Announcing our new book project; Do you like to read books when they are newly-published, or wait until they’ve stood the test of time? Then Michael talks about The Dewey Decimal System while I declare my love for Daniel Woodrell’s The Death of Sweet Mister.
Two Books you Can’t Wait for Us to Read:
Hey, we’re publishing a book, and we want you to be part of it! For the past two years, we’ve published “souvenir” books for Booktopia, asking Booktopia attendees to contribute. The books were printed on our Booktopia partner bookstores’ Espresso Book Machines, and everybody loved them.
This year, we’re opening up the project to all Books on the Nightstand friends, and it’s not tied directly into Booktopia. The concept is simple: tell us two books you can’t wait for us to read (new, old, in print or out of print), with a short (few sentence) explanation about why you recommend them. Sadly, we can’t pay you, but you should also know that this is not a money-making venture. We will make just a few dollars from each copy sold, and all proceeds will go back into the actual expenses of keeping Books on the Nightstand going — web and podcast hosting costs, and possibly new microphones. More importantly, we can’t wait to see what books you recommend. I refer back to my 2011 edition all the time. We’ll put an index in the back in checklist form, so you can check off all of your fellow BOTNS listeners’ recommendations.
To participate, simply fill out this short web form: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/YYS3QXQ. Please have your entry in no later than March 3rd.
If you are interesting in purchasing either of the earlier volumes, they are available from the Northshire Bookstore website.
Should you resist the lure of the new? (4:30)
This week, we discuss the value in reading newly-published books versus books that have “stood the test of time.” The books that we feature in most podcast episodes in the segment called “Two books we can’t wait for you to read” are often newly- or not-yet published books. We have done that deliberately, since we know that many readers like to hear about books early on and it’s an area of our expertise. But we recognize that there is value also in talking about books that aren’t just recently published. There are many books that were published years ago that people are still talking about, like Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. So we’ve decided that we will mix it up a bit more. We will still talk mostly about new books in our third podcast segment, but we’ll also be telling you about books that we’ve loved that were published months, years, or even decades ago. Please tell us your thoughts — do publication dates matter when you choose your next book?
Two books we can’t wait for you to read (13:35)
Michael found The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larson in a bookstore, and knew right away that it was perfect for him. Set in a New York City that has undergone a terrible event, our nameless main character, nicknamed Dewey Decimal, chooses to live in the New York Public library. When Dewey Decimal is hired to assassinate someone, he begins to question all that he believes. This book reminded Michael of the early works of Jonathan Lethem, such as Gun with Occasional Music.
As for me, I’m not sure where Daniel Woodrell has been all my life. I read The Death of Sweet Mister in an evening, the last evening of 2012, and it was the perfect book with which to end the year. It has everything I love in a novel: great writing, darkness, violence, and heart. Woodrell’s use of words is magical. This book is not for everyone –did I mention that it’s dark and violent?–but if you are a fan of Cormac McCarthy or Donald Ray Pollack, you owe it to yourself to discover Daniel Woodrell. Set in the Ozarks in the 1950s, Shug is an overweight 13-year-old boy who lives with his mother and her husband Red. Shug is often used by Red to commit crimes, but the rest of the time Shug spends trying to figure out the world and keep his mother safe. Don’t miss this one if it sounds like a book you’d enjoy.