Enter Stage Left

“Everything starts somewhere, though many physicists disagree. But people have always been dimly aware of the problem with the start of things. They wonder how the snowplough driver gets to work, or how the makers of dictionaries look up the spelling of words.”

— Terry Pratchett

In a bid to expand my reading base I am starting this blog to encourage myself to not only read more, but to explore what it is I love about certain books and discover new authors and genres.

As my blog name suggests, however, I will also be writing about the other great passion in my life – Theatre. I count myself lucky to have parents that have taken me to shows for as long as I can remember, but now I want to explore even more of what the theatre world has to offer.

The goal for 2020 is to write at least one post a month on a book and a play each so I guess I better get started!

Diary #6 – P.S. I Love Audiobooks

So the reading drought continues, I am picking my books up, just not for very long each time. However, I have zoomed through three audiobooks all of which I loved!

I’m still over the moon that I have discovered BorrowBox, in the past couple of weeks I have listened to The Perks of Begin a Wallflower, P.S. I Love You, and The Beekeeper of Aleppo. I’ve only seen the trailer for The Perks of Being a Wallflower and that was years ago, so I went in blind and really loved it! I think if I’d read about it before I would have worried it would be a cringey, angsty teenage tale, but it was so sensitively written and felt realistic. Sometimes with teenage novels I find tacky or sensational scenes are added for dramatic effect and end up taking away from the real drama in adolescent life. I enjoyed returning to teenage life through the eyes of Charlie and following him on his journey through high school, meeting new friends, falling in love, reading voraciously and dealing with anxiety.

The slow build of the story really made me feel like I was going along the journey with Charlie and I was pleasantly surprised with how emotionally connected I become with the characters. This was helped significantly by the wonderful reading of Noah Galvin. It’s not a big drama story line, although there are definitely unexpected twists and turns, just beautiful emotional writing that I think almost anyone could connect with. I really appreciated the unpredictability of the book in the sense that it did not follow any of the stereotypes teenage novels normally do, it felt refreshing and real which is what made it so special. I’m looking forward to seeing if the movie lives up to the book!

P.S. I Love You is a book that I have seen the film adaptation of so I was incredibly surprised to find that in the book the story is set entirely in Ireland rather than New York. I’m not normal a romance novel fan, but knowing the premise of the book I was excited to listen to it and I really enjoyed it! The story is so beautiful and moves between being hilariously funny and sorrowfully sad effortlessly. I just thoroughly enjoyed listening to the story, and even though I knew lots of the major plot points I still found it surprising and engaging. The best part about the whole book is definitely the way Holly’s character is written. She’s flawed, but brave, sad but funny and completely relatable.

I’m not really sure what else to say about it except that I loved it, it’s just a good solid book that I would highly recommend. I was also intrigued by the extra chapter at the end, the beginning of the follow up novel, which I did not know existed so I’ll definitely be looking that up in the near future.

Last but not least, The Beekeeper of Aleppo. I’d seen this book around a lot but actually didn’t know anything about it except for it being the story of an asylum seeker. The plot follows the journey of Nuri and his wife Afra, escaping Aleppo, the city they once loved, that has since been destroyed by war. I thought the book did an excellent job making the lives of refugees relatable as we often only see attention grabbing headlines and statistics not the personal stories of those escaping war and terror. Although not written by a refugee you can tell that the author, Christy Lefteri, has spent time with many refugees, listening to their stories and feeling compelled to bring their struggles to the attention of the public.

I realised recently, when listening to the podcast About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge (which you can read more about here) that I had come to a subconscious conclusion that refugees were poor people needing aid rather than a wide range of individuals, many with highly respected jobs that had been forced to leave their country under unimaginable circumstances. The Beekeeper of Aleppo similarly reinforces the humanity behind these individuals and makes it so crystal clear that anyone could be a refugee, it just so happens that I was not born in a country that is currently at war. For this reason I think the book is a must read/listen to. It is an example of why fiction is so important in widening our horizons, helping us to understand each other and unlearning some of the prejudices we have been taught.

I would probably recommend reading this as opposed to listening to it though, as the story does jump backwards and forwards in time which I think would have been clearer on the page and slightly easier to follow. I did however thoroughly enjoy listening to it and the narration was outstanding.

Have you read or listened to any of these? What did you think and what audiobooks would you recommend I listen to next?

