Apr 22

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Reading by mood. Connecting with authors. 10% Happier by Dan Harris and The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go.

In the Mood… for Reading

Three Hares Publishing in the UK has started publishing books by mood, using what they’re calling a “moodbar,” indicating what sort of state of mind you can expect from a book. It’s a cool idea, and there are several books about reading this way, including The Novel Cure, and 1001 Books for Every Mood.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:46)

World War Z: The Complete Edition, Max Brooks World War Z: The Complete Edition by Max Brooks, narrated by a full, all-star cast, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

Connecting Beyond the Page (08:19)

Just back from Booktopia, we realize the importance of authors and author events, especially those that feature the author discussing his or her book, rather than just reading. That sort of author experience allows readers to connect with books through the writer.

Every author at Booktopia did a wonderful job of sharing info about their book, whetting appetites for those who hadn’t read the book yet, and even causing those who had read to want to re-read. As always, we recorded the Celebration of Authors, so you’ll get to hear the authors speak.

In the meantime, here’s your assignment for 2014: try to attend an author event, even if it means driving out of your way to do so. We’d love to hear about your event experiences, especially if you haven’t been to one before.

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (22:01)

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10% Happier by Dan Harris is the funny, accessible story of his journey to find balance in his life after an on-air panic attack while reading the news on Good Morning America. It’s a skeptic’s guide to meditation, that I’m finding incredibly real and honest.

Ann recommends The Steady Running of the Hour by Justin Go, one of our Booktopia Boulder authors. It’s the story that moves between World War I, early attempts at summiting Everest, and today, where a man will inherit a fortune if he can prove his connection a WWI soldier who died on Everest.

Apr 15

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BookCon in NY. Negative reviews for prize-winning books. Books! by Murray McCain, and Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead.

A Book Trade Show for Everyone

Ellen asked about book trade shows and if they are ever open to “regular” readers. BookCon is a new event that has grown out of Book Expo America, the largest book trade show in the U.S. It’s open to everyone and ticket prices are very reasonable. There will be authors signing, publishers exhibiting, along with panels about books.

As far as we know, this is the only trade show that now has a consumer component. Of course there are many book festivals around the country, including in LA, DC, and Boston. The Newburyport (MA) Literary Festival is coming up very soon!

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (09:18)

Flash Boys, Michael LewisFlash Boys by Michael Lewis, narrated by Dylan Baker, is Ann’s pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

Poor Donna Tartt (15:12)

Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, which is wonderful news, but might actually lead to the book receiving more negative reviews from readers. A recent academic paper called The Paradox of Publicity used reviews from Goodreads to analyze 64 books that either won or were shortlisted for major prizes. They also looked at when books were added to TBR piles, which indicates whether a book was read because of a prize, or not. Whether it’s because of the “snob factor,” or a perceived backlash, the authors of the paper can point to a marked decrease in review ratings.

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (31:11)

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While browsing for some books for my kids, I came upon Books! by Murray McCain, with art by John Alcorn. Originally published in 1962 and recently re-released, this is a vibrant and exuberant look at what books are, what they do, and how great they can be.

Ann loved, loved, loved Maggie Shipstead’s new book Astonish Me, even more than she loved Maggie’s first book Seating Arrangements. It’s set in the ballet world, but even if you are not interested in ballet, do not miss this wonderful novel.

Apr 08

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This week, we are pleased to present the final three author talks from Booktopia Petoskey:

lighthouse   supremes   funeral

 

Apr 01

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Ann is in mourning. Studying poetry for National Poetry Month. Plus, new memoirs from Gail Caldwell and Kevin Brockmeier.

Ann is in Mourning

Ann is devastated by the loss of the Readmill e-book app. Though she still prefers paper books, when she did read electronically she much preferred using Readmill. She especially loved that books synced across all devices no matter where you bought the e-books. She also loved the social and statistic features, many of which are available on other apps, but none seem to have all of the features in one app. 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (10:04)

Bear: A Novel, Claire CameronThe Bear by Claire Cameron, narrated by Cassandra Morris, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

A Free Ivy League Education in Poetry (14:28)

April is National Poetry Month, and every year, Ann and I try to cultivate our appreciation of poetry. We often fail, but there are a couple ways you can try to increase your knowledge, one you can do now, and one you do this fall. Starting September 6, Coursera will once again be offering its Modern & Contemporary American Poetry, or ModPo, online course.

