Jun 22

An update on the Books on the Nightstand Weekend Retreat, including lodging and rates. We look at the importance (or unimportance?) of  bestsellers lists. Next, we discuss books where the setting is so important it becomes a character in its own right, and we end with two books we can’t wait for you to read.

Retreat Rates and Bestseller Lists

We have officially announced the lodging options and rates for the Books on the Nightstand Weekend Retreat! Be sure to visit the Retreat page on our Goodreads group for all the details. And don’t forget to sign up for the BOTNS Weekend Retreat Email Newsletter to stay up-to-date!
Ann and I discuss the role of bestseller lists for today’s book buying public, and Ann tells us about the history of the book bestseller list. One interesting aspect was British publishing’s reluctance to embrace the concept of bestseller lists. You can read more about that here. The Washington Post recently had an article that featured the Top 10 bestselling books for each decade (from 1910s to 1990s) as pulled from Publishers Weekly. What a fascinating trip down memory lane – with a few very obscure stops along the way!

The City as Character (11:54)

Mrs. Somebody Somebody, a book I recently spoke about, could be said to have the city of Lowell, MA as its main character. Ann and I have come up with a few more books that feature a setting that takes on character status. The one that immediately sprang to mind for me was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a book that is set in Barcelona and which I read before going to that city. I made sure to visit several of the sites mentioned in the book. A comic book series which has a wonderful sense of place is DMZ by Brian Wood, with art by Riccardo Burchielli. Set in the near future, during the second American Civil War, the story follows Matty Roth, a photojournalist, and the only journalist embedded in Manhattan, the demilitarized zone between the two warring armies. Ann tells us about Lauren Belfer’s City of Light, a book that came out 1999 and that Ann has been recommending ever since. The city-as-character here is Buffalo of 1901, whose people are preparing for the Pan-American Exposition and are readying Niagara Falls for hydro-electric power. Lauren Belfer has a new book out called A Fierce Radiance which follows a Life magazine photographer in New York City during the early days of World War II.

Two Books We Can’t Wait for You to Read (22:12)

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Scott Huler, author of Defining the Wind, which I loved, has a new book out. It’s called On the Grid and in it he traces all of the elements of infrastructure (water, electricity, roads, sewage, telephone) outwards from his house in Raleigh, NC. It’s a fascinating read so far, and I’m learning a lot. Ann recommends The Quickening by Michelle Hoover, the story of the friendship between Enidina (or “Eddie”) and Mary, the wives of farmers who live near each other in 1900’s Midwest.

  • Ohh, I love books where the setting’s essentially a character in its own right! Shadow of the Wind is one of my prime examples.

  • Ohh, I love books where the setting’s essentially a character in its own right! Shadow of the Wind is one of my prime examples.

  • I like the bestseller discussion! I guess I’m not completely outside the publishing industry, since I work in a bookstore. It was such an interesting topic, though, that I’m going to weigh in anyway!

    I tend to look at the bestseller list with a feeling of indifference. I like to see what’s on it, and what changes from week to week (it’s set up right across from the register, so I get to study it lots). I also love to look at bestseller lists from the past, because I think they capture a pretty accurate snapshot of what a society was thinking about and interested in at that point in history.

    However, when selecting a book to read, I rarely pick one up from the bestseller shelves. When a book I’ve already read hits the IndieBound bestseller list I get excited, but once a book is there it’s almost like it’s lost its appeal because everyone now knows about it and is reading it. I’d rather find the single copy of the undiscovered novel hidden away toward the bottom of the last shelf of fiction and give that a go!

    I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has to say about bestseller lists, and to the potential episode detailing the responses!

  • I like the bestseller discussion! I guess I’m not completely outside the publishing industry, since I work in a bookstore. It was such an interesting topic, though, that I’m going to weigh in anyway!

    I tend to look at the bestseller list with a feeling of indifference. I like to see what’s on it, and what changes from week to week (it’s set up right across from the register, so I get to study it lots). I also love to look at bestseller lists from the past, because I think they capture a pretty accurate snapshot of what a society was thinking about and interested in at that point in history.

