Jul 06

We discuss how to decide which book to choose to read next. Then we present a few books for the World Cup viewer to pick up once the tournament is over. And it’s Two Books We REALLY Can’t Wait For You to Read.

Eeny Meeny Miney Moe

Goodreads has recently introduced the ability to re-order you To Be Read shelf and I’ve begun experimenting with that as a way of keeping track of which books I’ll read next, and I tend to sort by when the books will be released. Ann often chooses by mood, current buzz, what her book group has picked for that month, or what catches her eye on her bookshelves. What about you? Do you have a system to pick your next reading selection or is it all spur-of-the-moment?

Gooooooaaaaaalllllll! (4:48)

The vuvuzela has sounded and the World Cup is here (for a few more days at least). The ESPN World Cup Companion is a beautifully illustrated book that looks at the entire history of this event, and was fun to look through even for as unschooled in soccer/football as I am. Ann recommends two true stories of inspirational soccer teams.  The Miracle of Castel di Sangro by Joe McGinniss, an American-in-Italy story with soccer at its heart. Outcasts United by Warren St. John is the story of a soccer team in Clarkston, Georgia, home to scores of families who have fled war-torn regions around the world. A young Jordanian woman forms a soccer team made up of refugee children and this book follows that team over the course of a single season.

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (13:30)

Ann departs from tradition by recommending an older book, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith, which she just read for the first time, and which was chosen by her book group. This story of young Francie Nolan growing up in Brooklyn in the first decades of the 20th century quickly jumped onto Ann’s Top 10 Books of all time list. A book that’s sure to make my Top 10 (or 5, or 1) of 2010 is Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch. I do my best to describe this novel about three elderly, illiterate brothers on a rundown farm in upstate New York, but I quickly lapse into “I can’t coherently express how much I love this book” territory. Just take my word for it and read it!

  • Stan Hynds

    Tree Grows in Brooklyn sounds kind of girly. OK for a regular to guy to read it?

  • Stan Hynds

    Tree Grows in Brooklyn sounds kind of girly. OK for a regular to guy to read it?

  • Michael,

    I mentioned this on goodreads a while back but Kings of the Earth definitely sounds like it was inspired by the three Ward brothers, whose story was told in a 1992 documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, who also made Paradise Lost. Here’s a link to the wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brother%27s_Keeper_(film)

    The book sounds really interesting. It’s on my list.

    • Carla

      Joel, glad you posted that about the film. I was trying to remember the family name of the men in that film. The book sounds just like the Ward brothers.

  • Michael,

    I mentioned this on goodreads a while back but Kings of the Earth definitely sounds like it was inspired by the three Ward brothers, whose story was told in a 1992 documentary by Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky, who also made Paradise Lost. Here’s a link to the wikipedia entry:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brother%27s_Keeper_(film)

    The book sounds really interesting. It’s on my list.

    • Carla

      Joel, glad you posted that about the film. I was trying to remember the family name of the men in that film. The book sounds just like the Ward brothers.

  • Chris K

    Thank you, thank you, Ann, for recommending a classic! I pulled this out a few weeks ago when you said you were reading it for your book group, and with such a glowing review, started it last night! I read a lot of classics, so I’d love for you guys to occasionally recommend something that isn’t necessarily from the present year. 🙂

    And as for the “to read” shelf on GR, I found this conversation interesting. I actually use it to set aside books that have been recommended to me or if I read or hear about a good book, just so I don’t forget about them. I’ll frequently check it out when I’m searching for what to read next, but I don’t necessarily use it as a must read list in order.

    Love my drive to work on Wednesday mornings, I listen to the podcast then!

  • Chris K

    Thank you, thank you, Ann, for recommending a classic! I pulled this out a few weeks ago when you said you were reading it for your book group, and with such a glowing review, started it last night! I read a lot of classics, so I’d love for you guys to occasionally recommend something that isn’t necessarily from the present year. 🙂

    And as for the “to read” shelf on GR, I found this conversation interesting. I actually use it to set aside books that have been recommended to me or if I read or hear about a good book, just so I don’t forget about them. I’ll frequently check it out when I’m searching for what to read next, but I don’t necessarily use it as a must read list in order.

    Love my drive to work on Wednesday mornings, I listen to the podcast then!

  • Kristen

    If drawing a total blank on something to read next, I like to sort my Goodreads shelf by rating. I don’t necessarily pick the absolute top book, especially if it’s only based on a couple votes, but something in the upper range.

    • That’s a really great idea! It’s like taking an informal poll on what to read next.

  • Kristen

    If drawing a total blank on something to read next, I like to sort my Goodreads shelf by rating. I don’t necessarily pick the absolute top book, especially if it’s only based on a couple votes, but something in the upper range.