If you don’t want to wait until the fall, you can view videos of all of the lectures from a a Yale Modern Poetry Course via Open Yale Courses. There are  25 lectures and a final exam. Ivy League courses without the Ivy League cost!

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (24:37)

New Life No Instructions      A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip

Gail Caldwell’s New Life, No Instructions is a wonderful look at period of Gail’s life that saw several changes including a new puppy, and an operation that eliminated her lifelong limp and her recent pain while walking.

Ann recommends (to all of you, but mostly to me) A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip, Kevin Brockmeier’s memoir of seventh grade. It’s a memoir that reads like a novel, and it’s for anyone who had those moments of adolescent awkwardness that often occurred in seventh grade.

Mar 25

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Fountain pens, fandom, Sous Chef and The Cold Song …

More questions from the inbox

The Tournament of Books is underway and The People in the Trees is quite the spoiler! I’m watching every round, rooting for Hanya Yanigaraha’s novel which beat Life After Life in round one and trounced The Goldfinch in the quarter-final round. As an addendum to this podcast, which was recorded on March 24th, The People in the Trees has gone on to beat Philip Meyer’s The Son. Please excuse my glee.

After the gloating, we answer two questions:

Andrea in Louisville, KY asks about “rebound books,” the book that you pick up after reading something that you really loved.  We’ve referred to these as “palate cleansers” in the past, and it’s a problem we have often. When you love a book, often the next book just can’t measure up, no matter how wonderful it may be. To get out of these slumps, we watch TV, but we also like genre fiction, thrillers, and things that are “known entities.”

Michelle from Kentucky refers to a recent podcast where I described my love for fountain pens, and she wants the details.  My favorite fountain pen is the Twsbi Diamond 580 and I buy them either direct or from Goulet Pens. And Michelle didn’t ask, but I know that we’ll get emails, so I’ll also share my favorite notebooks (the Rhodia Web Notebook in Dot Grid) to use with my fountain pens. [note: we don't get any compensation from those links, though if Twsbi or Goulet Pens wants to sponsor the podcast, give us a shout!].

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (12:54)

We Have Always Lived in the Castle   We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson, narrated by Bernadette Dunne, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

 

The power of fan-tastic readers (16:33)

We’ve been thinking about “fandom” and how people who are diehard supporters of a book, tv show or movie seem to go to all lengths to demonstrate their love for that property.

This article, The Strongest Brand in Publishing is… by David Vinjamuri, got our attention. A recent study looked at authors and the power of an author’s brand on book sales. They found that, overall, sales of books depended on how loyal the readers for that author were. Awards and reviews were less important. And in fact, they found that among authors studied, the number one brand was Jack Reacher — the main character in the series of books written by Lee Child. This isn’t based on sales, but instead on fan loyalty. Even though more book shoppers are aware of Stephen King and John Grisham, more people list Lee Child as their favorite.

In this segment, we also talk about the fact that fans of movies and TV shows often have identifiable names (Trekkies, Who-vians), but few book properties have such talked about fandoms.  It’s very difficult to demonstrate to the wider world that you’re the fan of a book. We’ll be watching to see what happens with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander when that beloved series comes to Starz this summer. That series has legions of fans, but it will be interesting to see if they demonstrate their love for the book outwardly with costumes, kilts and t-shirts.

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (30:46)

 

Sous Chef   Cold Song

 

Michael talks about Sous Chef by  Michael Gibney, which is written in the second person in a style that makes you feel like you’re right in the kitchen alongside the author. It’s nearly 24 hours in the life of a sous chef, what it’s like to feed 400 people in a night, and the stress that the chef is under. Gibney has an MFA in Creative Nonfiction, and the style works wonderfully for a book like this.

The Cold Song by Linn Ullmann is the first book in translation that I’ve read this year. Translated from the Norwegian by Barbara J. Haveland, The Cold Song is story of a family, and a family that is not particularly happy. At the center of the novel is the disappearance of the nanny and a luxe vacation home in a village in Norway. This book will be published on April 8th.

Mar 18

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Updates on previous topics. Geek Love turns 25. Recommendations for Apple Tree Yard and A Life in Books.

A Few Updates on Previous Topics

Last week, we gave Joe from Buffalo a few ideas of authors to read, considering he loves John Grisham and Dan Brown. BOTNS’ librarian friend Carol rightly pointed out that we forgot to mention Steve Berry, whose first book, The Amber Room, is one that Ann loved.