    However, when selecting a book to read, I rarely pick one up from the bestseller shelves. When a book I’ve already read hits the IndieBound bestseller list I get excited, but once a book is there it’s almost like it’s lost its appeal because everyone now knows about it and is reading it. I’d rather find the single copy of the undiscovered novel hidden away toward the bottom of the last shelf of fiction and give that a go!

    I’m looking forward to seeing what everyone else has to say about bestseller lists, and to the potential episode detailing the responses!

  • Callie

    Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but another example of the place as a character is Charleston, SC, in the book South of Broad, by Pat Conroy. The place is described in more detail than most of the people, and by the end I felt like I could get around Charleston pretty easily, even with never having been there.

    I would also include Tara, in Gone With the Wind, which is the only being that Scarlett cares about more than herself.

    • Yes! Charleston is definitely a character in South of Broad. I read it shortly after a driving trip to and from Florida, where we chose a stop in Savannah, GA instead of Charleston — after I read South of Broad, I wished that we had chosen Charleston.

  • Callie

    Haven’t listened to the podcast yet, but another example of the place as a character is Charleston, SC, in the book South of Broad, by Pat Conroy. The place is described in more detail than most of the people, and by the end I felt like I could get around Charleston pretty easily, even with never having been there.

    I would also include Tara, in Gone With the Wind, which is the only being that Scarlett cares about more than herself.

    • Yes! Charleston is definitely a character in South of Broad. I read it shortly after a driving trip to and from Florida, where we chose a stop in Savannah, GA instead of Charleston — after I read South of Broad, I wished that we had chosen Charleston.

  • I’m reviewing The Quickening for [tk] reviews (www.tkreviews.org) next month and am impressed by it so far.

    • Ooh, I’d love to see your review when it’s live. Please come back and post a link!

  • I’m reviewing The Quickening for [tk] reviews (www.tkreviews.org) next month and am impressed by it so far.

    • Ooh, I’d love to see your review when it’s live. Please come back and post a link!

  • Jackie

    Bestsellers lists are always great topics for discussions. Working at Borders, we do not have the NYT bestsellers on display as other stores do. Shortly after I started with the company Borders decided to do Borders Bestsellers. Basically it is what our readers are reading and many of the titles on our bestsellers are also on the NYT and PW lists, but there are also titles that are not on those lists. I usually don’t read the titles on those lists for the sake of reading them, only if it is one of my favorite authors. I look for books that appeal to me and I know that is why many customers ask me for recommendations, looking for other books than what is on the bestsellers.
    And Shadow Of The Wind is one of my favorite books. I love to handsell this to those like books about books and far away places. So beautifully written!

  • Jackie

    Bestsellers lists are always great topics for discussions. Working at Borders, we do not have the NYT bestsellers on display as other stores do. Shortly after I started with the company Borders decided to do Borders Bestsellers. Basically it is what our readers are reading and many of the titles on our bestsellers are also on the NYT and PW lists, but there are also titles that are not on those lists. I usually don’t read the titles on those lists for the sake of reading them, only if it is one of my favorite authors. I look for books that appeal to me and I know that is why many customers ask me for recommendations, looking for other books than what is on the bestsellers.
    And Shadow Of The Wind is one of my favorite books. I love to handsell this to those like books about books and far away places. So beautifully written!

  • Helen

    I always skim the bestseller lists but only to know what’s popular and not to find out what to read.

    Most of the time, if I read a book on the bestseller list I get it from the library because I want to read it in order to keep current with pop culture and discussion but I assume that I won’t like the book enough to actually spend money on it.

  • Helen

    I always skim the bestseller lists but only to know what’s popular and not to find out what to read.

    Most of the time, if I read a book on the bestseller list I get it from the library because I want to read it in order to keep current with pop culture and discussion but I assume that I won’t like the book enough to actually spend money on it.

