Mariella uncovers surprising stories from the world’s best loved personalities as they talk her through their favourite books.
After admiring the many animal artefacts dotted around Dougie’s flat – from a saber-toothed tiger’s skull to glass cases filled with extinct insects - he and Mariella settle down to chat about the McFly star’s favourite books of all time.
A whopping three tales are dedicated to one of his biggest interests in life: dinosaurs! Whilst discussing Michael Crichton’s 1990’s fictional classic “Jurassic Park”, his most loved non-fiction book “The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs” by Stephen Brusatte, and the comical children’s booked he penned with his band mate “The Dinosaur that Pooped a Planet”, Dougie explains how this niche passion extends from a fascination and respect for the wonders of the natural world.
Upon being asked what sparked his interest, he recalls being taken by his Mum to the Natural History Museum at the age of 3 and being blown away. They chat more about his childhood, with Dougie revealing the pain that came with his father leaving one day without a trace, and the on-going
06/06/2019 • 43 minutes 31 seconds
After winding through the sunny streets of Bristol to the O2, Mariella finds NAO fresh from her sound check in a cosy, dark corner of the venue’s bar. As the pair discuss NAO’s female-focused book choices, they uncover interesting themes from her life.
Her astonishing personal story is slowly explored, with NAO discussing her journey from growing up sharing a bed with her siblings, to getting a prestigious scholarship to the Guildhall, becoming a SoundCloud sensation, to starting her own record label - and now having 1 track alone with over 34 million streams on Spotify and a sell out European tour coming to an end.
Many of NAO’s book choices focus on histories which remain untold by GCSE syllabuses, from the rule of Chairman Mao in China (Wild Swans by Jung Chang) to the slave trade of Ghana (Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi), often homing in on the inter-generational female narratives that weave through these stories in particular.
She talks about the effects of not seeing darker skinned
23/05/2019 • 36 minutes 30 seconds
After escaping from the rain in Brian’s tree house hotel, Mariella sets out to discover the books that have shaped the life and brain of Britain’s favourite physicist.
As a precursor to listing his choices, Brian explains the important link between the arts and the sciences, explaining how he has always combined the two fields when searching for the answers to the big questions that form the basis of his work: ‘why are we here?, what’s the meaning of life?, how did it all begin?’
This sentiment is visible in the books that Brian discusses: from the creative and futuristic tale ‘Spacecraft 2000 to 2100 AD’ by Stewart Crawley that he first read as a child, to Hofstader’s seminal ‘Godel, Escher and Bach’ which explores how the life works of a mathematician, an artist and a composer combine to produce richer understanding of human existence.
Mariella dives into the genius working of Brian’s mind (or at least attempts to), discussing his book choices ‘Cosmos’ by Carl Sagan and ‘General
09/05/2019 • 39 minutes 42 seconds
Travelling by train to Somerset, Mariella visits Carlos Acosta in his secluded fairy tale home. Managing to sneak away from his doting children, the pair settle down to discuss his books to live by.
From the first book he ever read at 25 years old (following a tough childhood in Havana that excluded reading) to the books he himself has gone on to author, Carlos details his extraordinary life story and the role that reading has played throughout it.
Through his choices learn how his tough, truck driving father decided Carlos was to take up ballet, sending him away to a boarding school where he misbehaved. Discover how he used reading and writing as therapy upon first moving to London to join the Royal Ballet, going on to pen an autobiography and novel. Hear the story of how he met and pursued his now wife, and the romantic tale that she gifted him once they married, and also unearth the book he’d now recommend to anyone starting a career like his.
Interestingly, the pair detect a los
25/04/2019 • 34 minutes 29 seconds
Oscar winning star Cate Blanchett invites Mariella to her home in the South Downs to peruse her bookshelves.
After being greeted at the door by Doug the Pug, the pair settle down to discuss Cate’s most loved books, discovering the role they’ve played throughout her life – whether as part of her Australian childhood or influencing her performances on stage and screen.
In her picture book choice you’ll meet the Bunyip – a mythological creature whose story she loved so much she now reads it to her children. Then there’s the Russian magic realist classic that she found super sexy, and the brutal love story she sees as an ode to her homeland.
Mariella and Cate find reoccurring themes; from gender politics to sexual harassment, cruelty within love, romance and the evolution of feminism. The pair move on to discuss the #MeToo movement, how to manage success as a woman and the perils of social media when it comes to sexual abuse claims.
Their witty and thought-provoking chat dives deep
11/04/2019 • 38 minutes 9 seconds
Join Mariella as she visits the rural retreat of Dominic West, star of The Wire and Les Misérables, to unveil his secret hopes and fears through the books he loves.
You’ll discover his favourite story to read his children, the travel classic that sent him on his way and the surprising autobiography he highly rates. Stick around and you’ll even witness him reading aloud his most treasured graphic erotic poetry.
Mariella learns how these books have inspired and guided him throughout his life - to connect with his Irish roots, to fear nationalism, and even learn how to persuade a chimp to let go of a penis! Along the way you’ll also hear why libraries are the sexiest places on earth and discover the common themes underlying Dominic’s choices – sex and death. Perhaps you’ll join them in concluding that intensive therapy is needed!
Dominic’s book choices: The book that…
… He reads to his children: ‘Big Ugly Monster and Little Stone Rabbit’ by Christopher Wormell, 2004
… He remembers r