Following up on the discussion Melissa and I had about books that don’t work so well in e-form, Ann recently found out about Wink Books, a site dedicated to “Remarkable Books that Belong on Paper.” There’s a new one every weekday.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:28)

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne   20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne, narrated by James Frain, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

Celebrating a Dark Modern Classic (07:50)Geek Love

It’s hard to believe that it’s been twenty-five years since Geek Love by Katherine Dunn was published. It’s a book that took the publishing and bookselling world by storm. Its darkness was something that hadn’t really been seen in books before then. A recent article on Wired.com charts the novel’s history and it’s lasting effect on pop culture, including the works of Karen Russell who said of picking up the book for the first time, “I felt electrocuted when I read that first page. I stood there in the bookstore and my jaw came unhinged.”

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (15:29)

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Ann recommends Apple Tree Yard by Louise Doughty, the story of a scientist named Louise Carmichael, who makes a very bad decision that could doom her legal trial. This psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Tana French.

The main character of Warren Lehrer’s A Life in Books is Bleu Mobley, an incarcerated author who is finally telling his life story, complete with the covers, descriptions, and excerpts of all 101 of his books. I’m only a third of the way through this book and I’ve already encountered several of Mobley’s books that I wish were real, so that I could read them.

Mar 11

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 A few highlights of books coming in August and September 2014, recommendations for fans of Grisham and Dan Brown, book subscription services, and two books we can’t wait for you to read.

Big thanks to Melissa Klug for pitching in and hosting last week!

 

Ann’s turn to tease

As you know from last week, we’re just back from Sales Conference where we heard about books that will be published in Fall 2014. There were so many great books, I found it very difficult to limit my list, so here are just a few of the books that I am very excited for you to read.

 

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (09:19)

A Burnable Book  A Burnable Book by Bruce Holsinger, narrated by Simon Vance, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

Subscriptions and Slumps (12:37)

We answer two questions from our Q&A submissions.

Joe from Buffalo is in a reading slump, and wants recommendation for books that are similar to Dan Brown or John Grisham. Oh, do we have recommendations!

Another way to get out of a reading slump could be a bookstore subscription service. Barbara from Wyoming emailed in to ask about them. Since Barbara does not have a local bookstore, she asked how one might find a bookstore subscription club.

Many stores have these clubs, where you sign up for a period of time and receive a book in the mail every month or every quarter. Some are book only, some are specifically author signed first editions, and some come packaged with bonus items. Our first recommendation would be to do some sleuthing online to find a bookstore with recommendations that appeal to your tastes. Many stores have these clubs, and many list their previous selections on their websites. A few that we mentioned in this episode (and be aware that there are many, many more but we could not name them all):

 

There are many others out there, so have fun exploring!

Two books we can’t wait for you to read: (22:46)

 

Sixth Extinction   Spinning Heart

Michael’s recommendation this week is The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Colbert, the story of how we are in “the sixth extinction,” where more and more plants and animals are disappearing permanently from our planet. Each chapter focuses on a different animal, some who have disappeared and why, and in later chapters, animals that are in the process of disappearing. It’s an alarming book which paints an amazing picture of where we are and what we can and can’t do.

The Spinning Heart by Donal Ryan is my pick this week. It was longlisted for the Booker Prize and had not been published in the US at that time, but now it is available here. It’s a novel set in Ireland which looks at a small Irish town and the economic despair that happens when a major employer closes and the owner takes off with his employee’s retirement funds. It’s told in a unique and beautiful style, through 21 different voices of people in the town, and with each person’s story you get more and more of the complete picture.

 

Mar 04

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Sales conference recap. E-books vs. e-books. Recommendations for Provenance by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo, and FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics by Simon Olive and Robbi Rodriguez.

Many thanks to BOTNS friend Melissa Klug for filling in while Ann is sick with the head cold from hell.
The sound quality of this episode is not up to our usual standards because it was recorded over the phone. There are a few places where the sound drops out for a moment, and I seem to have a slight echo throughout the podcast, but I hope it won’t interfere with your enjoyment of the episode!