  • eric

    I for some reason like to look at the bestseller list but I dont look to it for books to read. After listening to the podcast I thought up a neat challenge for myself. I would go back and read the top bestsellers of the year for every year since my year of birth (1974). I found a website that lists them all, and after looking at the bestsellers I am not sure I want to read them. The 90s are just dominated by John Grisham. But I think I will give it a go.

    Thanks for another great podcast!!

    • Wow, great discussion and comments here! Eric, I love your idea. I think we’ll do a follow-up on an upcoming podcast, summarizing some of these comments. Keep ’em coming! Thanks 🙂

  • eric

    I for some reason like to look at the bestseller list but I dont look to it for books to read. After listening to the podcast I thought up a neat challenge for myself. I would go back and read the top bestsellers of the year for every year since my year of birth (1974). I found a website that lists them all, and after looking at the bestsellers I am not sure I want to read them. The 90s are just dominated by John Grisham. But I think I will give it a go.

    Thanks for another great podcast!!

    • Wow, great discussion and comments here! Eric, I love your idea. I think we’ll do a follow-up on an upcoming podcast, summarizing some of these comments. Keep ’em coming! Thanks 🙂

  • I love this topic of Best Sellers Lists. Ever since I began a book blog I’ve become more conscious of how I choose the books I read. When I was younger I used to read the NYT Book Review all the time and would check out the Best Sellers – and while the books I read were sometimes on them I usually became aware of that after the fact.

    Lately I’ve felt more and more like I was being “corralled” towards specific books by bookstores, reviews, and the media. For example – I listen to a lot of BBC podcasts on books (I’d say at least 3-4). Last month EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM was talking about Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals’. He was inescapable, obviously because his book was just coming out in the UK. But from the media you’d think his was the ONLY book being published that month – possible that year.

    I find that many of the blogs I follow also seem to review the same books at the same time, and publishers appear to push certain books on their lists harder than others. I won’t even get started on my feelings about bookstore feature tables.

    I’m not saying that the above are necessarily bad things (o.k. – feature tables are evil), and I understand the business/economic reasoning behind them. But I am beginning to notice a distinct lack of diversity as to what the media is reviewing… and what I am subsequently reading. The exceptions to that seem to be BotN and NYRB, which don’t seem to stock up on the standard fare (so you guys are in very good company!).

    But back on topic – After listening to this podcast I went online to look at the NYT Bestseller list for this week. And the books on them are the ones EVERYONE in the media has been talking about:Larsson; Twilight; 3 Cups of Tea; The Passage; Eat, Pray, Love; The Help… (Wow! they have a graphic novel category?? When did that happened?). So I think one way or another I am being influenced by the ubiquitous best seller list. It’s sort of a case of the tail wagging the dog.

  • I love this topic of Best Sellers Lists. Ever since I began a book blog I’ve become more conscious of how I choose the books I read. When I was younger I used to read the NYT Book Review all the time and would check out the Best Sellers – and while the books I read were sometimes on them I usually became aware of that after the fact.

    Lately I’ve felt more and more like I was being “corralled” towards specific books by bookstores, reviews, and the media. For example – I listen to a lot of BBC podcasts on books (I’d say at least 3-4). Last month EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM was talking about Jonathan Safran Foer’s ‘Eating Animals’. He was inescapable, obviously because his book was just coming out in the UK. But from the media you’d think his was the ONLY book being published that month – possible that year.

    I find that many of the blogs I follow also seem to review the same books at the same time, and publishers appear to push certain books on their lists harder than others. I won’t even get started on my feelings about bookstore feature tables.

    I’m not saying that the above are necessarily bad things (o.k. – feature tables are evil), and I understand the business/economic reasoning behind them. But I am beginning to notice a distinct lack of diversity as to what the media is reviewing… and what I am subsequently reading. The exceptions to that seem to be BotN and NYRB, which don’t seem to stock up on the standard fare (so you guys are in very good company!).

