Jan 28

A listener asks if we find ourselves recommending our favorite books over and over. We talk about old things. And we tell you about an amazing memoir and a noirish novel of the Jazz Age that is based on a true story.

Recycling recommendations:

New listener Emma asks: “Do you have a section of your bookshelf that you find yourself recommending again and again? I think my friends must be sick of hearing me talk about Still Alice (by Lisa Genova), Unbearable Lightness (the Portia de Rossi autobiography), The World According to Garp (John Irving), We Need to Talk About Kevin (Lionel Shriver), and Haruki Murakami’s entire works. I have my staples I keep passing around, but I’m worried that the more I talk about them, the less-inclined others are to give them a go. How do you go about recommending books without putting people off with your enthusiasm? Which are the books you’re constantly lending out?”

We love this topic! Michael finds himself recommending:

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

The Last Town on Earth by Thomas Mullen

Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones

Ann’s usual recommendations:

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese

The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer

The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell

We’d love to know: what are the books that you recommend over and over? Let us know in the show comments. Thanks!


audiobooksAudiobook of the week (07:16)

Don't Breathe a Word Don’t Breathe a Word by Jennifer McMahon, narrated by the Lily Rains, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week. We’re excited that Jennifer will be joining us at Booktopia Vermont for her new novel, The Winter People.

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 7-day trial and free audiobook download by going to www.audiobooks.com/freebook


A conversation about old things (09:53):

Michael recently re-read Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock, a book that was first published in the 1990s and slated to be a film. Ann received a gift membership to the Boston Athenaeum, a wonderful private subscription library. What do these two things have in common? We don’t really know, but it inspired a conversation about the preservation of old things and traditions. You can listen by clicking the link included in this blog post, or, (if you receive this post by email) downloading the file included in the email. Don’t forget that you can listen to every episode of Books on the Nightstand on your computer or smartphone by subscribing through iTunes, Stitcher, Instacast, or any other podcast listening program.


Two books we can’t wait for you to read (22:52):


The answer to the riddle is me    The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress

Michael recommends The Answer to the Riddle is Me, a memoir by David Stuart MacLean. When the author was on a fellowship in India, he woke up one day standing in the middle of a train platform with no idea where he was or who he was.

This week I chose The Wife, the Maid, and the Mistress by Ariel Lawhon, a novel based on the 1930s disappearance of a New York City judge. Set in the jazz age and told from the perspective of three women, it’s delicious and mysterious.

  • Linda

    The books that I recommend include Cutting for Stone, Tuesdays with Morrie, The Supremes at Earl’s-All-You-Can-Eat and The Shoemaker’s Wife.

  • Laura Brennan

    Since my go-to recommendation is “The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde, I definitely have to suss people out first – it’s very quirky!

  • Frank McGeough

    some old favorites to recommend : Ursula K LeGuin “Lathe of Heaven”. Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World”, Harlan Ellison “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream”

  • Karen

    The books I always recommend: The Reluctant Fundamentalist, My Sisters Keeper and The Crimson Petal and the White

  • knightser

    I heard the story about amnesia on This American Life awhile ago and didn’t know he wrote a book about it. Cannot wait to read this!

  • Catherine

    The book I always recommend is THE ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY by the ever wonderful Michael Chabon. This book has a permanent place on my list of best books ever read.

  • The books I always recommend are: The Red Tent, The Attack, Empire Falls, Still Alice, Sarah’s Key, and Before I Go to Sleep. After that I have to start sorting my Goodreads list by ratings and picking out those with 5 and 4 stars.

  • Kat

    Always recommend The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (despite how huge it was, I still find a lot of folks who haven’t read it!) and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Also, for anyone who liked Gone Girl, I recommend Before I Go to Sleep by SJ Watson (which I actually preferred to Gone Girl.)

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