Diary #5 – Under Circe’s Spell

I made a new discovery this week, BorrowBox, the audiobook lending service, which I’m hoping will help me get through my INSANELY huge TBR. I also visited the National Theatre for the first time in what feels like forever to see Under Milk Wood. I still haven’t finished any physical books and to be honest went through a bit of a reading slump, but listening to audiobooks has definitely helped.

Because I am due to start working in the office again soon, two days a week, I decided to look into Audible. I can now walk to work so can no longer read on the commute, that’s not a complaint by the way, I’m very happy about not having to cram myself onto sweaty humid trains anymore. So I thought my walk would be an excellent opportunity to listen to either books I don’t have with me in the flat or those I don’t own at all. For some reason I was under the illusion that Audible was like the Netflix of audiobooks, I did not realise that for £7.99 a month you get just one audiobook. You do get to keep it forever, but this just didn’t seem like a good fit for me. I remembered my friend telling me that the library offers audiobook loans online and you can borrow 7 at a time and return them as soon as you’re done with them to get more. I had a look into it and couldn’t believe how many recent titles were available, well a lot of them were on loan, but you get what I mean!

I couldn’t wait to start listening and chose Circe by Madeline Miller for my first listen. I absolutely raced through it in a couple of days. I was completely captivated by the beautiful writing and the wonderful way in which the story was brought to life my Perdita Weeks. Circe’s story is not one I was familiar with apart from in Percy Jackson so it was lovely to hear a new (to me) Greek story that weaved in and out of the ones I was more familiar with. It was also obviously incredibly refreshing to hear these tales from a female perspective!

Next up is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky which I am actually already over half way through!

Thursday June 24th:

I still can’t quite believe that it’s possible to visit the theatre again so I was beyond excited to go to the National Theatre to see Under Milk Wood on Thursday. There was of course a little bit of COVID protocol, but it was over quickly and being inside the building felt wonderful.

I’ve not read any Dylan Thomas so all I knew to expect was a story about a sleepy Welsh village with the main role being played by Micheal Sheen. I enjoyed the show, but if I’m completely honest I felt it was somewhat lost on me. There were some beautiful passages of language and lots of jokes and brought everyone to laughter, but the nature of the story requires constant attention which I found quite difficult to maintain. This in part was due to a positive reason, there was always something happening on stage with the supporting cast, either those that were involved in the present action or those in the background extending their characters. This made for a wonderfully rich visual, especially considering the stage was circular with no major set pieces, but it meant I was constantly distracted from the main story.

I can almost hear Thomas fans yelling at me through the screen, to which I will say I am definitely still interested in reading Under Milk Wood as I think I’ll get more out of it this way. Also I’d like to add that I don’t think this is down to anything being done badly and I did still really enjoyed myself, I just wished there had been pauses and changes in pace that would have helped me to keep up with the story.

The acting was wonderful, each character completely defined with characteristics and costume, supported by a deceptively simple set of tables and chairs that were wheeled on and off stage with secret hinges that turned an empty desk into a fully laid dinning table. Although it may not have been one of my favourite plays of all time I still thoroughly enjoyed myself and it was wonderful to be back in front of a stage again.

Have you been back to the theatre yet? What have you seen and would you recommend it?

Diary #4 – Books and Booked

I didn’t manage to finish any books this week and quite frankly got into a bit of a slump with reading. I don’t know if it was the weather turning dull or that fact that I have a few more plans now, but my reading time definitely fell dramatically. Having said that when I did return to my books I was welcomed back with interesting and engaging writing. Oh and I got my first COVID vaccine so I’m pretty happy about that!

Reading Update:

I’m still reading Queer Intentions and A Bite of the Apple, both of which I am enjoying for different reasons. Queer Intentions is easily one of the best pieces of written evidence for why representation is so important. I consider myself to be reasonably aware of LGBTQ+ issues, but in this book Abraham interviews and talks to so many different members of the community that I am discovering a lot of things I have never considered. For example: how Ru Paul’s Drag Race has both a positive and negative effect on Drag by bringing it into the mainstream and both sides of the argument on whether Pride should be just one event or lots of smaller ones to represent the different parts of the community. First hand accounts are always so valuable and this book is packed with them. I’m loving it so far and am always excited to pick it up.

A Bite of the Apple is also interesting for it’s first hand accounts, this time on working for Virago when the company started out and watching it progress. It really sounds like a turning point in women’s literature, one which I was not massively aware of. Goodings mentions many of the books that got them started and afforded them continual success, many of which I have to admit I have not heard of, but it’s making me very excited to explore their modern classics collection in the near future.