    But back on topic – After listening to this podcast I went online to look at the NYT Bestseller list for this week. And the books on them are the ones EVERYONE in the media has been talking about:Larsson; Twilight; 3 Cups of Tea; The Passage; Eat, Pray, Love; The Help… (Wow! they have a graphic novel category?? When did that happened?). So I think one way or another I am being influenced by the ubiquitous best seller list. It’s sort of a case of the tail wagging the dog.

  • I read this book a while back called Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction by John Sutherland. It is very small and would be interesting to anyone who likes this topic.

    What is a ‘french flap’ and why is it called that?

    • Ann Marie,
      French flaps are trade paperbacks where the covers are folded over on the inside to create flaps that are similar to what you’d find on hardcover bookjackets. We did an episode on them here: http://booksonthenightstand.com/2010/02/botns-books-podcast-65-cookbooks-on-the-nightstand.html

      I’m not really sure why they are called that — I have an idea, but I’m not sure if it’s correct, so I need to do more research.

      The book Bestsellers sounds like it might be worth tracking down. Thanks!

      • Thanks, I guess I missed the Podcast. I went back and listened to it a moment ago. I knew about deckles edges, because I work in a bookstore and we’ve to explain that one a lot. But, French Flap and spot varnish were new terms for me. We’ve always called the things on Trade Paperbacks dust flaps, same as a hardcover with jacket.

        Thank you!

  • I read this book a while back called Bestsellers: A Very Short Introduction by John Sutherland. It is very small and would be interesting to anyone who likes this topic.

    What is a ‘french flap’ and why is it called that?

    • Ann Marie,
      French flaps are trade paperbacks where the covers are folded over on the inside to create flaps that are similar to what you’d find on hardcover bookjackets. We did an episode on them here: http://booksonthenightstand.com/2010/02/botns-books-podcast-65-cookbooks-on-the-nightstand.html

      I’m not really sure why they are called that — I have an idea, but I’m not sure if it’s correct, so I need to do more research.

      The book Bestsellers sounds like it might be worth tracking down. Thanks!

      • Thanks, I guess I missed the Podcast. I went back and listened to it a moment ago. I knew about deckles edges, because I work in a bookstore and we’ve to explain that one a lot. But, French Flap and spot varnish were new terms for me. We’ve always called the things on Trade Paperbacks dust flaps, same as a hardcover with jacket.

        Thank you!

  • Katie

    I read The Quickening early and loved it as well. It’s a wonderful book for women – I plan on giving it to several in my life.

  • Katie

    I read The Quickening early and loved it as well. It’s a wonderful book for women – I plan on giving it to several in my life.

  • Personally, I rarely pay attention to the NYT best sellers because I find that they’re mostly populated with books in which I have an interest such as the latest Dan Brown or John Grisham. I do, however, worship Indiebound’s Indie Next List. I find that their selections are a lot more organic because they come from book lovers who just happen to be booksellers and therefore I trust them a great deal more. I feel that they’re a lot more tuned in because they watch the trends in their stores but also recommend books that they personally enjoy each month. I guess I view that list like a BOTNS catalog or something.

    In regards to novels in which the main character is a place, I have to recommend “The Blackbird House” by Alice Hoffman. Some of her other works are a bit too “magical” or can be categorized as fantasy, but this book was just charming. It’s about a house on Cape Cod and its life from when it was built during Colonial times to present-day. The house and the little cape town in which the house “lives” are truly the main characters in this novel which make it an interesting and delightful read.

    Lastly, I want to give my support for both “The Quickening” and “Mrs. Somebody Somebody”. These are two fantastic reads that I didn’t want to put down but at the same time, I never wanted them to end. Maybe at the end of the year you can do a “What’s your favorite BOTNS read of 2010?” I would be interested to know what books others read and enjoyed from the podcast.

    Thanks as always and keep up the fabulous recommendations!!

    • Sorry! The first sentence should say books in which I have NO interested. Oops!

  • Personally, I rarely pay attention to the NYT best sellers because I find that they’re mostly populated with books in which I have an interest such as the latest Dan Brown or John Grisham. I do, however, worship Indiebound’s Indie Next List. I find that their selections are a lot more organic because they come from book lovers who just happen to be booksellers and therefore I trust them a great deal more. I feel that they’re a lot more tuned in because they watch the trends in their stores but also recommend books that they personally enjoy each month. I guess I view that list like a BOTNS catalog or something.