    • That’s a really great idea! It’s like taking an informal poll on what to read next.

  • Jennifer

    Ann, I was so happy when you chose A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and proclaimed it one of your top ten. It’s been my favorite book since I was 13, and I often recommend it to people (after being incredulous they haven’t read it yet). I’m glad love for this book is out there!

    I am haphazard in choosing my next book. I alternate between a stack of library books and my own to be read stacks. Like Ann, I often choose the new popular thing, but I often end up going back to some obscure book I never read and feel like I should. I don’t really have a system. Once in a while I will restack my piles with what I am feeling like reading at the time, but that often changes before I even get around to reading them all 🙂

  • Jennifer

    Ann, I was so happy when you chose A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and proclaimed it one of your top ten. It’s been my favorite book since I was 13, and I often recommend it to people (after being incredulous they haven’t read it yet). I’m glad love for this book is out there!

    I am haphazard in choosing my next book. I alternate between a stack of library books and my own to be read stacks. Like Ann, I often choose the new popular thing, but I often end up going back to some obscure book I never read and feel like I should. I don’t really have a system. Once in a while I will restack my piles with what I am feeling like reading at the time, but that often changes before I even get around to reading them all 🙂

  • KC

    I just found your podcast back in April and am loving it. I think it was this podcast that recommended Cutting For Stone which while I found slow to get started I really enjoyed. I started The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake last night and am loving it, and have already read and loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. So far you guys are batting a thousand.

  • KC

    I just found your podcast back in April and am loving it. I think it was this podcast that recommended Cutting For Stone which while I found slow to get started I really enjoyed. I started The Peculiar Sadness of Lemon Cake last night and am loving it, and have already read and loved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. So far you guys are batting a thousand.

  • I like the idea of being able to re-order my books on Goodreads. It’s like re-ordering a physical shelf. Will I use it? Maybe not, but it’s neat that I can.

    I think I’m in the Ann camp on how I choose my next book to read. When choosing a book for personal reading time It mostly has to with what I’m in the mood to read. Others may move to to the top for book discussions, author visits, etc. Once in a great while something unexpected just jumps into my hands. How that happens I’m not certain but it is fun!

  • I like the idea of being able to re-order my books on Goodreads. It’s like re-ordering a physical shelf. Will I use it? Maybe not, but it’s neat that I can.

    I think I’m in the Ann camp on how I choose my next book to read. When choosing a book for personal reading time It mostly has to with what I’m in the mood to read. Others may move to to the top for book discussions, author visits, etc. Once in a great while something unexpected just jumps into my hands. How that happens I’m not certain but it is fun!

  • I have both a Goodreads & a Librarything account, and in all honesty I don’t find myself visiting either of them all that much. I’ll have to check the new feature Michael mentioned, though I’m not sure if its something I’d start using regularly.

    I actually just created a Google calendar to better organize my reading. I just started using it in July, but 2 weeks in I think it will work out well. Not only is it great for organizing review copies, but it allows me to shift books around pretty easily – and keeps me from forgetting about a book altogether. It’s a great way to get an overview of what I can read in real time. And it also is an easy way to group together books I want to read with similar subject matter. (For example: in August I want to focus on books of short stories. So I’ll be reading ‘Things We Didn’t See Coming’ by Steven Amsterdam. But I scheduled myself to read it back-to-back with ‘The Caretaker of Lorne Field’ by David Zeltserman, since both books have the same end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it vibe going on).

    It sounds much more complicated and nerdy than it really is (ok, I admit it’s pretty nerdy). But it works great… at least until NPR and BotNS throw a wrench into the works with recommendations like ‘Kings of the Earth’ and ‘Elliot Allagash’! 🙂

  • I have both a Goodreads & a Librarything account, and in all honesty I don’t find myself visiting either of them all that much. I’ll have to check the new feature Michael mentioned, though I’m not sure if its something I’d start using regularly.

    I actually just created a Google calendar to better organize my reading. I just started using it in July, but 2 weeks in I think it will work out well. Not only is it great for organizing review copies, but it allows me to shift books around pretty easily – and keeps me from forgetting about a book altogether. It’s a great way to get an overview of what I can read in real time. And it also is an easy way to group together books I want to read with similar subject matter. (For example: in August I want to focus on books of short stories. So I’ll be reading ‘Things We Didn’t See Coming’ by Steven Amsterdam. But I scheduled myself to read it back-to-back with ‘The Caretaker of Lorne Field’ by David Zeltserman, since both books have the same end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it vibe going on).

