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New Discovery

New Discovery: Joel Golby’s Book Club

We dive deeper into the latest literary offering

11:00 AM GMT on February 15, 2024

    The podcast book club idea has been done before. Has it been done well? I don’t know; I’ve never listened to one. I generally prefer to read dull books written by dull men about specific, dull pieces of history and these are not the kind of tomes that are covered in a podcast book club. As such, I assumed this category was simply not for me. But, seeing Joel Golby’s Book Club hovering around the top of Apple’s New & Noteworthy chart, my interest was piqued. I like Joel Golby’s tweets. I’m partial to a bit of his journalism. Book clubs seem like peaceful, happy things. Perhaps it’s about time I gave one a try.

    Opening the feed, I gulped. Golby appears to be exclusively reviewing books with smart titles written by sophisticated-sounding authors. The kind of books you’d have poking out of your jacket pocket at 17 in the desperate hope that someone noticed and got the impression you were deep and thoughtful. I’d never heard of any of them, let alone read them.

    I needn’t have worried. Golby is great at this. He has a way with words that conveys the complexity of each story he wants to tell you about, neither dumbing it down nor slipping into pretension. He’s enthusiastic, but calm. You can hear in the tone of his voice how much he enjoyed reading these stories and how much he wants to pass that enjoyment onto others.

    The episodes are short, all 15-20 minutes so far. This feels just right. It’s plenty of time to delve into the book in detail, yet any longer and it would start to feel like he was just reading the story to you. Golby has a lovely, soothing voice, and can speak in monologue for a quarter of an hour without giving you the feeling this conversation is getting a little too one-sided.

    It doesn’t matter that I haven’t read the books. Some reviews leave me feeling I’ve been gifted a nice, neat summary of something I would never have taken a chance on otherwise. Other episodes make me want to head straight out to my nearest bookshop and see what they have in stock.

    Peaceful and happy indeed.

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