    In regards to novels in which the main character is a place, I have to recommend “The Blackbird House” by Alice Hoffman. Some of her other works are a bit too “magical” or can be categorized as fantasy, but this book was just charming. It’s about a house on Cape Cod and its life from when it was built during Colonial times to present-day. The house and the little cape town in which the house “lives” are truly the main characters in this novel which make it an interesting and delightful read.

    Lastly, I want to give my support for both “The Quickening” and “Mrs. Somebody Somebody”. These are two fantastic reads that I didn’t want to put down but at the same time, I never wanted them to end. Maybe at the end of the year you can do a “What’s your favorite BOTNS read of 2010?” I would be interested to know what books others read and enjoyed from the podcast.

    Thanks as always and keep up the fabulous recommendations!!

    • Sorry! The first sentence should say books in which I have NO interested. Oops!

  • Re: Bestsellers
    I like following bestseller lists, but I don’t really find myself very influenced by them. And I don’t mean that in the sense of “I’m resistant to marketing”, but more that I’m intrigued by the lists but my reading taste tends to go in different directions.

    Re: City Characters
    Oh, how I like books with strong city characters… It always reminds me of the story in the Sandman of the dreaming cities and Gaiman’s blurb in SimCity 2000 on the personality of each city.

  • Re: Bestsellers
    I like following bestseller lists, but I don’t really find myself very influenced by them. And I don’t mean that in the sense of “I’m resistant to marketing”, but more that I’m intrigued by the lists but my reading taste tends to go in different directions.

    Re: City Characters
    Oh, how I like books with strong city characters… It always reminds me of the story in the Sandman of the dreaming cities and Gaiman’s blurb in SimCity 2000 on the personality of each city.

  • I don’t have any interest in the bestseller lists – my favourites are hidden gems. If I do read something that was a bestseller, it was usually a biggie several years before I actually get to it.

    This leads to my favourite book where the city is the main character. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt is an amazing example of this, and Ann, if you’d read it before your driving tour, you wouldn’t have regretted your stop in Savannah. Savannah takes the lead here, and so many people have been drawn to town by what is known there as “The Book.” It was a huge bestseller for a very lengthy period of time, but I didn’t read it until long after it fell off any lists. I was drawn to it by the story, not the ranking.

  • I don’t have any interest in the bestseller lists – my favourites are hidden gems. If I do read something that was a bestseller, it was usually a biggie several years before I actually get to it.

    This leads to my favourite book where the city is the main character. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, by John Berendt is an amazing example of this, and Ann, if you’d read it before your driving tour, you wouldn’t have regretted your stop in Savannah. Savannah takes the lead here, and so many people have been drawn to town by what is known there as “The Book.” It was a huge bestseller for a very lengthy period of time, but I didn’t read it until long after it fell off any lists. I was drawn to it by the story, not the ranking.

  • Was going to add MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL As well! Can’t remember the story but sure remember Savannah!

    Also DEVIL IN A WHITE CITY. Great nonfiction that captures the time and place so remarkably well.

    As for the bestseller lists, I tend to read books based upon friends and bookseller’s recommendations, but I suspect that if one of my books ever makes the NYT’s list, I’ll find greater appreciation for it!

  • Was going to add MIDNIGHT IN THE GARDEN OF GOOD AND EVIL As well! Can’t remember the story but sure remember Savannah!

    Also DEVIL IN A WHITE CITY. Great nonfiction that captures the time and place so remarkably well.

    As for the bestseller lists, I tend to read books based upon friends and bookseller’s recommendations, but I suspect that if one of my books ever makes the NYT’s list, I’ll find greater appreciation for it!