Other News:

I’m also positively ecstatic about the fact I managed to book tickets for Joe Lycett’s new stand up tour!! It’s not until next year, but I’m already looking forward to it. I received tickets to his last tour as a birthday present and I think it’s one of my favourite ever comedy shows so here’s hoping this one is as good if not better!

Neither book nor theatre related, but I finally finished The Legend of Zelda Link’s Awakening on Nintendo Switch yesterday, which I’m very happy about. It’s by no means the best Zelda game I’ve played (which is obviously Minish Cap) but it was nice and nostalgic, plus now I’ve finished it I can exchange it in for a new game, but what to buy?

Are you a gamer? What are some of your favourite games? Old or new, I’m open to suggestions!

Diary #3 – A Delivery from Egypt

This week I finished a book and started a new one, whilst enjoying the glorious sunshine, that conveniently disappeared every time I went to the park… I also booked tickets for a show I have wanted to see for ages so am incredibly excited!

Reading Update:

I finally finished Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – you can see my mini review on my Instagram – in the end I did enjoy it but it was a bit of a disappointment for me considering how famous it is.

I also started A Bite of the Apple, a part memoir, part history of the publishing house Virago by Lennie Goodings. I’m only 30 pages in, so I don’t have a huge opinion on it yet, but I’m very interested to hear about the journey of what is now such a huge publisher, and I always love a good memoir!

Book Post:

I’ve not bought any new books in quite a long time, as I have about a zillion already on my physical TBR, but this week I treated myself to some I’ve wanted for a while:

Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall , I’ve seen lots of great reviews on this and most of my feminism reading has unfortunately been based solely around white women so I wanted to get this as a start to expanding my reading on the topic

Big Sister Little Sister Red Sister by Jung ChangWild Swans is one of my all time favourite books so I’m excited to read another of Chang’s books

Detransition, Baby by Torrey Peters – Longlisted for the Women’s Prize for Fiction this year, as soon as I heard about the plot and how lots of trans readers were saying how refreshing it was to hear this type of story written by a trans author, I immediately wanted to read it

Saturday June 12th:

After a day out in China Town eating murger soup from Murger and drinking a delicious crème brûlée bubble tea from Machi Machi, I booked tickets to see The Prince of Egypt at the Dominion Theatre later this summer. The Prince of Egypt was one of my favourite animated films growing up, my brother and I watched the VHS more times than I can remember, so I’m so excited to go to see the musical!

Have you made any new or secondhand book purchases recently? What were they and what made you want to buy them?

Diary #2 – The Show Intends to Go On

Somehow it is already June and, rejoice, the sunshine has finally appeared. I finished a book, started a new one whilst buying and borrowing a lot more! I also saw some wonderful live performances and booked to see another, so all in all, a good week.

Thursday 3rd June:

I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society just before bed. I have previously said that I only thought I enjoyed it because it was light relief from Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but after not being able to put it down for the last third I decided I was wrong. It’s a really joyful read, put together beautifully. I really appreciated how each letter (the book is comprised solely of letters) was like one piece of a puzzle that when combined all fit perfectly together, nothing missing and no excess. I was also very grateful for the notes at the end by both authors, I was intrigued as to how the story was written between two and to learn that Shaffer became ill shortly before completing the novel, was very sad, but it demonstrates both how trusting and wonderful the relationship between herself and her niece Barrows was for her to pass over her creation.

A day later I also watched the movie adaptation which was good, but I found the characters less lovable. I completely understand why some of the editorial decisions were made, such as removing certain characters and speeding up the plot by having Juliet arrive much more quickly into Guernsey, but a lot of the character development was lost meaning I didn’t feel anywhere near as connected with them. Still worth a watch though as it made me cry, which I think is generally a sign of a decent film.

General Reading Update:

I’m still going with Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and am delighted to say I’m enjoying it so much more than I was before! I feel like the plot now makes a lot more sense to me as some action is playing out rather than being retold so I can follow it a lot more easily. Still a way to go, but I no longer dread picking it up!

Monday June 7th:

I started reading Queer Intentions by Amelia Abraham, I bought it a month or two ago and Pride Month seemed as good a time as any to start it. So far I’ve only read the introduction and the first chapter, but I’m already really enjoying the narrative style. Abraham is a journalist and this autobiographical journey is told through her interactions with others which I really like. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the book has to offer and learning more about LGBTQ+ culture.

