Monday, 18 January 2010

Book Club Could Do Better

There is a new book club programme on UK television at the moment (Sundays, 19.30, More4 channel) called 'The TV Book Club'. The programme makers want to create the same success of talk show host's Richard and Judy and Oprah's book reviewing slots. Big sales, big coverage, big exposure.

Richard and Judy's book club became the biggest thing to hit the book industry since Harry Potter. I remember working at the Bookshop when the first book was reviewed. Nobody expected the book to sell out within an hour. New posters and huge amounts of stock arrived before the next episode - we sold out again. Middle list authors, debut authors were given the limelight.

However, the new bookshop has featured authors who already have a name for themselves - Sarah Waters, Nick Hornby. Six celebrities all try and battle to get their opinion heard. The show is 30 minutes long but they only spent 5 minutes talking about the featured book. The rest of the time was full of snooze-induced fillers. They talked about one the 'guest' host's books for long. Even the credits were annoying - the audience do not need to be told its a bookclub - the titles show us already.

I felt like I was being talked down to most of the time. Maybe the programme isn't aimed at hardcore bookies.

I would like to see a show that investigates the themes, presenters with no ego to parade, more time spent on the booker, maybe feature a few 'civilians' and their comments. Ditch the fillers and go features on the plot, writing style, other books. Maybe give us some extracts.

I hear book sales are already picking up - so the show must be doing something right!


Jessie Carty said...

it would be interesting to see more book discussion shows on TV instead of what you describe - which sounds like people just American Or British Idoling the book! :)

Jessica said...

Agreed! They think books need to be treated like music and celebs!

Sofluid said...

I felt the same upon watching it - it felt like far too much celebrity book banter and not enough about the novel authors and the books themselves. I also found the quirky street sections annoying. Ok, so it's interesting to learn a new and strange word, but why all the silliness? More about books, please!

Jessica said...

I think 'More Books, please' should be the new slogan!