Although I spend most of my time fossicking about in the nineteenth century, I do get very excited about the possibilities presented by new technology. While I firmly believe that mobile phones are an abomination (albeit now a necessary one), they are a boon for listening to podcasts on the hoof. My latest discovery is Kate Macdonald’s Why I Really Like this Book, an electic mix of 10-minute podcasts about her favourite reads. As an academic, Kate Macdonald is well placed to set each book in its historical and literary context, but the focus is very much on what she found most enjoyable. She is also delightfully opinionated (I say ‘delightfully’, of course, because her opinions concur with mine): John Ruskin gets a dressing down in the episode on Tennyson’s The Princess, and we are given advice on how to suppress our inner Marxist when reading Angela Thirkell (it involves chocolate biscuits).
There’s a new podcast each Friday, along with an extensive archive in which to luxuriate. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do, and please let me know if you’ve found any others.
Out now: The Meanings of Home in Elizabeth Gaskell's Fiction, a beautifully written study of this Victorian author's novels.