In the evening I also enjoyed, one day late, the live performance of The Show Must Go On a showcase of lots of the West End’s best shows aiming to raise money for The Theatre Support Fund, which has been helping those in the theatre industry during lockdown. It was so lovely to be back in the world of musicals again with some amazing performances, my favourites being:

– ‘You’ll Be Back’ from Hamilton performed by Trevor Dion Nicholas
– ‘The Winner Takes It All’ from Mamma Mia! performed by Mazz Murray
– ‘You and Me (But Mostly Me)’ from The Book of Mormon performed by Dom Simpson and Tom Xander
– ‘Bring Him Home’ from Les Misérables performed by John Owen-Jones
– ‘When You Believe’ from The Prince of Egypt performed by Alexia Khadime and Christine Allado

You can still catch the whole show on YouTube for free here! If you do enjoy it please consider donating to The Theatre Support Fund or buying some of their amazing merchandise as the arts have had it really tough during the pandemic with little or no support from the government.

Have you booked to see and shows yet? If so what are you going to see or what have you seen already?

Diary #1 – Flying to Guernsey in Search of a Tailor

Seeing as I’ve been pretty terrible at keeping up to date with monthly wrap ups I thought I’d give myself a challenge to write shorter but more frequent updates in the form of a diary, which will include what I’ve read, what I’ve been to see at the theatre and anything else significant that I think you might like to hear about. Hope you enjoy!

Monday 24th May:

I went to Bridge Theatre, my first trip back to the stage after the latest lockdown, to see Flight. Based on a novel it tells the story of two orphaned brothers travelling across Europe in hopes of reaching London.

We were escorted inside and guided to our own individual private booth, very COVID appropriate, where you sit in front of a giant carousel, bare with me, which contains hundreds on miniature scenes. As the show starts the carousel begins to turn and the scenes are lit up one by one with the story playing through your headphones to tell you the brothers’ arduous tale.

This was such an original concept and beautiful told story , I would highly recommend that you grab a ticket while you still can. I don’t want to give too much away but the variety of effects used on the different scenes combined with the narrative and sounds effects was really wonderful. I’ve always had a fascination for miniature models and this show elegantly displays the versatility that they have for storytelling.

Showing at Bridge Theatre until 6th June 2021, get your tickets here!

Reading Update:

So last week I was lucky enough to visit the Lake District, which besides the beautiful walks and views meant two long train journeys, perfect for reading! However, I am struggling through Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, which I have still not finished, so I didn’t make much progress. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society did offer some light relief though. I’m quite enjoying it, but I don’t know if that’s mainly because comparatively I am really not enjoying Tinker Tailor

Have you read Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy? Did you enjoy it? And more importantly did you understand it?

Natives by Akala – Book Review

I’d seen this book all over Bookstagram and a few of my friends had also read and recommended it to me so it was definitely on my “to buy next” list. I was, therefore, delighted when my boyfriend bought me Natives for Christmas! He knew I wanted to read more about the history of race in the UK so he asked a few friends about what they would suggest and this was their first choice.

The best thing about Natives, in my opinion, is how Akala beautifully mixes a traditional memoir with various essays on political and social history in the UK. As the reader you are guided back and forth between anecdotes and discussions on major historical events and social studies. All of this is done seamlessly and makes it so much more memorable and easy to discuss with others.

Akala tackles subjects such as black on black crime and systemic racism within education, amongst many others. His patient tone and expert use of research combined with his own experiences as a POC helps you unpack these topics. Before reading you probably knew that the term “black on black crime” was itself perpetuating racism, but you probably couldn’t eloquently explain why. After reading Natives you know that statistically the majority of violent crime in the UK is white on white, but because we are conditioned to see the world through a lens that filters out whiteness as a race, white on white violence never becomes about race. We should not need these things explained to us, but nevertheless Akala painstakingly lays out all of the information for us so that the facts are inescapable.

Having heard Akala speak publicly it is clear to see that he is not only passionate about this subject, but that he also knows it inside out. When confronted with intentionally antagonising questions, *cough cough* Piers Morgan, Akala is gracious, but powerful, he knows what he is talking about and breaks it down so that it is impossible to not understand, it then just becomes a case of if the listener is open minded or not. All of this knowledge and passion is clearly evident in Akala’s writing and consequently I have now converted back to note taking whilst reading non-fiction books, as there is so much to learn from this book I needed to process it properly.

Conclusion: This book is an exceptional tool for educating yourself on the topic of race and its history within the UK and I am incredibly grateful for it, we shouldn’t need it, but unfortunately we do. We shouldn’t need POC to still be educating us on why and how we live in a systemically racist country, but after the release of the UK Government’s Race Report last week it’s clear that we are still woefully denying our contribution to the continued prejudices in our own country and communities. Therefore, I would urge you to pick up this book and absorb it. There are lots of great references to historical events, ones that your parents will remember, making it easier to chat to then about race, and plenty of statistical evidence that our country does not favour those that are not white, stats you can bring up next time someone says they don’t think white privileged exists. Please read.

