Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Royal Mail's Magical Mystery Tour

Aren't these cool? These stamps are part of a special set featuring some of the world's most famous wizards, witches and enchanters released by the British Royal Mail in March of this year. I only stumbled upon them on the Guardian website today and immediately wanted to share the find with you. Visit the gallery page here for high resolution images of the complete set.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Review: Murder On The Links by Agatha Christie

Murder on the LinksErcule Poirot receives a letter begging him to travel to France to help in a mysterious case. Upon his arrival it turns out that the man who wrote the letter was murdered and it is up to Poirot and his friend Captain Hastings to solve the murder and a couple of other mysteries along the way.

A couple of years ago I got my hands on a volume of five of Christie's Miss Marple mysteries along with a book of short stories and for some reason while I enjoyed them I didn't love them. It all seemed very formulaic with superficial characters and without much feeling. Now that I've been reading more of her books I can't help but think that the timing wasn't right when I picked up that volume. I even remember saying in earlier Christie reviews that to me her novels are good riddles but usually don't have much depth. I officially take it back.
This was Christie's second published novel and already we have a theme that will repeat in a number of her later books - heredity and its effects on a person's character. Poirot is a big believer in heredity and something tells me that Dame Agatha was as well. It was interesting to see how such considerations played a part in the characters' actions.
We also have the matter of social classes and marriage outside of one's class. It seems like an archaic and snobbish subject in this day and age but in Christie's time it was very much relevant and apparently occupied her thoughts enough for the subject to be broached on several separate occasions and for Poirot to remark that 99 times out of 100 such a union isn't a very happy one. But do not despair, my democratic friends, luckily for us Christie favors love and happiness much more than numbers and odds, and that's all I'm going to say about that.
As far as the characters go this set was a lot of fun. Hastings always deems himself such a great detective and speaks of Poirot almost pityingly when the Belgian genius makes conclusions that don't coincide with his. Fortunately he remains such a good sport when he realizes that all his ideas were wrong that one can't hold it against him, which I don't think Poirot ever does. The French police are a different matter entirely and it was very amusing to watch them battle it out over the many plot twists - as the officer in charge of the investigation lamented this was not at all a simple case and you do have to get the little grey cells working to keep track of it all.
Mme Renauld was definitely my favorite female character. She was a remarkable woman indeed and only at the very end of the book do we see the full extent of it. The rest weren't very straightforward either. We have devotion, self-sacrifice, strength, deceit and calculation all present and as carefully as I watched for clues I couldn't always tell who was looking out for whose interests. Hope you have better luck, both here and with the identity of the killer - I was off the mark yet again and A.C. is currently leading 15-0. That's ok, I have 51 more chances.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Review: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

The White Queen (Cousins' War, #1)The White Queen tells the story of a woman of extraordinary beauty and ambition who, catching the eye of the newly crowned boy king, marries him in secret and ascends to royalty. While Elizabeth rises to the demands of her exalted position and fights for the success of her family, her two sons become central figures in a mystery that has confounded historians for centuries: the missing princes in the Tower of London whose fate is still unknown.

The White Queen is the first in Gregory's War of the Roses series and I liked it even more than her Tudor books. The main reason for that is that this book isn't straightforward historical fiction, there's a bit of fantasy there too and I enjoy fantasy tremendously. The fantasy elements are based on the fact that the real Elizabeth Woodville and her mother were accused of witchcraft and believed themselves to be the descendants of Melusina, a European river goddess, but Gregory takes it a step further in tying the women's unconventional actions into the plot in a way that gives the novel a flavor the other books don't have. There's nothing that can be positively identified as witchcraft, just some remarkable coincidences, but the way Gregory tells it there's always the "what if" in the back of the reader's mind. The legend of Melusina itself is told in pieces throughout the book and in echoing the mood and theme of the particular section it amplifies the effect of magic permeating the story.
I'm already used to Gregory's characters being strong and vivid while at the same time very human and I enjoy getting to know them even if I can't relate to them. Edward IV is a king who sees the big picture and has his country and the future of his family in the forefront of his thoughts at all times. On the day of his wedding to Elizabeth he's already thought about and put plans into place to prepare for all eventualities. Elizabeth's mother is an absolutely remarkable character and I'm glad that we got to see some of her. Strong, intelligent, with her eye on the prize at all times but not hard and cold. I look forward to reading The Lady of the Rivers when it comes out later this year because she will be at the center of that novel. Elizabeth herself is a woman to the tips of her fingernails. She inherited her mother's cleverness and her father's temperament and with time became the matriarch looking out for her family's future, able to look the other way when the matter wasn't serious enough and to demand what she wanted when she believed that her position was threatened.
There's only one thing that made it difficult to keep track of the plot and detracted from the experience: everybody seemed to be Elizabeth, Edward, George, Robert, Richard and Margaret. When there's several of each in every family you know it's time to come up with some new names, just to make talking about each other easier, if for no other reason. But what can you do, that's the way things were.
Gregory gets criticized a lot for not making her novels historically accurate and while I'm no history buff and can't agree or disagree with the critics I can say that her fiction flows naturally and whatever liberties she takes with the facts don't appear to be to the story's detriment. It is fiction after all, and very good fiction at that.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Largest Library In The World

