Oct 13

Mispronounced literary names. A scary book bracket for Halloween. And, two books we can’t wait for you to read.


Hermey-own and VoldemorT

A recent article from The Telegraph lists the top 10 most commonly mispronounced literary names, including Don Quixote, Smaug, and Daenerys Targaryen.


audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:20)

Mary Poppins, P.L. TraversMary Poppins by P.L. Travers, narrated by Sophie Thompson, is my 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 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


Scary Sixteen (08:30)

Some of our colleagues at Penguin Random House have put together Scary Sixteen, a bracket to determine what’s the ultimate spooky read for Halloween. You can see the results so far in the image below, and you can go to the Penguin Random House blog, The Perch to vote on the next round.

Scary Sixteen - All Titles - Round Three Winners

Other spooky books we love:

Also, Ann and I, separately had been thinking about books we should read, and each decided that it was time for you all to vote on a book for us. We’ll start compiling our short list and collect your votes for a book we’ll read over the holiday break! More to come.


Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (24:07)

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Home is Burning by Dan Marshall is not for everyone. Just look at the cover up there. That crossed-out word (along with many of its off-color brethren) permeate this darkly funny and cringe-inducing memoir of Dan and his siblings caring for their Dad, who’s dying of ALS, while simultaneously managing their mother, who is not making it easy on them.

City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg has been one of the most buzzed-about books since it was first bought by publishers around the world. Set in 1970s New York City, this tome, which actually reads quickly, is the story of several people, some rich, some poor, some black, some white, some gay, some straight, but all affected by and drawn into the city.

  • Andrea Ozment

    Just as a starter, I want to tell you that I always enjoy the podcasts and have read so many outstanding books I would otherwise not have encountered, so Thank You! But this week I’m moved to write about two of your entries. First, the question of pronunciation. As an undergraduate at Smith, I listened in horror as our esteemed guest lecturer, Miss Trickett, of Oxford University, pronounced “Quixote” as “Quicks Oat,” only to be informed by another professor that it is traditional in the English literary world to pronounce all words as if they were English in origin. For instance, you have to read Byron’s “Don Juan” as “Don Joo Ahn” if the poem is to scan. (I apologize to Miss Trickett — I say “Kee Hoe Tay”…) As for myself, when reading as a child, I always pronounced “bedraggled” in my head as “bed raggled,” i.e., how you’d look if you’d just rolled out of bed. Makes sense.
    The second thing I have to tell you is that I’m SO grateful that you featured “Mary Poppins” in your audible books portion. I will never forget the day I saw the movie, in 8th grade, having read, re-read, and loved the books since 1st grade. I felt betrayed, and by Walt Disney of all people! How could he turn Mary Poppins into a smile-y softy? What in the world had he done to Bert? I can go on and on, but my greatest fear has always been that kids who’ve seen the movie would not love the books. The books are so rich, so beautiful, so nuanced, and so NOT what was on the screen. So thank you, Michael, for allaying my fears about the movie spoiling the books and for bringing the books to the attention of new readers.

    • mkindness

      My pleasure! I confess that I do love the snarkier MP, though Julie Andrews’ portrayal will always have a place in my heart as well!

  • I read the first 6 Wheel of Time books when I was in Jr. High, and for years, pronounced (in my head) the title of Book 6, Lord of Chaos as chah-os. I totally knew this word, but never really connected the written word with what I’d heard. Also, I think I mispronounced facade until I was in college (fa-kade). Names are even worse, particularly in fantasy novels where names can be more exotic. I still often refuse to actually say names of characters out loud in case I’ve been saying it wrong in my head and will then look foolish.

  • CIMHsv

    Michael! Read “The Handmaid’s Tale”! You will love it. It is so beautifully written and has such a subtle comment on where society can go when groups are unbalanced with their counterparts.

  • Robert Zimmermann

    Michael, I just looked up where The Veldt was included. It’s in The Illustrated Man. I’m sure you Googled it already though. I was hoping it was in The Martian Chronicles, too. It’s the only collection of his I took with me on the recent move. But I’m sure I can find it in the library. They have a good amount of Bradbury.

  • tcheer4life

    I read Scott Smith’s first book, “A Simple Plan”, because he was from my neck of the woods. I loved that book and even my husband knew because I kept saying, “Oh, my gosh!” or “Oh, no!” or something similar through the read. I waited impatiently for his second book thirteen years later which was “The Ruins.” Nothing like his first. Nothing like anything I would usually choose to read, but, you’re right, Ann, it drew me in and the pictures are still in my mind a decade later.

  • macisbest2

    I read or listen to books with scary people and adventures but I have read only two books that can be classified as scary stories that might have been included in this contest or book off. “ghost story” peter straub and a novel that might have been included here “The Exorcist” by William Peter Blatty . Ironically when i Googled The Exorcist the film adaption came up first.

  • Nicole Introvert

    I LOL’ed at Ann’s “Pen-El-Ope.” I had a friend who did this in our 9th grade English class as we were reading The Iliad out loud. We are in our 30s now and we still laugh about it.

    Also… Home is BURNING and City on FIRE… pyro theme?

    P.S. The zine scene is alive and well and did not end in the 80s or 90s. Richmond just had our annual zine fest this past weekend! 🙂

  • KilianMetcalf

    On the Beach is a decent end-of-the-world story.

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