Winamp Logo
Books of My Life Cover
Books of My Life Profile

Books of My Life

English, Arts, 2 seasons, 14 episodes, 4 hours, 32 minutes
You can learn a great deal about somebody from the books they read. Take a listen to authors and celebrities as they invite you inside the library of their life. Which books make them cry? What is currently on their bedside table? Which novel do they wish they had read as a child? Which books could they not do without? Come and join the conversation by sending us the books you love or hate by emailing us on [email protected] (
Episode Artwork

Ben Miller on writing from the heart

In the sixth and final episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews English actor, comedian and author Ben Miller. Having found success with the BAFTA-winning Armstrong and Miller sketch show, he has gone on to feature in countless films and TV shows, including Johnny English, Paddington 2 and Bridgerton. He's also written a string of bestselling children’s books, including How I Became a Dog Called Midnight, The Night We Got Stuck in a Story and more – a passion that began by writing a story for his son. In this episode, Miller discusses the books that inspired him the most when he was young, and what drove him to write for a new generation of readers.
8/9/202314 minutes, 13 seconds
Episode Artwork

Shahd Alshammari on how literature saved her

In the fifth episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews Kuwaiti-Palestinian author and academic Shahd Alshammari. Alshammari has a profound relationship with literature – she credits it with saving her life. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis at a young age, she has overcome great physical and mental obstacles to become a beacon of inspiration, strength and hope through extensive writing about disability and gender in the Arabian Gulf. Her memoir Head Above Water shines a powerful light on the rarely heard non-Western narratives exploring illness, and she brings a crucial female Arab voice to the conversation. In this episode, Alshammari discusses how the classics and Arabic literature drove a passion for life, the importance of destigmatising mental health and the need for more representation of people living with disabilities.
8/2/202323 minutes, 17 seconds
Episode Artwork

Explorer Benedict Allen on what he’s learnt from his adventures

In the fourth episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews British writer and explorer Benedict Allen. The real-life Indiana Jones, Allen has nearly died nine times, adventuring everywhere from the Amazon to the Arctic. Keen to minimise his impact on local communities and surroundings, he never takes any GPS equipment and builds local expeditions from the ground wherever he goes. Allen has also written a dozen books documenting his exploits. He recalls being inspired by the stories of Dr David Livingstone, Peter Matthiessen and Wilfred Thesiger, people he says had a dream and were prepared to take risks to make it come true.
7/26/202326 minutes, 30 seconds
Episode Artwork

Shrabani Basu on journalism and historical fiction

In the third episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews Indian historian, journalist and author Shrabani Basu. The truly great history writer walks a fine line between dramatisation and documentation – a balance Basu has mastered admirably. Basu famously wrote Victoria and Abdul, a historical novel later adapted into a feature film. Somewhat of a sleuth herself, she also wrote a fascinating account of Arthur Conan Doyle’s efforts to rescue a Parsi lawyer from injustice. In the episode, Al Bustani and Basu discuss the remarkable correlations between history and journalism, and why the best history writers have to be both.
7/19/202323 minutes, 48 seconds
Episode Artwork

Bobby Chinn on the secrets to health and happiness

In the second episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews chef, TV personality and writer Bobby Chinn. Born to Egyptian and Chinese parents in New Zealand, and raised in Egypt and the UK, Chinn worked on Wall Street before deciding to become a chef. Chinn launched his culinary career in San Francisco before opening a restaurant in Vietnam to global acclaim. Since then, he has gone on to conquer the world of television, where the globe-trotting celebrity chef serves as a judge on Top Chef Middle East. However, he remains committed to sustainability and philanthropy, recognised for three years as a tourism ambassador for Vietnam in Europe and, since 2012, a WWF Ambassador for Sustainable Seafood and Coral Triangle Awareness. Chinn is, whether he admits it or not, also a published author, having written books on his adventures with Vietnamese food centred on authenticity. During this episode of Books of My Life, Chinn discusses his favourite stories, the life of Vincent Van Gogh, ayurvedic diets and everything in-between.
7/12/202322 minutes, 10 seconds
Episode Artwork

Jeffrey Archer on the art of storytelling and the craft of writing

In the first episode of Books of My Life season two, host Hareth Al Bustani interviews best-selling British author Jeffrey Archer. Starting with the blockbuster hit Kane and Abel in 1979, Archer has gone on to sell more than 275 million books. But there’s a lot more to him than that. Once a member of parliament, he rose to the heights of deputy chairman of the Conservatives and was the party's London mayoral candidate in 1999, only to resign after being embroiled in a perjury scandal that saw him sentenced to four years in jail. Following his stint behind bars, his prison diaries achieved great success, making him the only author to have had best-selling titles across fiction, non-fiction and short stories.
7/5/202324 minutes, 30 seconds