Rating: ★★★★★

What books have opened your eyes to the issue of racism? I’d love to hear your recommendations!

A Life on Our Planet by David Attenborough – Book Review

Before even watching the documentary last year I knew I wanted to read this. I’m a big Attenborough fan so naturally was drawn to it and any book that can guide us to avoiding climate disaster is a must read in my opinion. I received the book as a Christmas present from my parents and it immediately bumped almost everything on my TBR!

So what’s it all about and why should you read it if you’ve already watched the documentary? (If you haven’t watched the documentary, please pause reading this, add it to your watch list and return.)

As can be expected with all written companions to TV shows, the book goes into much more detail than the documentary whilst following the same clear path. To begin the book follows Attenborough’s journey from a child interested in fossils all the way to the eminent TV presenter he is today, along the way showing how the earth has been severely impacted by human behaviour in the space of just one lifetime, all be it an extraordinary one.

Part 2 then succinctly explains what we can expect from the rest of the 21st century if we continue on our current trajectory. This includes rising temperatures, which will cause sea level to rise and displace many communities, whilst also making some places uninhabitable from the heat and consequently an increase in forest fires. On top of this species will become extinct, from coral reefs to pollinators, both of which are vital to our ecosystem. More topically, there is a growing likelihood that there will be more pandemics like COVID-19 and worse. This all paints a pretty bleak picture and while I was reading this section I did feel a lot of despair, but as Attenborough explains, we are in a wonderful position to change all of this, because for the first time in history we know what we are doing wrong, how that will affect us, and most importantly what we can do to turn things around before it is too late.

The penultimate section digs deeper into these solutions discussing the rewilding of land and sea; reassessing our measures of success; converting to clean energy; using less space to allow more room for nature to recover; planning for peak human and building more balanced lives, because what is good for nature is also good for us. Just like the documentary the book uses lots of existing examples, such as the world’s largest solar farm in Morocco and no-fish zones in Palau, to display how these changes are not only possible, but hugely successful.

To conclude the message is, that we should be cautiously hopefully, the solutions are not waiting to be found, we already know what they are, we just need to implement them. However, the caveat on this hope is that it cannot be just a handful of countries who act, this must be a global effort. We in the UK are by no means leaders in this field, so it’s not a case of moaning about other countries not getting involved. Tell your MP that we don’t only need change, but that you want it. The bigger the public movement for climate action the more pressure there will be on the government to act, and not just to do the bare minimum, but to make it part of their manifestos and campaigns.

Conclusion: READ THIS BOOK! Apologies for the all caps, but this is an issue that effects each and everyone of us and we have about 9 years to make a difference. The more we know and talk about this subject to our friends and family, the more people will care about it and make changes in their lives too. Even more importantly, this will build public awareness to the point where governments can no longer ignore the crisis we face. I hope you enjoy reading this book, learning about nature and all that it does for us and I hope that it inspires you to make the changes you are able to in your lives to build this movement and bring about the change that we so desperately need.

I realise the above sounds a little preachy so I would like to add that I am by no means perfect, I am relatively new to this area of reading, but what I have learnt in this short space of time is the urgency needed in this fight. As is so often quoted on social media “we don’t need a handful of people being perfectly sustainable, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” Each change you make, no matter how small will make a difference and in the long run make it easier for others to make these changes too. You don’t need to commit to going vegan overnight or move to the country and only eat the veg that you grow (although this does sound lovely), just try one thing at a time, switch your light bulbs to L.E.D. ones or try non dairy milk in your tea, it might not feel like much, but it all makes a difference.

Rating: ★★★★★

Have you read A Life on Our Planet? If so what did you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts and if the book prompted you to make any changes in your life. Even if you haven’t read the book do you have any tips on sustainable swaps? Let me know below!

Currently Listening To – My Top 5 Podcasts

As I continue to work from home and my Disney playlist starts to lose it’s appeal due to how many times I’ve listened to it, I’ve started branching out into a couple of podcasts. So, I thought I’d share a few I’ve really enjoyed in the hope that you might be entertained by them too and possibly suggest some to me also!

