Episode 3 | To Modernise or Not To Modernise…

Welcome to Bibliophile Episode Three! This time we’re discussing modernisation of classic novels – when (if ever) is it a good thing? Plus we answer a question from a new independent bookshop in the North of England, and tell you about all the books we’re most excited about in August, plus what we’re reading too! Join in the discussion in the comments below.

Things (mostly books) we mentioned…

…in the Book Modernisation segment…
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Jane Eyre Stripped Bare (film)
  • Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld
  • The Austen Project
  • Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid/Jane Austen
  • Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope/Jane Austen
  • From Prada to Nada (film)
  • Emma by Alexander McCall Smith/Jane Austen
  • Re Jane by Patricia Park
  • Bride and Prejudice (film)
  • Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi (Snow White)
  • Hogarth Shakespeare
  • My Name Is Shylock by Howard Jacobson (The Merchant of Venice)
  • Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler (The Taming of the Shrew)
  • Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood (The Tempest)
  • Canongate Myths
  • Ragnarok: The End of the Gods by A.S. Byatt
  • The Woman Who Ran by Sam Baker (The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte)
  • New Girl by Paige Harbison (Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier)
  • Don’t Call Me Ishmael (Moby Dick by Hermann Melville)
  • Thug Notes
  • Peter Darling by Austin Chant (Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)
  • A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley (King Lear by William Shakespeare)
  • Dorian by Will Self (A Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde)
  • Inferno by Ciaran Carson (Inferno by Dante Aligheri)
  • Back to Val McDermid’s Northanger Abbey…
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
  • Wuthering Heights in Semaphore – Monty Python (you’re welcome) (starts at 1:00)
…and in the Ask a Bookseller segment…fellow bookseller Imagined Things looking for recommendations for espionage thrillers…
  • Slow Horses by Mick Herron
  • Snowdrops by A.D. Miller
  • Pushkin Vertigo imprint
  • The Thing Itself by Adam Roberts
  • The Little Friend by Donna Tartt
  • Kolimsky Heights by Lionel Davidson
  • The Village of Secrets by Caroline Moorehead
  • A Bold and Dangerous Family by Caroline Moorehead
  • Arthur and George by Julian Barnes
  • Unquiet Spirits by Bonnie MacBird
…in the new and notable segment…


  • Forest Dark by Nicole Krauss
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
  • My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanigahara
  • Sour Heart by Jenny Zhang
  • Family Life by Akhil Sharma


  • Zoology by Gillian Clarke
  • Penguin Clothbound Poetry, especially The Tower by W.B. Yeats
  • The Promised Land by Andre Naffis-Sahely


  • The Explorer Katherine Rundell
  • Tug of War by Naomi Howarth
  • A Crow’s Tale by Naomi Howarth
  • The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens
  • Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens
  • A Change Is Gonna Come by Various


  • Androgyne: Fashion and Gender by Patrick Mauries
  • I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell
  • The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  • A Word is a Bird We Teach To Sing by Daniel Tammet
…and in the ‘what we’re reading and recommending’ segment…
  • Emily: A Country Road, A Tree by Jo Baker; The Lesser Bohemians by Eimear McBride
  • Julie: The Vorrh by Brian Catling (STILL); Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
  • Annie: Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen by P.G. Wodehouse; Women Who Blow on Knots by Ece Temelkuran

Book group book: Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Next time: The Man Booker Prize!

Thanks for listening – send us your questions for next episode, which we will post on 10th September ūüôā

Episode 2 | What’s with all the book-to-TV adaptations?

It’s the second episode of Bibliophile! Thanks so much for all your feedback and questions so far. This time we welcome our first guest, Edinburgh writer and musician Jim Taylor, to discuss the recent surge in book-to-TV adaptations. We also have lots of book recommendations for you for July.