Sales Conference Recap

Ann and I are both just back from sales conference, and it was a particularly wonderful week, where we heard about books coming out September – February. We also got to hear Carl Hiaasen, Jodi Picoult (her new book, Leaving Time, is wonderful), Nicholas Kristof, and Sheryl WuDunn speak. There are so many wonderful books coming this Fall/Winter, I couldn’t possibly mention them all, and I especially didn’t want to tease to books that aren’t coming out for nearly a year. So, a few books I’m particularly looking forward to are:

  • Neil Patrick Harris’ Autobiography (watch for a big title and cover announcement by mid-May)
  • Horrorstör, by Grady Hendrix, a haunted house story set in an IKEA-like megastore.
  • The Life We Bury, by Allen Eskins, a stunning debut mystery set in Minnesota.
  • Make It Ahead, a new Barefoot Contessa cookbook from Ina Garten

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (07:52)

Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow Washington by Ron Chernow, read by Scott Brick, is Melissa’s pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

e-books vs. E-books (10:42)S interior

In this case, the “E”s refer to electronic books, and what we’re calling enhanced physical books. There are many ways to consume a book these days: physical, electronic, and audio, and more and more publishers are using each form to its fullest extent. S. by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst is a physical book with a conversation between two people written in the margins, along with physical maps, notes, and letters that have been inserted between the pages for the reader to discover. Night Film by Marisha Pessl includes many images that add much to the spooky feeling of the book. It seems that both of these would lose something in the translation to audiobook. However, audiobooks can add so many layers of their own, with voices, multiple narrators, and/or music as was done with the audio of Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. Riverhead Books created a very special, limited, and expensive edition of Chang-rae Lee’s On Such a Full Sea, with a three-dimensional slipcase. This video shows you how it was made:

And finally, on the lower end of the price spectrum are special editions of books done simply with nicer cover stock, deckle edges, french flaps, and other distinctive physical elements. Melissa mentions the Penguin Classics Deluxe edition of We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson.

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (20:46)

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Melissa recommends Provenance:How a Con Man and a Forger Rewrote the History of Modern Art by Laney Salisbury and Aly Sujo. It’s a book that she’s had on the shelf for some time. She found it completely fascinating and was sucked in, despite the fact that she rarely reads non-fiction, and has no particular interest in the art world.

In a shocking move, I recommend a graphic novel: FBP: Federal Bureau of Physics by Simon Oliver and Robbi Rodriguez. Imagine a world where physics doesn’t always follow the rules. Wormholes appear at random. Time moves more slowly in some places. A localized gravity failure leads to the creation of a bubble universe. It’s a fun, complex, political graphic novel, perfect for fans of the TV show Fringe.

Feb 25

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This week, we’re pleased to bring you the Booktopia Petoskey talks from Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator’s Wife, Jamie Ford, author of Songs of Willow Frost, and Mary Doria Russell, author of Doc.

aviator     willow     doc

 

Feb 18

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The case of the disappearing paperbacks. Books you may be watching soon. Recommendations for Wake by Anna Hope, and Wondrous Beauty by Carol Berkin.

Disappearing Paperbacks?

Tiffani from California wondered if books are ever released in paperback, then the paperback is pulled from sale, and only the hardcover remains in print. We discuss a couple of different scenarios where it may seem that a book was out in paperback, but then is not, but in every case we think there’s a good explanation. As far as we know, publishers don’t ever pull an existing paperback edition and revert to hardcover only in print.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (09:12)

  Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan, read by the author, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week. Kelly is one of our Booktopia Vermont authors.

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 audiobooks, instantly, wherever you are, and the first one is free. Download or stream any book directly to your Apple or Android device. Sign up for a free 30-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook

Books You May Be Watching Soon (11:55)

So many books are getting the movie or telelvision treatment in 2014. We give you a quick rundown of many of them in this episode. The titles below link to Goodreads. The movie or TV indication links to more info about the production.

What book-based movies or TV shows are you most looking forward to?

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (28:23)

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Wake by Anna Hope, is a debut novel that simply blew me away. It’s the story of three women whose lives, in London two years after the end of World War I, intersect in unexpected ways. I found the writing to be beautiful and the story incredibly well-constructed.

Ann has been on a little bit of a history-reading phase lately, and raves about Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Adventures of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte by Carol Berkin. It’s the story of the belle of nineteenth-century Baltimore, who married Napoleon’s younger, slacker brother. Despite Napoleon’s best attempts, Betsy was a strong-willed woman who would not be cast aside easily.

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