  • Patricia Snyder

    If bestsellers lists, especially fiction, are representative of American pop culture then we are doomed. I rarely pay attention to them. They say that we are simple-minded folks who don’t like to be challenged when we read. However, the nonfiction lists do yield a few books that are worth my time: for instance, the currently listed War by Sebastian Junger or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (a gem). Otherwise, beware of the numerous memoirs and partisan political tomes. Read them judiciously.

  • Patricia Snyder

    If bestsellers lists, especially fiction, are representative of American pop culture then we are doomed. I rarely pay attention to them. They say that we are simple-minded folks who don’t like to be challenged when we read. However, the nonfiction lists do yield a few books that are worth my time: for instance, the currently listed War by Sebastian Junger or The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (a gem). Otherwise, beware of the numerous memoirs and partisan political tomes. Read them judiciously.

  • Patricia Snyder

    I was born and raised in Buffalo and know well the places mentioned by Lauren Belfer in City of Light. She has certainly done her research.Today’s Buffalo bears little resemblance to that city at the turn of the 20th century. Belfer’s “Historical Note” at the end of the novel explains much of what started the downhill slide of the economy of Buffalo. I moved away to California 23 years ago, and when I return occasionally for family visits, I am saddened to see the extreme deterioration of the city.

    In fact, I am surprised that any independent books in the area are prospering. Ann, which one do you visit there?

    • Patricia,
      So interesting to hear! Talking Leaves is the independent bookstore we work with — they have two stores, one near SUNY Buffalo and one near Buffalo State. They are stores that work very hard to reflect the interests of their community. It’s wonderful to have such committed booksellers.

      • Patricia Snyder

        Hmm, opened a second location. I was only aware of the one near UB on Main Street. Their proximity to the two schools undoubtedly sustains them. The store I remember was definitely unique. I wish them well.

  • Patricia Snyder

    I was born and raised in Buffalo and know well the places mentioned by Lauren Belfer in City of Light. She has certainly done her research.Today’s Buffalo bears little resemblance to that city at the turn of the 20th century. Belfer’s “Historical Note” at the end of the novel explains much of what started the downhill slide of the economy of Buffalo. I moved away to California 23 years ago, and when I return occasionally for family visits, I am saddened to see the extreme deterioration of the city.

    In fact, I am surprised that any independent books in the area are prospering. Ann, which one do you visit there?

    • Patricia,
      So interesting to hear! Talking Leaves is the independent bookstore we work with — they have two stores, one near SUNY Buffalo and one near Buffalo State. They are stores that work very hard to reflect the interests of their community. It’s wonderful to have such committed booksellers.

      • Patricia Snyder

        Hmm, opened a second location. I was only aware of the one near UB on Main Street. Their proximity to the two schools undoubtedly sustains them. The store I remember was definitely unique. I wish them well.

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  • Bill

    I tend to follow what’s popular with Bookmarks Magazine rather than the N.Y. Times. I’ve found that when I’ve picked up books that get overwhelmingly good reviews from a variety of sources I’m usually disappointed in the book. I do much better reading descriptions of books and finding subjects that interest me rather than going by lists or other people’s opinions of what should, or should not, be read.

  • Bill

    I tend to follow what’s popular with Bookmarks Magazine rather than the N.Y. Times. I’ve found that when I’ve picked up books that get overwhelmingly good reviews from a variety of sources I’m usually disappointed in the book. I do much better reading descriptions of books and finding subjects that interest me rather than going by lists or other people’s opinions of what should, or should not, be read.

  • When this segment about city as character began, I immediately thought of Lauren Belfer’s City of Light. I recently placed it on our star cart (books that we love) at our library. Ann describes it beautifully. Besides Buffalo coming alive, it also has strong female characters and I recommend for this too. Keep meaning to read Shadow in the Wind. Maybe this will be the summer.

    In regards to bestseller lists, though I note them, they are not the end all. I rely far more heavily on word of mouth and/or reader recommendation for my personal reading. I do love the independent bookseller’s Indie Picks!

    Lastly, I might never of heard of Quickening if not for this podcast. That’s why I so love forums like this!

