Thursday, July 18, 2013

Harriet Gilbert for President

Harriet Gilbert.  I may swoon.

If you are looking for a restful way to occupy yourself in the one air-conditioned room in your house (fellow Vermonters?), I'm here with a couple G-rated suggestions.  Namely, a link to a podcast that I love.

My discovery of the archive of the BBC World Book Club has been the high point of this hot, gremlin-laced week (before coffee this morning my bed and my dryer both broke down).

The host of the show, Harriet Gilbert, is almost too good to be true: a real BBC announcer lady - an archetypal English woman of excellent taste, diamond-cut diction (emailers from around the world send questions and she navigates their names, Bulgarian, Indian, Russian, French, perfectly with never a stumble).   She interviews A-list authors, directs their readings - as in, "read this section now," and corrals the discussions in a way that keeps the show moving along briskly.  Even the audience members are clever and out of the ordinary.

I found the podcast archive while searching for interviews of David Mitchell, most famously the author of Cloud Atlas.  The show was fascinating on many levels (how did he do it? what does it mean?).  As an aside, David Mitchell's lovely voice and manners swept me right off my feet -  lucky that I was lying down while I listened.

Last night, flipping around on my poor (as yet unbroken) bed and fighting insomnia I went back to the World Book Club and listened to Harriet's interviews with P.D. James, A.S. Byatt and Philip Pullman.  I could have picked Annie Proulx, Zadie Smith, an appreciation of Dickens or any of thirty or so other shows.  Of course, I'll be back.

Harriet Gilbert is English, of course, and not a politician. Those are likely barriers that stand between her and the presidency here in the United States, but she would get my vote in a heartbeat.

In other bookish news...

I was gratified during my podcast listening to be interrupted by the little chirp that my iPod uses to tell me I have a new email.  The email in question was to let me know that the Teatime Reader, a book blogger and children's librarian, to whom I had sent my book several months ago, had actually read it, "loved it" (her words) and had reviewed it.  

I know the book isn't for everyone, but I was confident that at least some people would like it and there is nothing more gratifying to me than hearing that someone actually did like it.  Here's the link to the review. 

These things do help one through, as Harriet Gilbert might say.