Each month the guest will be in conversation with The London Library’s Director, Philip Marshall and will delve into the Library’s archive and collection to uncover treasured books and nuggets of historical detail about the guest’s book choices.

The London Library Podcast is a celebration of books and the ideas they inspire and a personal love letter from each guest to the books that have been most influential to them.


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Episode 7: Jarvis Cocker

For the latest in our podcast series, recorded just before the Library building closed, we are delighted to welcome musician, broadcaster and editor Jarvis Cocker. 

For his podcast, Jarvis introduced five books that that have been particularly influential to him:

The first is Grimm’s Household Tales. For Jarvis there was something particularly appealing about the way the tales were collected rather than written from scratch. In complete contrast is Richard Brautigan’s Sombrero Fallout, a chance find picked up in a secondhand book shop.

Jarvis’ next choice The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, made an equal impression as characters imagine their lives away from the drab world they inhabit, and find ways to relate and pour out their feelings. Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari “haunted me for quite a time”. Jarvis had chosen it on holiday “but it isn’t beach reading and it actually really frightened me”.

Jarvis’s final podcast choice is The Book of the Secrets by Bagwhan Shree Rajneesh. He had been fascinated by the lurid Netflix documentary The Wild, Wild Country - about the movement creating a lavish settlement in Oregon. But he was more intrigued about the unanswered question of why the movement was so popular and what it had to say about approaching the mental overstimulation of 21st century life.



Episode 6: Nigel House

The latest London Library podcast features Rough Trade’s Nigel House who takes us through the books that have made an impact on him throughout his life including Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome, Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, Canada by Richard Ford and The Rings of Saturn by WG Sebald.


Episode 5: Valerie Brandes

In episode 5 of The London Library Podcast, we are joined by Valerie Brandes, the founder and publisher of diversity-focused, independent publishing house Jacaranda Books.

Valerie talks about identity, motherhood and the books that have shaped her life and career - from moving to America, then back to Hackney and setting up her own publishing business. As well as Jacaranda's Twentyin2020 initiative, which The London Library is currently supporting, promoting Black British writing through exclusively dedicating a year of publishing output to 20 Black British writers.

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Episode 4: Ahsan Akbar

For the fourth episode of The London Library Podcast we are joined by Ahsan Akbar - a London Library member, poet, co-founder of the Dhaka Literary Festival and owner of Teatulia tea shop and bar in Covent Garden.

In conversation with The London Library’s Director, Philip Marshall, Ahsan discusses the books that have shaped his life, including The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi; A Bend in the River by V S Naipaul; Money by Martin Amis; Virginia Woolf's Orlando and Reunion by Fred Uhlman.

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(Image Rick Pushinsky)

Episode 3: Neil Pearson

Philip Marshall talks to actor and rare book dealer Neil Pearson about five books that have shaped his life, schooling and various career choices.

His book selection includes the Jennings series, Henry Miller and Hard Rain Falling by Don Carpenter.


Episode 2: Harriet Evans

This month we're delighted to be joined by London Library member and Sunday Times Top Ten bestselling author, Harriet Evans. 

Harriet's book choices include: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by CS Lewis; The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 ¾ by Sue Townsend, The Light Years by Elizabeth Jane Howard and I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith.


Episode 1: Hallie Rubenhold

Hallie Rubenhold’s book choices are: Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder; Les Miserables by Victor Hugo; The Family, Sex and Marriage in England, 1600 - 1800 by Lawrence Stone; Clarissa by Samuel Richardson and Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.

As well as discussing these books and what they mean to her, Hallie Rubenhold looks at the reaction to her bestselling The Five, including the trolling she’s received from Ripperologists, the need to tell lost women’s voices from history and gives a glimpse of the history behind the books that have shaped her