What is Books + Bits?

It’s a newsletter of books, culture reccs and essays. It covers books, pods, tv, movies, theatre, journalism, memes and more - and every other week I also send out a list of second-hand finds and little life-enhancers from independent brands. Books + Bits was born out of the urge to have one place to bring together all my work and all the things I find interesting or joyful - be that second-hand shopping or a great documentary - rather than dunking them haphazardly on Instagram Stories. Basically: avoid cultural overload and come to me for your curation.

Who are you?

I’m a journalist and broadcaster, who has written for The Sunday Times (where I used to be an editor on the Style mag) The Guardian, ELLE, Vogue, Grazia, The Cut and GQ. I have produced and hosted multiple no.1 podcasts including: the weekly culture show, The High Low; Doing It Right, a podcast about modern life’s anxieties and trends; and Book Chat, a monthly books podcast which celebrates re-reading books and books that aren’t brand new. I’ve also made several audio documentaries for The BBC - about Britney Spears and the history of reality TV - and I host a podcast about long-term missing people, The Missing, which was nominated for a British Podcast Award.

Much of my professional life is spent interviewing people - in print, via audio, or on stage - and, increasingly, talking about books. I was a judge on the 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction and I’ve also published two books - a 2020 essay collection, How Do We Know We’re Doing It Right? which was a Sunday Times bestseller and a 2022 anthology, What Writers Read: 35 Writers On Their Favourite Book, which I edited in aid of The National Literacy Trust.

When will I receive a newsletter?

Subscribers will receive a meaty newsletter of reccs every other Friday. Should you so wish to pay for a subscription, at £5 a month, or £50 a year, you will also receive editions of The List (my curation of hard scoured for second-hand finds and little life-enhancers) every interim Friday and a monthly edition of What Should I Read Next? where I play human algorithm to your reader queries and suggest your next reads, based on a book you loved. So that’s two free newsletters a month for regular subscribers and five for paying subscribers. I plan to add to this offering, in due course.

The bulk of this newsletter though, will remain free. Not just £ free but free of ads and sponsored content. I don’t share these reccs because someone asked me to, or because they are my friends. Occasionally they will be things made by my friends, because I have creative friends who make great things, but trust me when I say: if they make something shit, or expensive, it ain’t getting in my box.

This routine may well change, as I settle into my role as a Substacker and get to you know you lot, my readers, and what you like/ don’t like/ want more of.

What do I do if I can’t afford a paid subscription?

Please e-mail me and I will comp you one, no questions asked.

Subscribe to Books + Bits

A Pandora's Box of culture reccs and little life-enhancers, by Pandora Sykes.


Pandora Sykes 

I'm a journalist and broadcaster based in London. Find out more about my work at pandorasykes.com