BookBirds: a new podcast with Ciara Geraghty and Caroline Grace Cassidy

Two writers and friends re-read books they loved then talk about them – simple as that

BookBirds is a new podcast created by writers and friends, Ciara Geraghty and Caroline Grace Cassidy.

BookBirds is a new podcast created by writers and friends, Ciara Geraghty and Caroline Grace Cassidy.

 

What’s better than reading a good book? Re-reading it of course. Or listening to a podcast where two writers have done all the work for you.

BookBirds is a new podcast created by writers and friends, Ciara Geraghty and Caroline Grace Cassidy. The concept is simple. They re-read books they loved, then talk about them. Essentially, the idea was born of the pandemic. The brainchild of Covid-19 and its on-again-off-again partner, Lockdown.

Distraction was necessary. The women found themselves reading. Not just reading, but re-reading. The pair wanted to read books that were published in the long ago, when the idea of a global pandemic seemed like the far-fetched plot of some sci-fi pulp fiction series. Books that they adored, back in the day. Books that changed them, in some small but fundamental way. Books that they read slowly to delay the inevitable arrival at the last page.

A curious thing happens when you re-read a novel you loved in the past. Something has changed. The stories are the same, the characters haven’t aged a day. Then you realise what it is. It’s you. The reader. You have moved on.

This was evident when Geraghty and Grace-Cassidy re-read City Girl, Patrica Scanlan’s debut novel published 30 years ago in 1990. Back then, the novel was the first of its kind. It was contemporary. The main protagonists were women. Two of them were from Dublin, one was even from the northside! Issues were raised that, back then, were still best left under the carpet where they had been swept long before, where they had lain, in the dark. Issues like domestic violence. Abortion. Single motherhood. Alcoholism. Homosexuality. Sexism. Misogyny.

Re-reading it all these years later, Geraghty and Grace-Cassidy realised that the novel was much more than a great story about three young Irish women. It was a feminist novel. Hell, it was a feminist manifesto. There was much to talk about and they decided to talk about it in a podcast. Book Birds was born.

Podcasts are the new Netflix. No matter how obscure the subject matter you are interested in, you will find a podcast about it. You can listen to them anywhere; driving in the car, lying in the bath, kicking through autumn leaves on your 5km radius walk, sitting in your hastily-assembled home office at lunchtime where there are no longer any colleagues to compare notes with by the water-cooler.

The creators of Book Birds liken it to a book club. Albeit one where the book is actually discussed. The planning and production of the podcast has provided a welcome distraction from the current woes of this weary world. They are currently reading the next novel that will feature on the podcast. The Teahouse on Mulberry Street, the debut novel by Belfast writer (and poet and painter), Sharon Owens, published in 2003. For anyone who hasn’t read it, treat yourselves. It’s like the last chocolate eclair on a Lazy Susan in a tiny cafe tucked down a side road that has managed to escape gentrification. The waitress places the eclair gently on a china plate and says she has kept it just for you.

Or you could just listen to the podcast. Episode two will air at the end of November. Subscribe at Acast, Spotify, iTunes. Or, you know, wherever you get your podcasts.

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