Library of Congress
This week I've been adding books to my reminder list on the local library's website and caught myself marveling at how many books they have. Judging by the list that just kept growing I won't need to buy books for years if I don't want to (but of course I will want to). So when today rolled around it was only natural to wonder what is the largest library in the world and where it is located. Trusting the internet to satisfy my curiosity I did a quick search and discovered something interesting: there are two libraries in the running for the title. One is the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and another is the British Library in London, England. But which one is the true largest library?

British Library
Both claims are accurate, just in different ways. The Library of Congress is the largest in terms of shelf space with about 530 miles (850 km), while the BL's shelves run only about 388 miles (625 km). The British Library boasts a larger collection with over 150 million items, while The Library of Congress currently has over 140 million items in its catalogue. But we mainly care about books, right? According to the LOC website the library currently has 33 million books and other print materials. The BL website didn't have a figure for how many actual books they have but I have found a figure of 29 million elsewhere online. With two out of three looks like the Library of Congress is the winner!

For those curious enough to want to find out more about these two great libraries here are some links:
The official website of the Library of Congress
The LOC Wikipedia page
The official website of the British Library
The BL Wikipedia page

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Review: Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Before I FallSam is a teenager who has it all - she's one of the most popular girls in school, has the most-drool worthy boyfriend and two awesome best friends and is invited to every cool party out there. And then she dies in a car accident. It's not the end of the story for her though because she gets a second chance, seven second chances to be exact, to figure out what's really important.

I should preface this review by saying that I'm not a fan of the "groundhog day" scenario and this spoiled the story for me in a way. It was very well done however and I think that this is an excellent read for those who are entering the "must be cool" stage, regardless of age.
From the very fist pages of the book I didn't like Sam and her friends. They were so jaded despite their youth, so shallow and mean, even to each other, not caring in the least about how their actions and words made the other kids feel. So by the end of the chapter where Sam realizes that she's dying I didn't have much sympathy for her. Had the writing not been great and voice very appropriate for the setting and the characters and had I not hoped that Sam wasn't really as rotten as she appeared (there was a glimmer of a real person in there, beneath all the glitter and lipgloss) I would've set the book aside and moved on to something else. I did keep reading though.
My favorite characters here were the outsiders constantly picked on by Sam's clique. They were kids with real interests, considerate of others, people worth knowing. Kent and Izzy stood out especially because they marched to their own drum and were just themselves, without trying to fit in with any particular group. I guess they had to be there to contrast with the mean girls and I was glad for their presence and for how genuine and accepting they were, despite Sam's ill treatment of them and others. I'm still not used to the customary practically absent parents in YA and can't wrap my mind around how it's possible for kids to live in a world where parents appear to have little to no importance. I wished that Sam's parents had more of a presence in the book but I guess that's just one of those things that come with the genre being YA.
Sam's evolution was a bit painful to watch, especially in the beginning - it was like watching a blind person stumbling in a maze, looking for the way out. Over the course of 7 days she made some choices I couldn't agree with but she had to make them and they really weren't so outlandish that I couldn't see her making them (props to Ms. Oliver for keeping things believable in the middle of a totally fantastical scenario). It was very satisfying to see her make the right choices, although I couldn't help but wonder what would happen with the story when Sam did everything right. By then I kind of didn't want it to end. And I really hoped that she would make one more choice that to me seemed to be made and was a bit disappointed that she didn't even seem to consider it. Won't tell you what it is though, you'll have to see for yourself.
I started this review thinking that I didn't particularly like this book. Now I think I liked it more than I realized. So if you haven't read it yet - there's no better time than now!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Bed by David Whitehouse

