ITV has revealed that the 10-strong selection of titles for "The Zoe Ball Book Club" will include six debuts and span epic love stories and life-affirming memoirs to historical crime and chilling ghost stories.
The books hail from a broad range of publishers, including indies Oneworld and Bloomsbury, as well as from major players Penguin Random House, Hachette and Pan Macmillan.
The book club selection has been curated by co-founder of Cactus TV Amanda Ross, who was behind the original Richard & Judy TV Book Club, with advice from an expert panel. The format for the show, airing from 17th June (ITV, 8.30am), will see Ball joined by celebrity guests for 10 consecutive weeks to discuss the books, while authors will tell the story of their books in a film.
Ross' selection comprises six debuts: Adam Kay's junior doctor diaries This is Going to Hurt (Picador), "Gavin and Stacy" creator Ruth Jones' novel about an affair, Never Greener (Transworld), former bookseller Laura Purcell's gothic chiller The Silent Companions (Bloomsbury's new literary crime imprint Raven Books), boxer-turner-barrister Tony Kent's debut novel Killer Intent (Elliot & Thompson), Sally Magnusson's novel of 17th-century Iceland A Sealwoman's Gift (Two Roads) and Will Dean's atmospheric Scandi noir Dark Pines (Oneworld).
Also on the list is Maggie O'Farrell's memoir I Am, I Am, I Am (Tinder Press), about a series of true near-death experiences, Mike Gayle's "life-affirming bromance" The Man I Think I Know (Hodder), Rowan Colman's The Summer of Impossible Things (Ebury), asking how far would you go to save the person you love, and historical crime set in 1920s India from Abir Mukherjee, A Necessary Evil (Vintage).
The TV book club is being supported by major retailers including Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys, Waterstones, Foyles and WH Smith, with sponsor Specsavers helping 3,000 libraries across the UK promote the titles, which will also be available via Amazon and in over 300 independent bookshops.
Ball said of the "wide-ranging" selection: “I adore reading so I’m beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a book club back to TV. I’m so excited to read all the brilliant titles on our list, and can’t wait to chat about each and every one of them with my wonderful guests and hear what viewers across the country think too – we’ll have a wide range of books that should hopefully encourage everyone to try something new. Thanks to our esteemed panel we can be sure they are splendid reads.”
Ross said: “Zoe is the perfect ambassador for books and reading. I’ve wanted to do another national book club for some time but needed the right champion, and Zoe couldn’t be better. I can’t wait to hear what everyone thinks of the books, we are confident they are all highly entertaining.”
Dame Mary Perkins, co-founder of Specsavers, added: “There is an obvious link between reading and good eyesight, but everyone should be able to enjoy books, so I am delighted that Specsavers is supporting this fantastic return of the TV Book Club. The first selection of books looks great – truly something for everyone. And being able to watch well known faces discuss them on TV should make them really accessible and encourage even more people to enjoy reading. I can’t wait to get started on these books.”
Publishers were invited to submit up to four mass market paperback titles via the book club’s website (cactustvbookclub.co.uk) in March. Books had to be published in the UK in 2018 (from January to early August), but could be of any genre - fiction or narrative non-fiction, adult or crossover - either by new or established authors.
The Bookseller first revealed the TV Book Club was in the works in March.