Things (mostly books) we mentioned…

…in the Book-to-TV segment…
  • We spoke in as un-spoilery a way about the Hulu/Channel 4 TV adaptation of¬†The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • The TV adaptation of¬†The Man in the High Castle¬†by Philip K. Dick
  • American Gods by Neil Gaiman
  • His Dark Materials¬†by Philip Pullman
  • Game of Thrones¬†by George R.R. Martin – especially the idea of TV adaptation outpacing the rate of novel-writing
  • I Love Dick¬†by Chris Kraus
  • The TV ‘novel’:¬†The Sopranos; Mad Men; Breaking Bad
  • Comic book adaptations: The Walking Dead; Preacher
  • TV adaptation of¬†Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery – Anne with an E –¬†and over-dramatising things for television
  • War and Peace¬†by Leo Tolstoy – ‘sexing up’ of a classic novel
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen (at which Annie gets cross)
  • Crime series: one book per episode (Agatha Christie; Arthur Conan Doyle; Montalbano)
  • Upcoming book-to-TV series we’re intrigued by:¬†The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber;¬†The Neapolitan Novels by Elena Ferrante;¬†The City and the City¬†by China Mieville;¬†Watchmen¬†by Alan Moore & David Simmons; The Power by Naomi Alderman;¬†His Dark Materials¬†by Philip Pullman.
  • Dream book-to-TV series:¬†Station Eleven¬†by Emily St. John Mandel;¬†Crime and Punishment¬†by Fyodor Dostoyevsky;¬†Electric Dreams by Philip K. Dick; short stories of Jorge Luis Borges or Shirley Jackson;¬†The Underground Railroad¬†by Colson Whitehead;¬†Life After Life¬†by Kate Atkinson
…in the poetry for beginners recommendation segment…
  • Rapture and¬†The World’s Wife¬†by Carol Ann Duffy
  • Door into the Dark; North; Station Island; Death of a Naturalist¬†by Seamus Heaney (especially ‘Blackberry-Picking)
  • Penguin Modern Poets series (there are currently four volumes)
  • Staying Alive Trilogy¬†by Bloodaxe Books
  • The Zoo of the New
  • The Rattle Bag edited by Seamus Heaney and Ted Hughes
  • Crow¬†by Ted Hughes
  • Spoken Word Nights
  • Kate Tempest on Spotify (read¬†Let Them Eat Chaos¬†while listening – it’s ace!)
…in the new and notable segment…


  • The Zoo¬†by Christopher Wilson
  • A State of Freedom¬†by Neel Mukherjee
  • Don’t Cry¬†by Mary Gaitskill


  • Fall Down Seven Times, Get Up Eight by Naoki Higoshida
  • The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higoshida
  • A Woman Looking at Men Looking at Women¬†by Siri Hustvedt
  • Blind Spot by Teju Cole
  • Open City¬†by Teju Cole
  • Known and Strange Things by Teju Cole


  • The Griffin’s Feather by Cornelia Funke
  • William Morris¬†ABC and¬†William Morris 123
  • The Only Lonely Panda¬†by Jonny Lambert


…and in the ‘what we’re reading and recommending’ segment…

We are so delighted to announce amazing news for our Writer-in-Residence Claire Askew: she has just signed a two-book deal with Hodder & Staughton in a four-way auction for her debut novel¬†All the Hidden Truths and a sequel! The Bookseller Magazine revealed the following exciting details…

The first in the deal is All the Hidden Truths,¬†the story of a tragic shooting at an Edinburgh college and its aftermath. It is narrated¬†by three women at the heart of the story –¬†the mother¬†of a victim and the mother of the shooter, and DI Helen Birch who is tasked in solving the case. According to¬†Hodder‚Äôs Crime and Thriller publisher Ruth Tross, who¬†acquired British and Commonwealth¬†rights, including Canada, from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown, the book is both a “knotty crime novel” and a story of grief¬†“trying to make sense of something that defies reason”.

All the Hidden Truths¬†is one of the most remarkable debuts I‚Äôve read ‚Äď a powerful, clever, knotty crime novel that takes a shocking moment and follows its impact on the families, police, and society,” said Tross. “It‚Äôs about how grief plays out amidst social media speculation and tabloid conspiracy theories; about trying to make sense of something that defies reason; and people at their best and worst. Everyone at Hodder shared my enthusiasm; I‚Äôm not sure I‚Äôd have been forgiven if we‚Äôd lost the auction. Readers of Kate Atkinson, Denise Mina and Susie Steiner will love it ‚Äď along with anyone who wants their fiction both moving and gripping. It marks the start of a fantastic writing career and I can‚Äôt wait to share it with the world.”

Summerhayes said: “I knew Claire was a special writer from page one. I didn’t anticipate that she’d ruin the next 48 hours of my life because I couldn’t put my Kindle down, but I’m glad she did. Claire has an amazing writing career ahead of her and I know Ruth and the team at Hodder will maximise this opportunity with their passion for this novel and many more.”

We’ve already heard a sample of Claire reading from her novel and can’t wait to read it! Since Claire joined the Golden Hare as Writer-in-Residence early this year, she has been an incredible force of good. She has supported Golden Hare Books by setting up and mentoring a fortnightly writing group, Golden Hare Writers, helped us apply for funding to put on special events and been an all-round advocate for everything we do as independent booksellers.

