Oct 20

Great news for a formerly-banned book; Bookclubs for grownups and children together; new books from Adam Makos and Mary Gaitskill

Unbanned (00:40)

Good news this week for Into The River, the novel by Ted Dawes that had been banned in New Zealand. The ban has been lifted, and will be made available immediately with a parental warning on the cover to help guide parents. Also, rights to publish the novel in the US and Canda have been acquired by Polis Books, so look for Into the River here in June 2016.



audiobooksAudiobook of the week (02:20)

Furiously Happy    Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things
 written and narrated by Jenny Lawson, 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


The family that reads together (08:51)

One of our listeners asked us to talk about parent/child reading groups (for “parent,” feel free to substitute aunt, uncle, grandparent, teacher, babysitter, or any other adult that you trust with your child). Michael recently heard Gretchen Rubin talk about this on a recent Happier podcast (can someone help with the specific episode?), and we thought it was a great topic.

There are so many options on how to organize a grownup/child bookclub: it can be just one grownup/one child, groups of children and grownups, or anything in between. Experts recommend grouping by age so that they are all at about the same reading level, but that depends on the age level. Other people recommend keeping it gender specific, but Michael and I agree that that is not necessary or maybe even preferred. Integrating an activity related to the book seems to be a popular choice, with the specific activity dependent on age of the kids in the group. Crafts, baking, even seeing a movie can all be tied into the book in a fun way.

It’s difficult to recommend specific books, because the choice will vary with age, but some of the books that came to us right away are:

Wonder by RJ Palacio

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The BFG by Roald Dahl

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown and the young reader’s edition

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand, and the young adult version



How to Start a Parent-Child Book Club 

Book Clubs for Kids

Start a Parent-Child Book Club

The Story on Parent-Child Book Clubs (pdf)

So for our listeners: have you been part of a grownup/child book group? Feel free to share your experiences with us and our other listeners in the comments below. Thanks!


Two books we can’t wait for you to read (22:20)

Devotion   The Mare


Michael recommends Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice by Adam Makos. This is the true story of two men from very different backgrounds who became friends in the U.S. Navy before the Korean War, and how one pilot makes a huge sacrifice to save the life of the other. Devotion will be published on October 27th.

My recommendation this week is The Mare by Mary Gaitskill, which will be published on November 3rd (so you can preorder it from your local bookstore or get on your library’s reserve list). On the surface, this is a story of a girl and a horse. But in fact it is so very much more. Paul and Ginger, a couple who is unable to have children, decide to host a child from the city through the Fresh Air Fund. That child is Velveteen, a girl who has a tough family life. The relationship is fraught with questions about who’s helping who, and how Velvet is expected to make the transition between her home life and the country life with Paul and Ginger, makes this a multi-layered novel that is complex but never preachy.

  • I am Malala is also a good book for a generational discussion

  • JanetS.

    For some reason this latest episode is not showing up in iTunes.

    • mkindness

      Sorry about this! We will fix it as soon as we can. But it may not be until tomorrow.

      Apologies and thanks in advance for your patience!

      • Tomorrow may be overstating it. At this point there’s not much we can do but wait for iTunes to update its feed. From what I’ve read on the web, it could be a day or two. Sorry!

        • JanetS.

          It’s up now.

    • Deb

      Glad it’s not just me!

  • E Alanis

    My ten year old daughter and I have read a few books together. The one and Only Ivan is the first book we tried. I read it first and that encouraged her to pick it up. We have also read Wonder and Max together. Max is adapted from a screenplay, but we still haven’t seen the movie. Next, she has challenged me to try the Harry Potter series.

  • Elizabeth Erazo

    I just wanted to point out that there may be good reasons for younger readers to be split between males and females other than book selections. Mainly, I’ve read that studies show that young women tend to pull back from conversations around a certain age when there are males present. Studies demonstrate that males tend to dominate mixed-sex conversation groups and the girls that DO speak are seen as “dominating” the conversation, even though they still speak less than the males.

    I’d have to do research to dig up the specific studies, but these might be good reasons (other than book selections) to split up boys and girls of a certain age.

  • Mo86

    Why haven’t new podcasts been showing up on iTunes? The last one I saw was from June of 2014! I figured it was defunct!

    • Not sure why you can’t see them. They are there.

    • Not sure why you can’t see them. They are there.

      • Mo86

        iTunes and I have always had a dysfunctional relationship.

        Sigh. Looks like I have a crapload of catching up to do.

        • sorry for the double reply. Disqus told me it didn’t post the first time.

          Depending on how you listen to podcasts, you may want to investigate one of the podcast apps that have sprung up over the last year or so. I listen mostly on my phone (through my car stereo) so I use Overcast as my podcatcher. Stitcher Radio is also good, though I’m not sure how good they are about going back to older episodes.

  • I LOVE this episode. So many great ideas. And, I would also love, love, love a family holiday reading discussion. How fun would that be? I try to read some of the books my 9 year old is reading, and recommend some of my old favorites. One book that we both recently just read is a graphic novel called “El Deafo” by Cece Bell (https://cecebell.wordpress.com/). She is also married to Tom Angleberger who writes the Origami Yoda series–if that gives you any street cred with your kids. It’s a great look at growing up deaf, and opens up tons of discussion with your kids. Highly recommend it.

  • I’ve been in two different mother-daughter bookclubs with my tween girl and one group had great discussions, but unfortunately not much time to meet, the other is less verbal but meets regularly. Some books that generated some good discussions are: I am Malala, Brown Girl Dreaming, Princess Academy, The Mixed up Files of Basil E. Frankenweiler, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, The Bridge to Terebithia, The Giver, Small as an Elephant and Because of Mr. Terupt. Surprisingly one that really didn’t go over with the girls was Are you there God its me Margaret.

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