Jun 16

Big books to read this summer. Plus, we (with a little help) recommend I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers, and The Fold by Peter Clines. 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (03:33)

Delicious Foods: A Novel, James HannahamDelicious Foods by James Hannaham, narrated by the author, is Ann’s pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week.

During the month of June, which is Audiobook Month, Audiobooks.com is giving away a different free audio every day!

Special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 60,000 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


500 Pages Plus (10:16)

Looking for a big book to read this Summer? If you’re playing BOTNS Book Bingo, and one of your squares is “Longer than 500 pages,” then this podcast is for you! If you use Goodreads, and would like to sort books on your shelves by page number, you can add the “Num Pages” column by clicking on settings above your book list, then click the column to sort by it. Here are the titles we discussed in this episode:

There are several “big books” lists on Goodreads, but be careful, as some of these lists have books that are not over 500 pages!


Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (23:33)

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If you’re a fan of Ian McEwan, Ann recommends I Saw a Man by Owen Sheers, a book with an opening so compelling that the UK edition of the book has the first sentence printed on the front cover: “The event that changed all of their lives happened on a Saturday afternoon in June, just minutes after Michael Turner – thinking the Nelsons’ house was empty – stepped through their back door.”

This week, I call on my colleague Eric Buscher to tell us about The Fold by Peter Clines, a fun read that tells the story of schoolteacher from Maine who, because of his unique and infallible memory, is called in to investigate possible problems with a science experiment that may have resulted in teleportation.


  • tcheer4life

    I remember very well that “The Time Traveler’s Wife was over 600 pages in hardback and that I read it in 3 days (2 of those reading till 4 a.m.). The next book after that was “Life of Pi” and I got bogged down in the first 100 pages.

  • tcheer4life

    …and neither The Goldfinch nor The Count of Monte Cristo seemed over 500 pages but they are 800 and 1500 respectively.

  • Alex Kerner

    an absolutely amazing but devastating 500+ page book is A Fine Balance

    • Kristen

      Yes! So wonderful!

  • Denise

    I’ve read Stephen King’s 11/22/63 several times and it has never taken me more than three days because it’s so compelling. James Clavell’s asian sagas are also terrific reads; Noble House in particular reads very quickly. The Lord of the Rings is well over 500 pgs and I read that one quickly every year or so. And I couldn’t agree more with the recommendation of A Little Life — I push it hard to all of my reading friends, except those with PTSD issues. I confess that I love big books, but no one should be intimidated by the very category as there are some books that will make you forget that they’re long.

  • Elizabeth

    The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters is 564 pages, Donna Tartt’s Secret History is 559 pages, and The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova is 642 pages. All great reads!

  • silentsgirl

    I love a long book (or as I called them based on hearing the word used in a blog many years ago, “chunksters.”) Gone with the Wind is my favorite book of all time, and the Outlander novels by Diana Gabaldon are a serious commitment of time (and arm strength!) Many moons ago, I adored the Kent Family Chronicles by John Jakes, and each of those easily topped 700 pages or more. I’ve been afraid to re-read them as an adult, for fear that they haven’t stood the test of time, but they were great fun for me as a 16-year-old.

  • Carol Kubala

    Over 500 pages plus – First one that came to mind was The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova as mentioned by another reader. Some people had a hard time with this one but I thought it was very good and 704 pages that read quickly.

    Justin Cronin – The Passage 766 p.

    Karl Marlantes – Matterhorn 663p. one of the best fictional accounts of The Vietnam War I’ve read.
    Terry Hayes – I Am Pilgrim 624p. Quite the spy thriller with lots of action.

    Marisha Pessl – Night Film – 602p. It’s different that’s for certain.

    Jo Nesbo – The Leopard 613p. Harry Hole gets grisly again.

    Abraham Verghese – Cutting for Stone 541p. – From Africa to the US this family story of brothers, fathers, sons and doctors is a beautifully told saga.

    Tom Rob Smith – Child 44 – A first rate debut thriller taking place in Russia

    Michel Faber – Book of Strange New Things – My copy comes in at 500p. exactly. This was compared to The Sparrow but I found them to be two very different books though if you liked one you might like the other Peter Leigh is hired for a mission to bring religion to the people of planet Oasis. Loved it.

  • Beth Welshons

    I meant to do this last week, but was remiss. After hearing that there were listeners who felt they needed to tell you they were no longer going to listen to BOTNS after the LGBTQ episode, I wanted to thank you for that episode. I appreciate the diversity and the reach that you took. Good for you!

    • Tracy Slater

      Had the same reaction, Beth! I thought the episode was great.

  • Tracy Slater

    Michael, Ann, everyone: I can recommend The Executioners Song, by Noman Mailer–totally wonderful and deeply affecting, I thought. Most editions are actually over 1,000 pages. Perhaps a caregory for next year’s Bingo? (Ha.)

    Also, if you buy the mass market paperback of Murakami’s Kafka on the Shore, you’ll hit 500. (Or the German version…)

  • Pingback: What Are Your Summer Reading Plans? | Novel Gobblers Book Club()

  • Pam in Canada

    I recently read Cutting for Stone, and devoured it in just a few days. I highly recommend it, too. But I used it for a different category on my bingo card: Recommended in a BOTNS episode. // I also wanted to thank you for your episode last week. It was very interesting, and has encouraged me to dig out my copy of Middlesex and tackle it again, now that I have more time to read – recently retired. I suspect your thoughtful coverage of a variety of books attracts more listeners than you lose. Thanks again!

  • Mo

    I agree wholeheartedly with the previous recommendation of A Fine Balance. I would also highly recommend Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

  • Carol Kubala

    I’ll second Tracy’s recommendation of The Executioner’s Song by Mailer. Mikal Gilmore’s Shot in the Heart about his brother Gary Gilmore, the subject of Mailer’s novel, is excellent. Mikal gives us a picture of a dysfunctional family and an understanding of what it is like to be the brother of a murderer. Unfortunately it does not fit the category of 500+ pages as it comes in a bit over 400 but is still well worth reading in conjunction with Executioner.

  • RunningBasset

    I just discovered this podcast and was thrilled to hear mentions for two of my favorite books of 2015 – A Little Life and Delicious Foods! I can’t wait to listen to more backlist episodes!

  • Jennifer Larson

    A couple older 500 page+ books I can add: An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears, a murder mystery in 1600s England told from different perspectives of the same crime, and The Years of Rice and Salt by Kim Stanley Robinson,which is an alternate history book that posits how world power would have changed if Europe had been wiped out by the Black Plague.

    For nonfiction, The Making of the Atom Bomb by Richard Rhodes. That baby is almost 1000 pages, and an award winner too.

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