BedBed is a story of a family where the older son, the eccentric Mal, decides at 25 to never again get out of bed because he is disappointed with the idea of the conventional life of job, mortgage and family. Mal's brother is the narrator and he goes back and forth in flashes telling anecdotes of his own and Mal's childhood, youth and adulthood that led up to the last few days of the present, when it was finally time for the morbidly obese Mal to leave the house, two decades after he entered it that last time.

This was definitely a book unlike anything I've read before. I didn't particularly like it, but it made me think about things that don't usually occupy my mind and that gives it value outside of the realm of pure entertainment. Whitehouse has a gift of witty and to the point observations that make you understand exactly what was going on and how everybody involved felt, or mainly how Mal's brother felt. Sometimes after reading a paragraph I couldn't help but silently exclaim "Exactly! That's exactly how it is!" because his characters, who are definitely the highlight of the book, are very ordinary people with simple lives and what happens to them can and often has happened to any one of us at some point. His descriptions don't shy away from anything and his writing style is almost journal-like.
I keep referring to Mal's brother as "Mal's brother" because we never find out what his name is and that gave me some of that food for thought I was referring to earlier. On one hand how often do we talk about our lives and address ourselves by our first name? On the other hand, why doesn't anyone else ever address him by his first name? Another thing I couldn't help but think about was whether Mal was selfish in making himself the focus of his family in such an unusual way or whether he was the glue that kept this family that would've fallen apart otherwise together? Did he destroy their lives or did he give their lives meaning, like he said he wanted to do in the beginning of the book? And last but not least this book made me think about love and how it can be destructive with the best of intentions, when all one wants to do is make the other person happy but hurts them in the end.
The reason I didn't especially like this story lies in that as clever as Mr. Whitehouse is too often the book feels like a bunch of one-liners put together and called a novel. The "present" chapters felt tedious and with every meticulous description of Mal and his fat and how their mother cared for him I couldn't help but feel slightly nauseated, wanting to find out more about the past instead of focusing on the present that didn't seem to go anywhere. Another reason for my lukewarm opinion of this book is that I didn't really understand what happened to Mal in the end. I'm all for endings that aren't all cut and dried but there was just too much left unsaid in this book.
Risking a spoiler here but I was glad that in the end everything turned out well for the characters. I wouldn't want to spend any more time with them than I did though, they were all just too messed up. Then again, aren't we all messed up in our own ways?

Book received courtesy of Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab program.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One for all and all for one!

Did you know that the valiant d'Artagnan wasn't just a product of Alexandre Dumas' imagination? Did you know also that Athos, Porthos and Aramis as well as Monsieur de Treville, the captain of the King's musketeers, also existed? I didn't, not until today when I started looking up whether one of my favorite literary heroes was considered deserving of a statue. Why not, I reasoned, after all Captain Nemo has a monument in Nantes.
Luck is on my side and I found a very interesting article about the real d'Artagnan, Charles de Batz-Castelmore, his service to the French crown and his death in a battle at the gates of Maastricht in Holland. It was the most interesting and informative article and I urge you to read it here. Wikipedia also has an interesting entry about d'Artagnan and his life. The two complement each other nicely.
Once I was done reading both articles I thought about how I started the Special Feature posts because I loved the idea of literature inspiring artists to paint and sculpt, but d'Artagnan is just one example of real people inspiring artists and writers centuries after they lived and died (did you know there's a new Three Musketeers movie awaiting release this fall?).
Now I'm off to find out more about the other three musketeers. Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: Nefertiti by Michelle Moran

NefertitiNefertiti is the daughter of a family that's been providing the royal family with brides for generations and now it is her turn to become queen. The Queen Mother hopes that she is strong enough to reign in and control her rebellious and unstable son but the young girl has her own agenda and when she is crowned she becomes unstoppable.

