Why I Really Like This Book
These are podcasts about forgotten fiction, for curious readers, and for anyone who likes old books. Sometimes they're stories, sometimes they're not. Most of the authors write in English; and sometimes they don't. But all the books I talk about, I really really like. I hope you will too.
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My name is Kate Macdonald: I'm an English lecturer, and a lifelong browser in second-hand bookshops. I post weekly ten-minute podcasts on a Friday, on the books I really like which I think deserve new readers. You can find out lots more at the Facebook page here, and get these podcasts weekly by subscribing on the iTunes link above.

The music for the podcast intro is by The Tribe Band. Lucy Marsh did the drawing and Matthias Opsomer lettered it. Patrick Belk and Martin Fowler hold my tech safety net.

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Questions? Send me a message by mailing me at kate [dot] brussels [at] yahoo [dot] com.

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Read all about the power of the Edwardian newspaper in this short story about bullying, corruption, the abuse of power, and the defeat of small-mindedness. Rudyard Kipling's 'The Village That Voted The Earth Was Flat' is a lesson in collusion and taking revenge.

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More wigs! More swordfights! Learn how to tip wine down your coat sleeve if you don't want to get drunk while dressed in clothes of the opposite sex. Study the disguises of highwaymen and practice your court curtseys. Georgette Heyer's The Masqueraders teaches valuable life skills for the 18th century.

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Get out the jewel box and summon the wig powderer, the aristocrats have escaped the Terror, and are looking for revenge. Some magnificent swashbuckling action and double-crossing plot twists in Baroness Orczy's classic novel of the French Revolution, in which the Scarlet Pimpernel leads the establishment's backlash against Revolutionary excess.

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Yet more galloping about in the heather, in the late 17th century as an anxious nation awaits the departure of James III and the arrival of William of Orange. John Buchan's John Burnet of Barns has his estate to worry about, and his girl, and knows that his wicked cousin Gilbert will have them all if he can. For law-abiding folk who believe in virtue being its own reward.

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Antony Hope's The Prisoner of Zenda is a delirious farrago of doubles, red hair, and desperate plots against the king's life, in Ruritania. Will Princess Flavia realise she is being wooed by an Englishman and not by the king? Will Black Michael succeed in his wicked plot? Will Rupert of Hentzau scupper the secret? For duellists expert with both sword and pistol.

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Romping over the heather, running through the hills, scampering among the dragoons, and tearing down the hill to the ferry to get across the river in time: can there be anything more exhausting than reading Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped? A great swashbuckling novel of the aftermath of the 1745, for readers who can run with their sword drawn.

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What do you do when the man you had thought was dead, and who had tried to kill you first, is back from the dead, talking about champagne cocktails in Paris? You go to Paris to find him, and then when a bad lot beat you up to throw you off the scent, you head straight for the south of France to do more snooping. John Welcome's Run for Cover is a fine first novel from 1958 about fooling the enemy, and a lot of fast driving. For thriller heroes who insist on a decent dinner every night.

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The gentlemanliness of the Cold War spy, hitman and cold-blooded killer in Her Majesty's Secret Service is all about sex. And race. And class. And cheating at cards. Ian Fleming's James Bond is a complicated mixture of pre-war gent and post-war ruffian. For readers who hop from book to book looking for more of the same.

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Digging your own rabbit burrow? This is the manual for you. On the run from foreign gunmen with multiple passports? Look no further than this novel for career advice. Need guidance on how to hide in open country and survive without being spotted for weeks? Household's Rogue Male is the classic text for aspirational survivalists. For armchair outdoorsmen.

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This is the one where Plato puts his hand down Audrey's shirt, so we know he's doomed. Dornford Yates' Gale Warning is a cracking thriller of map-reading, fast driving, navigation, and a gentleman's hunt to avenge the murder of a friend. For drivers who do what they're told without question.

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