    It sounds much more complicated and nerdy than it really is (ok, I admit it’s pretty nerdy). But it works great… at least until NPR and BotNS throw a wrench into the works with recommendations like ‘Kings of the Earth’ and ‘Elliot Allagash’! 🙂

  • Ann

    I haven’t read A Tree Grown in Brooklyn but saw the film years ago. I’m putting it on my TBR list.
    Ann
    Cozy In Texas

  • Ann

    I haven’t read A Tree Grown in Brooklyn but saw the film years ago. I’m putting it on my TBR list.
    Ann
    Cozy In Texas

  • Wow – I can’t believe you hadn’t yet read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This is an astounding book and one that was a major part of my coming of age. I’ll take a quality “old” book (otherwise known as a classic) over many new titles any time. On my TBR this Summer: Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird (both re-reads, in order to refresh my memory (and linger in the gorgeous prose seldom approached by current writers) while I read non-fiction books which reference both of these.

  • Wow – I can’t believe you hadn’t yet read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. This is an astounding book and one that was a major part of my coming of age. I’ll take a quality “old” book (otherwise known as a classic) over many new titles any time. On my TBR this Summer: Grapes of Wrath and To Kill a Mockingbird (both re-reads, in order to refresh my memory (and linger in the gorgeous prose seldom approached by current writers) while I read non-fiction books which reference both of these.

  • Funny that you should mention your to-read shelf, Michael!

    I only just discovered the ability on Goodreads to make any shelf you want an “exclusive” shelf. That means if you put a book on it, it can not belong on any of the other exclusive shelves of which, by default, include the read, to-read and currently reading shelf.

    My to-read bookshelf is massive and would simply take too much time to re-order. It exists simply for putting any book I have heard of or that was recommended to me. Occasionally I look at them, but usually the books I am meant to read come to the forefront when they are needed.

    So, to solve my “what to read next” dilemna and help me schedule my reads, I have made a “next in line” shelf as an exclusive shelf. Now I have the one or two books that I am currently reading and then usually about six piled up as next in line.

    This has proved extremely useful. It allows me to display two different widgets to readers of my blog and kept the books I want to read soon in a place I won’t forget them.

    As far as how to pick which books go on those wonderful shelves, my method is part madness, part organic. A mixture of which books I have picked for reading challenges, what my Goodreads book group is reading, what gems the library has tempted me into borrowing and personal interest/mood. Works for me!

    Keep up the good work.

    ps. In order to not lose track of the books you and Anne have recommended, I’ve made an exclusive “nightstand recommended” bookshelf on Goodreads that has also been very handy!

    pss. I read the Lost City of Z last week and just had so much fun being lost in the Amazon.

  • Funny that you should mention your to-read shelf, Michael!

    I only just discovered the ability on Goodreads to make any shelf you want an “exclusive” shelf. That means if you put a book on it, it can not belong on any of the other exclusive shelves of which, by default, include the read, to-read and currently reading shelf.

    My to-read bookshelf is massive and would simply take too much time to re-order. It exists simply for putting any book I have heard of or that was recommended to me. Occasionally I look at them, but usually the books I am meant to read come to the forefront when they are needed.

    So, to solve my “what to read next” dilemna and help me schedule my reads, I have made a “next in line” shelf as an exclusive shelf. Now I have the one or two books that I am currently reading and then usually about six piled up as next in line.

    This has proved extremely useful. It allows me to display two different widgets to readers of my blog and kept the books I want to read soon in a place I won’t forget them.

    As far as how to pick which books go on those wonderful shelves, my method is part madness, part organic. A mixture of which books I have picked for reading challenges, what my Goodreads book group is reading, what gems the library has tempted me into borrowing and personal interest/mood. Works for me!

    Keep up the good work.

    ps. In order to not lose track of the books you and Anne have recommended, I’ve made an exclusive “nightstand recommended” bookshelf on Goodreads that has also been very handy!

    pss. I read the Lost City of Z last week and just had so much fun being lost in the Amazon.

  • Pingback: BOTNS Books Podcast #86: Continuing the Conversation | Books on the Nightstand()

  • Helen Barnett

    Oh, Ann,
    I was so excited that you have come to “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” favorite! I read this book when I was young and was so enthralled with the story. I have reread that book so often. Like a visit with an old friend. You made my day!

  • Helen Barnett

    Oh, Ann,
    I was so excited that you have come to “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn” favorite! I read this book when I was young and was so enthralled with the story. I have reread that book so often. Like a visit with an old friend. You made my day!

  • Helen

    I’ve moved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn up to my “on deck circle” of books. Last summer one of my sisters was reading it at the same time as her daughter who had to read it for school. They both loved it. I’d forgotten about their enthusiasm for the book until this podcast.