Growing up I liked to look at a metal etching of Nefertiti hanging on the wall of my grandparents' apartment. I never really understood why my grandparents, who didn't appear to be interested in antiquity at all, had that etching but the woman depicted in it was beautiful with her strong profile and an unusual headdress and I just accepted her as a permanent fixture of the living room. A few months ago browsing in a used book shop I saw this book and was immediately transported to my grandparents' living room and picked it up without hesitation. It sat on the shelf since then, waiting its turn, until I finally read it.
The book intrigued me as much as the etching did with its promises of an unusual culture and religion and the people who did something worthy of being immortalized in art. Ms. Moran did a wonderful job of setting the scene and making the story and the characters authentic. From the very first pages Mutnodjmet, the narrator and the sister of Nefertiti, plunges us into that time with references to gods and an account of the latest horrific gossip. It was like listening to a foreigner talk about their land and their culture, a foreigner who just happened to be privy the inner workings of the court of the pharaoh at the time of never before seen change. This very informal tone continued throughout the book and made it an easy and relaxing read. There weren't any explanations of the words and concepts the reader isn't readily familiar with and that kept the narrative from feeling forced. Instead we got a glossary at the end of the book and a genealogical map of the royal family that answered any and all questions that arose.
I really enjoyed the seamless blend between fiction and history in this novel. It was such a treat to realize that one of the scenes was about the creation of the legendary bust of Nefertiti that my grandparents' etching is based on. There are a lot of questions about the real Nefertiti and her Pharaoh mainly because the archaeologists haven't been able to find their tombs, or at least definitely identify them as theirs and Ms. Moran gives a plausible explanation of why that is and of why there are hardly any images of the Pharaoh's first wife, Kiya. I can tell that she did a lot of research for this book because her take on the people and the events of the time is very believable.
I've seen comparisons of Nefertiti to Philippa Gregory's The Other Boleyn Girl and there are plenty of similarities between the stories to support this claim. For example both stories are told by unambitious sisters of incredibly ambitious women who become queens and play crucial roles in the upending of entire countries' way of life. There are some differences though that make these novels dissimilar. For instance, Nefertiti was meant to marry the young pharaoh and Mutny was always just her sister and supporter, not a romantic rival and she was never used by her family the way Mary was. There was also a lot more tragedy in Mutny's life and I sympathized more with her because of it.
The character cast in this book is very multifaceted. There are contrasts of Mutny and Nefertiti and Nefertiti and Kiya, of the two viziers - fathers of the Pharaoh's wives, the Pharaoh himself and his dead brother who was very much of a presence throughout the novel, the two generals opposing the Pharaoh. There are also very warm relationships between Mutny and her servant who becomes her friend and Mutny and the dowager queen Tiye. We don't get much development of Mutny's mother but it's obvious that she loves both her daughters and is a source of comfort to them.
I didn't much like Nefertiti because a lot of her actions were very selfish and she appeared to have little or no regard for anyone or anything but herself and her desires but in a way I also admired her for her strength and daring in setting herself apart from any queen who came before her and her patience and determination in working to achieve her dreams. In the end we do learn about some of her redeeming qualities and her character becomes more multi-dimensional but Mutny is a lot more sympathetic because of how honorable and unspoiled she is by her status and living in riches. I chuckled when I read the scene where a chariot driver wanted to give her a ride to the other end of town because she was nobility and she told him off saying that she had two perfectly good legs and could walk.
A lot happens during the course of this book, it spans several decades, but it flows very naturally. Never does it become contrived or forced and that made it a very enjoyable read. I look forward to reading Michelle Moran's other books and luckily on the same trip to the book store I picked up The Heretic Queen so that will be easy to arrange.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Pride and PrejudiceWhen Elizabeth Bennet first meets Mr. Darcy she can't help but dislike him. After all he is proud and arrogant and he seems to be setting his best friend against courting Elizabeth's sister, robbing her of her chance at happiness. But is there more to the man who doesn't trouble himself with being even a little bit pleasant? Can their mutual dislike turn into affection? May be there will be a wedding after all.