  • When this segment about city as character began, I immediately thought of Lauren Belfer’s City of Light. I recently placed it on our star cart (books that we love) at our library. Ann describes it beautifully. Besides Buffalo coming alive, it also has strong female characters and I recommend for this too. Keep meaning to read Shadow in the Wind. Maybe this will be the summer.

    In regards to bestseller lists, though I note them, they are not the end all. I rely far more heavily on word of mouth and/or reader recommendation for my personal reading. I do love the independent bookseller’s Indie Picks!

    Lastly, I might never of heard of Quickening if not for this podcast. That’s why I so love forums like this!

  • Juny Bayard

    Hey…Without a doubt i check out the bookseller list, but i make a conscious effort to avoid picking books off that list when it comes time to pick books for my book club… I rather give lesser known authors some attention than give the Grishams, Kings etc. more publicity. I love it when a bokk club member says, I never heard of this author, but i love this book. I will say though i do listen to the NYtimes podcast, i love listening to the interviews and what’s going on in the publishing industry.

  • Juny Bayard

    Hey…Without a doubt i check out the bookseller list, but i make a conscious effort to avoid picking books off that list when it comes time to pick books for my book club… I rather give lesser known authors some attention than give the Grishams, Kings etc. more publicity. I love it when a bokk club member says, I never heard of this author, but i love this book. I will say though i do listen to the NYtimes podcast, i love listening to the interviews and what’s going on in the publishing industry.

  • Hey hey! I know I’m way late in commenting on this (I just discovered your podcast and am listening to back-episodes–obviously I love it ^_^), but you guys mentioned how great it would be to search books by location. I don’t know if you’ve since discovered (or if it’s since been implemented?) but Goodreads actually does have this option for many of its books!

    While it’s not terribly exhaustive, it’s the best I’ve found to date. For example, if you bring up Goodreads’s Great Gatsby page (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4671.The_Great_Gatsby) and click on ‘setting’ in the book info box, it’ll take you to a list of all books that Goodreads has on record as set in New York City (http://www.goodreads.com/places/1863-new-york-new-york). Alternately, if you go to http://www.goodreads.com/places you can search for books by place. Pretty nifty 🙂

    Of course, it will never replace the human knowledge at your local bookstore (per your example)–I swear those people are superheroes!

    Also: City as character: love love love! I just finished reading “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino, and while that book’s definitely got its own perspective to it, it was a great introduction for me to something that I’ve noticed frequently on serialized television, but not as much in fiction.

    • Hi Liska!
      Thanks for the great idea re: Goodreads. We’ll be doing a follow-up in an upcoming episode, and will be sure to mention it. Thanks!!
      Calvino is someone that I haven’t read but have always wanted to.
      Thanks for joining us, and for taking the time to comment!

  • Hey hey! I know I’m way late in commenting on this (I just discovered your podcast and am listening to back-episodes–obviously I love it ^_^), but you guys mentioned how great it would be to search books by location. I don’t know if you’ve since discovered (or if it’s since been implemented?) but Goodreads actually does have this option for many of its books!

    While it’s not terribly exhaustive, it’s the best I’ve found to date. For example, if you bring up Goodreads’s Great Gatsby page (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4671.The_Great_Gatsby) and click on ‘setting’ in the book info box, it’ll take you to a list of all books that Goodreads has on record as set in New York City (http://www.goodreads.com/places/1863-new-york-new-york). Alternately, if you go to http://www.goodreads.com/places you can search for books by place. Pretty nifty 🙂

    Of course, it will never replace the human knowledge at your local bookstore (per your example)–I swear those people are superheroes!

    Also: City as character: love love love! I just finished reading “Invisible Cities” by Italo Calvino, and while that book’s definitely got its own perspective to it, it was a great introduction for me to something that I’ve noticed frequently on serialized television, but not as much in fiction.

    • Hi Liska!
      Thanks for the great idea re: Goodreads. We’ll be doing a follow-up in an upcoming episode, and will be sure to mention it. Thanks!!
      Calvino is someone that I haven’t read but have always wanted to.
      Thanks for joining us, and for taking the time to comment!

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