Claire’s own writing career has always been inspiring. Winner of the Lucy Cavendish Prize for Fiction, a Jessie Kesson fellow and nominee for the Saltire First Book Award and many other prestigious awards, and with her debut poetry collection¬†This changes things she was already impressive enough! She is not only a fantastic writer, teacher and friend of the shop but a real asset to the burgeoning literary scene here in Edinburgh. We feel so lucky and excited to have Claire connected to our shop.

All the Hidden Truths will be hitting the bookshelves – and this bookshop! – in July 2018. We can’t wait!¬†In the meantime, you can buy her fantastic debut poetry collection¬†This Changes Things from Golden Hare Books in-store and online.

"I'm obviously absolutely thrilled to be working with Hodder, and to know that my novel is soon to go out into the world! Over the past few days I've been thinking a lot about the as-yet-unpublished writers I know and work with, and want to say to anyone still striving at their laptop -- keep going! Look what can happen!" -- Claire

Episode 1 | Should You Judge a Book by its Cover?

In the first episode of¬†Bibliophile, Annie and Julie discuss whether you should judge a book by its cover, answer a question from a listener and discuss the new releases for June we’re excited about. Also plenty of recommendations abound!

Books we mentioned…

…in the ‘should you judge a book by the cover’ segment…
…in the ‘how do you choose books for the shop’ segment…
…in the ‘new & notable’ segmcent…





…and in the ‘what we’re reading and recommending’ segment…

Earlier this week the Golden Hare Book Group met to discuss Garth Greenwell’s highly acclaimed debut novel¬†What Belongs To You. Here’s what we made of it…

The novel is told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator, an American teacher based in Sofia, Bulgaria, by what seemed to the group as a self-imposed exile. He meets Mitko in the restrooms at a museum: our group found the way that Greenwell wrote about cruising to be particularly effective, with no hints of seediness – an entirely human exchange. You can read more about Greenwell’s thoughts on cruising here. From this point our narrator begins a years-long infatuation with Mitko, sex-worker and waif who takes advantage of others’ obsession with him. But the using is definitely not one-sided. Most of us found the characters deeply flawed but sympathetic, and trapped in very different ways.

Most of us thought this novel was accomplished and moving, though there were a couple of doubters, who felt it lacked plot and the characters weren’t compelling enough. It’s a dense novel for under 200 pages, and we all found that the title,¬†What Belongs To You, was entirely forgettable and struggled to remember it.

The majority of the group really enjoyed this novel, which is often the sign of a very good book as we can often disagree! There were a couple of scenes that didn’t work as well for us (such as the scene on the train) but the first and the final¬†scenes of the book were very effective and beautifully written.

We discussed the fact that Garth Greenwell is a poet, which comes across in his lyrical language, and the structure of the novel is very much in three distinct parts, the middle of which (a flashback to a difficult childhood) has no paragraph breaks. We also discussed how it might fit into the queer literature canon – we spoke about Alan Hollinghurst, James Baldwin and others, whose relationships seem destined for doom.

Do you agree with what we made of What Belongs To You? Let us know in the comments!


What Belongs To You by Garth Greenwell is published in the UK by Picador and is available now in paperback at Golden Hare Books. 

Bibliophile is a new podcast by bibliophiles for bibliophiles, coming soon to ears near you (hopefully your own)!

Okay, okay, we admit it…we’ve been keeping this one under our hats for a while now. But with good intentions – we wanted to get all our plans ready and the first episode well underway before letting on about anything!

From June onwards, you can look forward to a monthly dose of Golden Hare goodness tickling your earbuds in the first week of every month. Our booksellers Julie and Annie will not only be telling you all about the new releases we’re most excited about and the books we’re reading ourselves; they’ll¬†also discuss news, debates and the hot topics of¬†the book world today. Better yet, we’ll be answering your questions in every episode and are asking¬†you to submit your questions for us in a comment below, via social media using the hashtag #bibliophilepodcast, our Facebook poll or via this online form. So what are you waiting for? Let us know what you’ve always wanted to ask a bookseller…

See you on the airwaves very soon!

storytime-poster-1We’re really proud to be introducing something we’ve been working on behind the scenes for a wee while now¬†– a brand new, fun and completely FREE storytelling session for children. Aimed at kids between 2-7 (but all very welcome), this session encourages little ones to engage with books and stories, with games that allow them to explore and feel at home in the bookshop, and craft activities too.

Every week, our kids’ bookseller will choose and read a story, be it old or new, and there will be 10% off the book – but please don’t feel obliged to purchase! Whilst the kids are being read to, grownups can enjoy a free tea or coffee whilst browsing the books.

Each session will last around 30-45 minutes and starts every Sunday at 11am. Check out our Events Calendar and Facebook page regularly to find out what the next book is! We’ll be breaking off Sunday Stories on 11th December to revive in the New Year!