The Amazon Book Review Podcast: Can't-miss book club picks, and an interview with Robert Macfarlane

Jon Foro on July 05, 2019


What makes a good book club book? It depends on the book club. Every one comes with a different set of tastes and expectations, so finding something that everyone will agree to read (or at least pretend to read) can seem like an insurmountable task. 

The Amazon Books editors are no different, so in this episode of the podcast, Adrian, Sarah, and Seira sit down to talk about what makes a good book club book, and share some of their own favorites, whether or not they've actually read them in a book club context.

We also talk to Robert Macfarlane (right), author of Underland, a selection for both our best books of June and the best books of 2019 so far. Macfarlane opens his book with this sentence: "The way into the underland is through the riven trunk of an old ash tree." From there, Underland explores not only the physical world beneath our feet—from catacombs to caves to nuclear waste facilities to the land underneath Greenland shrinking ice cap—but also the realm of "deep time," a parallel expanse of past and future almost unimaginable to human intellect, but also irresistible to contemplate. This is a powerful, original book, and Macfarlane was a delight to talk to. 

Find more author interviews and book-talk in our podcast archive, and you can subscribe via iTunes or TuneIn. Have a topic you'd like to hear us talk about? Shoot us an email at bookpod (at)

Show highlights:

What makes a good book club book? (1:22)

Sarah on Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah (2:31)

Adrian on Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield (5:09)

Seira on Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (6:31) 

Seira on Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company That Addicted America by Beth Lacey (8:33) 

Adrian on The Feather Thief: Beauty, Obsession, and the Natural History Heist of the Century by Kirk Wallace Johnson (9:50) 

Sarah on The Summer I Met Jack by Michelle Gable (11:47)

Interview with Robert Macfarlane (17:50)

"Ice was melting everywhere fast. And I just had this sense of being in this huge world of ice, this power that exceeds ours so much. And yet we encompassed it--it was vulnerable to us. I abseiled down into what's called a moulin, this vertical meltwater shaft in a big, remote glacier hundreds of miles from anywhere. A blue tube, humming with life and with strangeness. It was like just dropping into another planet altogether. And that happens again and again in the underworld. You cross the threshold of the Earth, and you're in another planet." 

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