The story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy was my first foray into the world of Jane Austen. At first the language presented a bit of a problem, what with unusual vocabulary and manner of speaking, but soon I was lost in the life of English middle class gentry with plenty of daughters and not enough money. I loved how every character had a distinct and quirky personality, especially the Bennets. Mrs. Bennet and her cases of nerves and Mr. Bennet and his belief that half his family are extremely silly women were a source of constant amusement.
Austen does a wonderful job of creating a society filled with interesting characters where the ones that change are highlighted by the ones who stay static. I enjoyed the transformations of both Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy from set-in-their way and so sure of themselves to people who all of a sudden find themselves reconsidering and reevaluating what they thought of each other and how the difficulties and near tragedies they face help them grow. No problem is a matter of life or death here but I rather enjoyed one's reputation and happiness being at stake for a change. I also think that there is value in developing characters in a setting of Austen's time, it allows us to see their personalities revealed in circumstances that are more tame and more similar to our own non-action-packed lives than a post-apocalyptic intergalactic battlefield. I love me some sword-fighting and gun-wielding protagonists but let's face it, water-cooler conversations are more like salon intrigues than a war with monsters.
The story started out pretty quaint but picked up speed about half-way. Things started to really happen! I liked how the change of pace coincided (intentionally or not, only Miss Austen knows) with a change in Elizabeth's feelings for Mr. Darcy. It's like she was stuck in a rut of her small social circle and then when she left its confines and saw more of the world she got the opportunity and the experience to see deeper into him, understand him and herself better. It got a bit confusing with a rather sudden addition of a relatively large number of relatives in the midst of some pretty stressful time in the life of the Bennet family and eventually I gave up on trying to keep them straight. After all it's Elizabeth and Darcy who mattered, not the various uncles and aunts, no matter how nice and helpful.
I wasn't entirely satisfied with the ending because I always feel that scoundrels should be punished and the scoundrel of this story didn't seem to get too harsh of a punishment. And yes, in real life this happens all too frequently but when I read period novels the girl who likes the evil witch to die wakes up and starts demanding justice much more so than when I read contemporary fiction or even historical fiction. What can I say, a happily ever after with no trouble from pesky ill-wishers is a nice concept!
This is one of the books where I wish I could keep talking about it but then the post would be riddled with spoilers and that's against the rules so I won't. There is one more thing I'd like to talk about though. It's not specific to Pride and Prejudice but it is relevant and I'd love to hear your thoughts on it. Here's what it is:
If you've read any reviews of Jane Austen's works you most likely have seen the disparaging ones, the ones that say that all her stories are about women finding husbands and dismiss them for that being the main characters' only goal in life. On the surface that may be true but it's not just about finding a husband, any husband. It's about marrying for love when marriages of convenience were so common, it's about staying true to oneself and finding happiness and quite frankly I don't see anything wrong with any of these. Back then a woman's prospects were extremely limited, a good match was essentially at the top of her list of aspirations and those who didn't follow the traditional path, like Jane Austen herself, were either considered unlucky or very odd. We, women of the 21st century, have a lot more options. We can choose to have families, careers, interests outside of our homes but I believe that finding one's true partner and living a happy life are things we all wish for, even if we don't readily admit it for whatever reason, and staying true to oneself despite the pressures and demands of our lives is difficult to overestimate. Some people may see Austen's chosen themes as archaic but I see them as timeless. What do you think?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Special Feature: The Reader by Edouard Manet

80 x 98 cm (31.4" x 38.4")
Currently at Missouri St. Louis Art Museum

I always want to know more about a work of art than the basic details such as size, date, present location. It's always intriguing to find out who the subject of the painting is, how they came to sit for the artist, whether there's any kind of personal connection there. Unfortunately less famous works of even famous artists present a challenge in that they're hardly mentioned anywhere and when they are only the most basic details are available. That's the problem I face with this painting as well and if any of you, my wonderful readers, know anything interesting about it please share!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Review: Three Act Tragedy by Agatha Christie

Three Act TragedyNothing ever happens in a quaint little town of Loomouth, not until the local vicar dies at a dinner party at Sir Charles Cartwright's mansion. The police attribute his death to natural causes and the matter is forgotten until Sir Charles' friend, a renown doctor of psychiatry dies in a chillingly identical fashion. Luckily for them Ercule Poirot is there to untangle the mystery and identify the murderer.

