichols – what fun!   Rachel has had to take a quick break from the podcast, but I was delighted to have a special guest in the form of Karen, from Kaggsy’s Bookish Ramblings,

Tea or Books? #51: Author Parents vs Author Children, and The Boat by L.P. Hartley vs Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner

January 23, 2018 05:22 - 40.1 MB

Literary families, and the reveal on our recommendations for each other – we’re back after a seasonal break. We’ve missed you!   In the first half of our 51st episode, we look at families where more than one generation has

Tea or Books? #50: Question & Answer

December 26, 2017 10:25 - 43.9 MB

To celebrate episode 50, we are doing a question and answer episode!   I hope you’ve all had a wonderful Christmas – I’m editing this a few days before Christmas, but I’m going to assume that a wonderful time was

Tea or Books? #49: Death of the Author?, and The Woman in White vs Possession

December 11, 2017 21:51 - 46.5 MB

Wilkie Collins, A.S. Byatt, and the death of the author (sort of) – episode 49 is quite the mixed bag. nbsp; I found it quite hard to describe the first half of this episode – though hopefully it will become

Tea or Books? #48: Sad Beginnings vs Happy Beginnings and The Semi-Attached Couple vs The Semi-Detached House

November 22, 2017 21:02 - 40.3 MB

Emily Eden and the openings of books – we muddle our way through episode 48!   First – do send any questions you have for episode 50 to simonthomasoxford[at]gmail.com. We’re quite excited about finding out what you’ll ask – about

Tea or Books? #47: sequels vs new-author sequels, and A Compass Error vs Pleasures and Landscapes

November 02, 2017 05:49 - 46.5 MB

Sybille Bedford and sequels by the original author vs sequels by a different author… we need to come up with snappier titles for these things.   In episode 47, we start with a topic suggested by Karen via email –

Tea or Books? #46: Canadian vs Irish Literature, and My Name Is Lucy Barton vs Anything Is Possible

October 19, 2017 18:11 - 41.8 MB

Elizabeth Strout is our author this episode – and we also dip a toe in the worlds of Canadian and Irish literature. Spoilers: we know a lot less than we should. Suggestions welcomed, please!   I’m off to Canada shortly,

Tea or Books? #45: Do Literary Prizes Affect Our Reading and The Heir vs All Passion Spent

October 03, 2017 05:51 - 45.8 MB

A heated conversation about literary prizes AND Vita Sackville-West. Roll up, roll up for episode 45!   In the first half of this fortnight’s episode, we try to determine whether or not literary prizes affect our reading – which wanders

Tea or Books? #44: Monogamous vs Polygamous, and The Village vs To Bed With Grand Music

September 17, 2017 14:34 - 41.9 MB

After a bit of a hiatus, we’re back with an episode about Marghanita Laski and whether we read one book at a time or many books at once. And because that’s a bit of a mouthful, I’m calling it monogamous

Tea or Books? #43: scientists vs clergymen, and As It Was vs Fair Stood the Wind for France

July 24, 2017 06:53 - 43 MB

Scientists! Vicars! H.E. Bates! Helen Thomas!   We’re popping in between holidays to record an episode about clergymen and scientists in novels – doubtless missing plenty of them, but thank you for everyone who tweeted in with your suggestions. We’d

Tea or Books? #42: trains vs boats, and Illyrian Spring vs Hotel du Lac

July 12, 2017 05:24 - 41.8 MB

Trains! Boats! Anita Brookner! Ann Bridge! This episode has it all. Books set on trains vs books set on boats – Rachel didn’t want us to do it but it happened. And… it was a roaring success? Right? Well, I had

Tea or Books? #41: novels set in one day vs many years, and The Forsyte Saga vs The Cazalet Chronicles

June 22, 2017 20:18 - 48.9 MB

John Galsworthy! Elizabeth Jane Howard! Circadian novels! Find out what that means, and much more, in episode 41.   Guys, it was SUPER hot when we were recording this podcast. It’s rather cooler now that I’m editing, but I rather

Tea or Books? #40: how do we arrange our bookshelves, and two E.H. Young novels

June 05, 2017 06:29 - 47.9 MB

Alphabetical or thematic shelving? Miss Mole vs Chatterton Square? Episode 40 of ‘Tea or Books?’ continues answering the important questions that others don’t dare to.   In the first half of this episode, Rachel and I address the pressing issue of how books