Apr 15

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.

  • bellezza

    I hope Donna Tartt does not receive more negative criticism. While I preferred The Secret History, I found The Goldfinch to be so similar in its themes of despair. If I were to fault her for anything, it would be a sense of hopelessness tied in with irrevocable fate, but not for her writing style. Silly Francine Prose, whom I suspect is merely jealous of Tartt’s success.

  • Laurawllner

    I enjoyed your podcast this morning and I’m such a book geek, I downloaded the Paradox of Publicity PDF to nibble on later! I have to agree, not every book is for everyone. (I loved The Goldfinch.) Thanks for sharing.

  • Frank McGeough

    A related social media academic paper that analyzes Yelp reviews and writing style differences between how people characterize high priced vs low priced restaurants. You can add this to your graduate school reading. http://journals.uic.edu/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/4944/3863

  • astro_girl

    To follow up with the book festivals: There is a big one in Tucson that usually runs in mid-March for a weekend, the Tucson Festival of Books. This past year it was March 15-16, and there’s a combination of booths from bookstores and publishers, and signings and readings concurrently in several sessions throughout the day. I went for the first time this year and it was totally worth it (plus it’s before Tucson gets too hot!).

  • Vanessa

    I am in the unique position of having given The Goldfinch a less than glowing review on goodreads a day before it won the Pulitzer.

    So many things Ann and Michael mentioned do indeed show up in my review – including expectations and over-hyping. Unfortunately, it is extremely difficult to put aside expectations and “buzz” when it comes to your raw enjoyment of the story. I tried to work my review around that, though.

    I agree with both Ann and Michael that books that win awards come under unfairly heightened criticism. It’s totally understandable why that happens. Reward or not, however, I just didn’t enjoy it as much as most people did, but that’s okay! I can understand why many loved it. Congratulations to Donna Tartt! As far as any forthcoming negative reviews, Donna Tartt can be consoled by her Pultizer. 🙂 She holds the trump card!

  • Emma

    You were right about Astonish Me! I just finished it and am in love. It even made me appreciate ballet, something I’ve never given much thought to in the past. It’s one I know I’ll read again over the years.

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