The more I read Agatha Christie's mysteries the more I like them. It seems like with every new volume there's an extra something that makes them more than just an engaging riddle. Either I'm reading the books with a more pronounced human element or I'm just noticing it more and somehow I'm inclined to think that it is the latter.
I really liked Mr. Satterthwaite, the intelligent little man with an absolutely unpronounceable name and a way with people. The Lytton Gore ladies were my "human element" here introducing the subject of being able to see people for who they really are and not in the way Poirot does it. They made mistakes sometimes, sure, but their perceptions felt warm and uncalculating. I liked these characters more than the rest particularly because we learned more about them as people than we did about any of the others and that is really my only gripe - the rest of the cast are barely fleshed out and I wish we knew a little more about them.
Of course I didn't figure out who the culprit was even though I suspected everyone. It almost detracted from the story, this constant watchfulness, attentiveness to every word and trying to see in what way it could be a clue, whether it could be a clue. I really need to turn off that part of my brain next time and just enjoy the story. Learn from my mistakes, my friends!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Review: Gramercy Park by Paula Cohen

Gramercy ParkFor Mario Alfieri New York is just another step in furthering his successful opera career and he does not expect it to be any different than any other stop on his world tour. He definitely does not expect meeting a shy and mysterious Clara Adler in a house he considers renting and falling in love. Little does he know that this love will turn his whole world upside down and threaten to destroy the life he so painstakingly built from nothing.

Gramercy Park is a perfect book for a rainy weekend - the gloom outside your window will complement the drama of the story nicely and make the secrets hiding in the shadows all the more mysterious. Or may be you want to read it at the beach where the bright sun will dispel some of the gravity of the story. Either way, if you enjoy historical romance with a few Gothic touches I think you'll appreciate Paula Cohen's debut novel.
I expected a nice love story with may be a bit of mystery to spice things up so the traditionally Victorian setup of a helpless and desperate young woman rescued from a life of no prospects by a dashing and famous heart-breaker reformed by her beauty seemed very promising. That's when things became more interesting and more tragic than I anticipated. The stakes are high for the villains and Clara and Mario who unwittingly interfere with their secret desires must be destroyed, their reputations irrevocably damaged.
The pace of the novel is slower than I prefer but it was fitting for this story. I enjoyed the glimpses into the society of 19th century New York although sometimes the way things were horrified me and made me glad to live at a time when victims of abuse and tragedy aren't forced to hide their past for fear of ruining the lives of their loved ones, as if it were them at the root of it all. I also enjoyed the characters who appeared true to the period, their actions constrained by the conventions of the time even when they dared to challenge those conventions in the name of love. The villains were truly chilling and although I could tell from the very beginning that they weren't as benevolent as they tried to appear I could hardly imagine how deep their malice ran. The narrative voice and the language are perfect for this story and in alternating lyrical and dark the author successfully set the tone for the unfolding events.
This is an enjoyable book but I would not recommend it to younger readers - there were some very disturbing scenes and because of them if this were a movie I'd rate it R.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Special Feature: BBC World Book Club

The other day a friend asked how I decide which books to read. As you can tell from this blog I read in a variety of genres and seem to be fortunate in my selections. So I told her about magazine book review sections and blogs and friends' recommendations and I also told her about this one site that feeds not only my hunger for new books but also my curiosity about the people who write them.
BBC World Book Club is a monthly 53-minute program where celebrated authors answer listeners' questions about their most famous books. You can download the episodes as podcasts and I was thrilled to listen to interviews with authors whose books I've already read, like Toni Morrison and Sara Paretsky, authors whose books are on my TBR list, like Bernard Schlink and Boris Akunin, and authors who are new to me, like Edna O'Brien and Carlos Ruiz Zafon, among others.
It is fascinating to listen to these masters of the craft talk about their writing, about the things that made them want to tell the particular story, about their lives and the effect it has on their work. Not every single book seems appealing enough to make me want to add it to the list but some do and I look forward to reading them and sharing my thoughts with you.
Check out the Club's website here, there are 42 most recent episodes to download or subscribe to if you're an iTunes fan, and there's more in the archives. Hope you make some interesting discoveries, just as I have.