    I’d like to give a solid thumbs up endorsement to The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. I read it years ago, during a heavy non-fiction phase, and I’ve recommended it to many friends since then. I’m a sports fan but not a soccer fan by any stretch of the imagination and yet I loved the story. I felt completely a part of their community and loved learning about small town Italian life and their passion for sport.

    As for how I choose what to read next — I think I go by a combination of mood, buzz, and general life circumstances. If I’m working a lot or generally busy I tend to read really light fluffy books like Sophie Kinsella type chick-lit. In other words, books that don’t tax my brain in the least.

    When I go on vacation at a beach resort, it’s not unheard of for me to read five or six books while I’m gone. In those cases I tend to choose longer, more literary titles that I can lose myself in but I also throw in fun-stuff to break it up. I really enjoy non-fiction about niche groups of people (like scrabble people in Wordfreak, or competitive home cooks in CookOff) and they mix well with my vacation reading. In winter, when I’m wishing I was on vacation, I tend toward travelogues.

    I’m relatively new to Goodreads but I do keep a “to be read” list although I don’t update it frequently. I have a kindle and I tend to download samples these days as a reminder of books that I want to read. I’ve created collections on the kindle to sort out the samples and have groups like “books on the nightstand”, “friends”, “bookstore browse” etc. When I have something I really want to read sooner rather than later, I download the full book and put it in the “on deck circle”. Of course, right now, there are 15 books in the on deck circle so I think it might be time to weed that list!

    • GASP! Why didn’t I know about CookOff??!!

  • Helen

    I’ve moved A Tree Grows in Brooklyn up to my “on deck circle” of books. Last summer one of my sisters was reading it at the same time as her daughter who had to read it for school. They both loved it. I’d forgotten about their enthusiasm for the book until this podcast.

    I’d like to give a solid thumbs up endorsement to The Miracle of Castel di Sangro. I read it years ago, during a heavy non-fiction phase, and I’ve recommended it to many friends since then. I’m a sports fan but not a soccer fan by any stretch of the imagination and yet I loved the story. I felt completely a part of their community and loved learning about small town Italian life and their passion for sport.

    As for how I choose what to read next — I think I go by a combination of mood, buzz, and general life circumstances. If I’m working a lot or generally busy I tend to read really light fluffy books like Sophie Kinsella type chick-lit. In other words, books that don’t tax my brain in the least.

    When I go on vacation at a beach resort, it’s not unheard of for me to read five or six books while I’m gone. In those cases I tend to choose longer, more literary titles that I can lose myself in but I also throw in fun-stuff to break it up. I really enjoy non-fiction about niche groups of people (like scrabble people in Wordfreak, or competitive home cooks in CookOff) and they mix well with my vacation reading. In winter, when I’m wishing I was on vacation, I tend toward travelogues.

    I’m relatively new to Goodreads but I do keep a “to be read” list although I don’t update it frequently. I have a kindle and I tend to download samples these days as a reminder of books that I want to read. I’ve created collections on the kindle to sort out the samples and have groups like “books on the nightstand”, “friends”, “bookstore browse” etc. When I have something I really want to read sooner rather than later, I download the full book and put it in the “on deck circle”. Of course, right now, there are 15 books in the on deck circle so I think it might be time to weed that list!

    • GASP! Why didn’t I know about CookOff??!!

  • Helen

    CookOff is awesome! And then if you then tune into the Pillsbury Bake-Off or Build-A-Better Burger or other shows like that on the Food Network you’ll spot all the people from the book.

    I’m now spinning through bake-off related books on Amazon. There are quite a few out there that I’m going to have to add to my giant to-be-read pile!

  • Helen

    CookOff is awesome! And then if you then tune into the Pillsbury Bake-Off or Build-A-Better Burger or other shows like that on the Food Network you’ll spot all the people from the book.

    I’m now spinning through bake-off related books on Amazon. There are quite a few out there that I’m going to have to add to my giant to-be-read pile!

  • A good soccer book would be The Fix : soccer and organized crime by Declan Hill. He looks into the world of organized crime and soccer and how there has been match fixing. From what I have heard about the book, it is an excellent read and a good insight into how various crime syndicates have basically made sure that certain teams move ahead, etc.

  • A good soccer book would be The Fix : soccer and organized crime by Declan Hill. He looks into the world of organized crime and soccer and how there has been match fixing. From what I have heard about the book, it is an excellent read and a good insight into how various crime syndicates have basically made sure that certain teams move ahead, etc.

  • Hi, I read plenty of blog posts on a regular basis and many blog posts are short of real material however, I merely wanted to make a quick comment to say FANTASTIC weblog! I am going to be checking in regularly now. Keep up the good work! 🙂

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