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BBC Radio 2 Book Club

Book of the Month

Pony by R.J. Palacio

When Silas Bird wakes in the dead of night, he watches powerlessly as three strangers take his father away. Silas is left shaken, scared and alone, except for the presence of his companion, Mittenwool...who happens to be a ghost. But then a mysterious pony shows up at his door, and Silas knows what he has to do. So begins a perilous journey to find his father - a journey that will connect him with his past, his future, and the unknowable world around him.

"From the moment Silas Bird's cherished and admired Pa is whisked away in the dead of night by three sinister men from a notorious counterfeiting ring, I was hooked and couldn't put this novel down. Motherless, lightning-struck Silas worships his Pa, a brilliant, educated man with a scientific mind. R.J. Palacio manages to combine the innovations of photography during the 19th century, with American spiritualism and a gripping expedition which teams up Silas, his lifelong companion Mittenwool (who happens to be a ghost) and the eponymous Pony, a white-faced Arabian stallion. Palacio does a superb job of developing nuanced relationships, whether it's the father-son bond, Silas's complex relationship with Mittenwool, his connection with Pony or the extraordinary brotherhood Desi and Jack share. Palacio's notes about her research also provide some fascinating insights. A wonderful read with plenty for discussion, including what Indigenous peoples have endured (a very timely issue)." Library Reviewer

Find out more about the book at or buy through The Reading Agency's Bookshop to support us and independent bookshops.


R.J. Palacio

The Book Club is now part of Steve Wright In The Afternoon, where Steve will interview the chosen authors each month, and also have brilliant guest stars on the show to talk about the books too.

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Steve has said about the Book Club: "Books have boomed in lockdown, with thousands of people rediscovering the joy of reading, so it's great news that the Radio 2 Book Club will move to afternoons where it will get the full bells and whistles Big Show treatment!"

The Reading Agency, along with a team of librarians across the UK, help the BBC to choose the Book Club titles each month. Hundreds of the best brand-new fiction titles are submitted to us each year and are then read by our expert library readers, who select their favourites. The best books are shared with the BBC, and they choose the final picks for the Book Club.

Find out more about the librarians, and why they love being part of the Book Club.

About The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency is a UK-wide charity using the proven power of reading to tackle life's big challenges of social mobility, mental health and wellbeing and loneliness. Every year the organisation reaches 1.8 million people across the UK with the support of 13,817 partner organisations, ensuring that everyone is reading their way to a better life.

Find out about The Reading Agency's programmes here