The Book Club Review

Talking Non-Fiction, with Tom Rowley of Backstory • Episode #160

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Episode notes

Exploring literary worlds beyond fiction: a dive into non-fiction   Join Kate, as she ventures to South London to visit Backstory, a unique indie bookstore founded by former journalist Tom Rowley. Rowley shares his journey from journalism to opening a bookshop, the challenges and joys of running a bookstore, the importance of community engagement, and launching the second issue of the Backstory Magazine.    We then turn our attention to non-fiction, pulling out some favourites, both backlist and new releases. As Tom says, 'I want good stories, I don't care whether they're fact or fiction.'   00:40 A visit to south London's indie bookshop Backstory, and why Kate's name is on the wall   01:53 From journalism to bookshop owner: Tom's lockdown dream comes true   04:25 Embracing the community: the transition from market stall to bookshop   09:26 Launching Backstory Magazine: a new chapter in storytelling   14:54 Exploring non-fiction: feel the fear and read it anyway   17:49 Just what is deep backlist? Tom's first recommendation is My War Gone By, I Miss it So by Anthony Lloyd (September Publishing)   20:18 Kate recommends Fall: The Mystery of Robert Maxwell by John Preston (Penguin)   22:46 Tom's next pick: Maurice and Marilyn: A Whale, A Shipwreck, A Love Story by Sophie Elmhurst (Penguin)   25:52 Kate pulls out The Wager by David Grann (Simon & Schuster) (and we also talk about Devil in the White City by Erik Larson [Penguin])   29:08 Tom recommends The Trading Game by Gary Stevenson (Penguin)   31:15 Great minds think alike: Kate and Tom both recommend The Moth and the Mountain by Ed Caesar (Penguin), author and now DJ!   35:32 An aside from Kate about The Possessed by Elif Batuman (Granta)   37:17 Towards the end of the episode we reach 'peak Tom', with Little Englanders by Alwyn Turner (Profile)   41:17 Book club reads: Red Memory by Tania Branigan (Faber) and Close to Home by Michael Magee (Penguin)   42:25 Tom's book of the summer: The Safe Keep by Yael van der Wouden (Penguin)   44:18 List of books, how to get support the pod and get extras via our Patreon account and details of our upcoming episode in which Phil and Laura join Kate to talk about books that make us laugh   Notes Visit Backstory online at