Tanya Reynolds: ‘it was the most astonishing thing I’d ever read’

This week’s Bookshelfie podcast episode is an acting masterclass as Vick sits down with Tanya Reynolds, star of Sex Education, Emma, and I Hate You. Tanya dropped by to chat about her love of stories; whether it be the tale of a teenage girl figuring out puberty, the lifelong friendship between two women in 1950s Naples, or a classic Gothic novel by Emily Brontë.

Tanya discusses how reading helps ease her anxieties, the way the books she read as a teen informed her sense of humour, and how being an introvert is her superpower.

Check out the full episode here.

Angus, thongs and full-frontal snogging

Brilliantly funny, teenage angst author Louise Rennison’s first book about the confessions of crazy but lovable Georgia Nicolson. There are…

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“It was like a warm hug. I found it just so comforting. I found Georgia and her mates were my mates and it was just it was really nice to read about that transition period between reading books that felt too young, and also not quite ready to go into like the Brontës. It was this period of what literature is there for a 12 year old girl who likes to read, and it was that and it was perfect. And it was just great to read how it’s actually totally normal to feel weird about your body. I just found them hilarious and I loved them.”

Wuthering Heights

Wuthering Heights is the tale of two families both joined and riven by love and hate. Cathy is a beautiful and…

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“It was the first and actually only book that I have ever read more than once, I think I’ve read it, maybe three or four times… It just completely ignited something in me, it was the most astonishing thing I’d ever read. I think it was because it was properly moving on from that phase of reading kind of young adult fiction, which is kind of all I’d been reading up to that point. And then reading that was like, whoa, it was a whole new world of literature and it really ignited a passion for Gothic literature.”

My Brilliant Friend

The opening novel of Ferrante’s acclaimed Neapolitan Quartet, My Brilliant Friend charts two best friends’ journey into adulthood in post-war Italy with…

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“A friend of mine recommended these books. And they were just at the time, particularly just exactly what I needed, I feel like sometimes books come into your life at the right moments, and they are just medicine. And this was just one of those things, it was it was a huge part of my recovery from not a great moment in my 20s. And there was a big part of what was so comforting and exciting about reading them was reading so explicitly about Naples, because my dad is Italian.”


Deeply researched and thoroughly eye-opening, Cain’s bestselling work on the power of introverts explores the challenges they face in the…

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” It was the first time I’d read something that was like, ‘Do you know what it’s this world is catered to extroverted people?’ But there is so much power and strength in being an introvert. And here are all the reasons why actually, being an introvert is, in certain cases, preferable. And here are all of the strengths that typically introverted people have, because of the fact that they’re introverted.”

Everyone In This Room Will Someday Be Dead

Gilda cannot stop thinking about death. Desperate for relief from her anxious mind and alienated from her repressive family, she…

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“Not only is it so funny, and so brilliantly written, it was so relatable in so many ways. I mean, mostly because it was actually the first time that I’d read someone having these kinds of intrusive fears about death and health anxiety in a way that I’ve just not really. I honestly haven’t read anything like it. And it was amazing, you know, when you read something, and you’re like, Oh, my God, have you stolen this from me? Yeah, I think that in my head, it honestly felt like that.”

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The Women's Prize Podcast

Tune into host Vick Hope and a line-up of incredible guests on our weekly podcast full of unmissable book recommendations.