1. No Such Thing as a Fish

This is the podcast I’ve been listening to the longest so I guess it’s fair to say it’s my favourite. Created and presented by the QI elves, this fun, light hearted podcast is a mine of information both random and relevant. Each episode contains four main facts that the elves discuss and expand upon, covering subjects from why a farmer might draw a pair of eyes on the back of a cow to why Merlin wasn’t called Myrddin. The best thing about this podcast is it’s variety, the elves research such a wide range of information that listening to it really is “quite interesting”.

On regular occasions whilst listening to Andy, Anna, Dan and James, I pause the podcast to immediately repeat what I have learnt to my boyfriend. I’ve probably retained less than 1% of all of the facts I heard over the last 7 years because there’s just so many of them, but the show has definitely helped me contribute to conversations with wonderful nuggets of information and sparked my interest in lots of different areas. Oh and it’s also hilarious!

Released every Friday at 2pm with most episodes ranging from 20 mins to an hour.
Click here to listen

2. Grounded with Louis Theroux

If, like me, you are a huge Louis Theroux fan then this is an incredibly easy sell! During lockdown last year Louis began recording remote interviews with a wonderful plethora of guests from the worlds of sport, acting, music, comedy and more. Each episode is a generous hour long meaning you really feel like you’re getting to know the guest. Topics range from the serious to the stupid, but always in a well considered and intelligent manner.

As someone who loves biographies I really enjoyed this format as I gained an insight into 20 personalities, some of which I already knew a fair bit about and others that I did not. Some of my favourites were Jon Ronson, Michaela Coel and Frankie Boyle. The show reminded me of Alan Davies’ As Yet Untitled which I absolutely love as it feels much more conversational than some traditional interviews.

Both series available in full (including a bonus episode) on BBC Sounds.
Click here to listen

3. About Race with Reni Eddo-Lodge

I only discovered this podcast last year despite it being released in 2018. I read Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race in the same year and it was a turning point read for me. The podcast is in much the same vein as the book, but continues on from the 1980s. Topics covered include Operation Black Votes, the BBC’s White Season, Political Blackness and more. Each episode features a strong selection of guests who range from authors and journalists to activists and politicians.

Wonderfully researched and beautifully stitched together each episode is thought provoking and presents arguments from all sides with Reni offering her own opinions and contributions to conclude. This is a show I will definitely be re-listening to and I’m also really grateful for how each guest and all of the main sources are referenced in the episode notes – perfect for further learning!

All nine episodes are available on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.
Click here to listen

4. You’re Dead to Me

This show is a much more recent discovery for me, less than two weeks ago I think! Hosted by Greg Jenner, Head Nerd of the BBC’s Horrible Histories, every episode he is joined by a historian and a comedian to discuss a historical period, event or figure. It’s a great combination of comedy and good historical discussion. Obviously in a podcast it’s impossible to cover everything, but I think the show really eloquently invites the listener to ask questions about the topics discussed and serves as a great introduction to each of them.

The ‘Nuance Window’, a section where the historian speaks uninterrupted for two minutes, works perfectly to convey to the audience that what has been discussed is by no means everything there is to know about the subject. As a history graduate I’m really grateful for this section, because I think it encourages the listener to question what they have learnt and want to expand upon it.

If you’re keen on history or even if you’ve not really dabbled in it since school, I’d really recommend giving this a go. History is so vast and expansive that it is often daunting to pick where to start, so these episodes are a really wonderful jumping off point. You can learn a little about a lot and see which most interests you. And even if you don’t decide to do any further reading you’ve still expanded your knowledge on a great array of topics!

Released every Friday with all episodes around an hour long available on BBC Sounds.
Click here to listen

5. Call of the Wild

So the last of my top 5 is actually a brand new podcast by the WWF hosted by Cel Spellman about what we can do to help save the planet. The first episode was released this week and I’m really looking forward to continuing with it. As an introduction, show number one is an interview with David Attenborough summing up the current situation we are in and the urgency with which we need to act to protect our planet.

As always it was a joy to listen to David Attenborough speak, his life time of experience and knowledge is so valuable to listen to and I think Cel did a great job of not only interviewing but conveying the immense impact that David’s work has had on the world, in particular to our generation. I’m really looking forward to listening to future episodes, each of which will focus on a different environmental issue and feature guests and listener input. Knowing how urgently the planet needs our help to protect and sustain it I would definitely say that this is a must listen.

Next episode to be released on Wednesday available on Apple Podcasts:
Click here to listen

So I hope I’ve inspired you to try out a few new shows, if I have please let me know what you think of them, or if you have any suggestions for what else I could be listening to let me know if the comments!