Nov 10

Amazon’s new brick and mortar bookstore; our reading plans for 2016; an illustrated book about weather and a new book by Cheryl Strayed.


We got a lot of email requests to discuss Amazon’s new brick and mortar bookstore in Seattle, Amazon Books. Neither Michael nor I has been there, and we don’t really know very much. Several reporters have visited and reported back, and there have been other articles speculating about Amazon’s motivation for opening a brick and mortar bookstore. If any of you have visited, let us know what you think.


audiobooksAudiobook of the week (09:26)

The Heart Goes Last    The Heart Goes Last
 written by Margaret Atwood and narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Mark Deakins, is my pick for this week’s Audiobook of the Week.

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


Planning ahead for 2016 (15:24)


There’s a thread in our Goodreads group called 2016 Reading Plans, where listeners are discussing personal reading challenges and strategies for 2016. The idea arose to read one book a month from a list of BOTNS’s listener favorites. We’d love for you to include your favorites on the list: your favorite book of all time, and your favorite book published in 2015. You can enter your choices in this form, which we will post in the near future.

My plan is to spend some of 2016 focused on the personal essay. A few weeks back I talked about Sarah Bakewell’s How To Live and how much it made me interested in Montaigne, who is considered to be the first personal essayist. So now I want to read Montaigne, and I also want to explore other personal essays to discover for myself what I like and what I don’t about reading essays.

Michael started out by saying that he was going to just read whatever he wants whenever he wants, but stick to reading one book at a time. But then as our conversation continues, it turns out that he also wants to read from a list of short stories. Of course I couldn’t let that pass, so I recommended 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories, edited by Lorrie Moore with coeditor Heidi Pitlor.

The Complete Essays of Montaigne  100 Years of the Best American Short Stories



Two books we can’t wait for you to read (28:38)


Thunder and Lightning    Brave Enough


Michael recommends Thunder and Lightning: Weather Past, Present, and Future by Lauren Redniss, a graphic nonfiction book of science that it illustrated with incredible images that tell the story of weather in a very unique way. Redniss looks at weather throughout history, from the scientific aspects to the human interest stories behind weather events. It’s gorgeous and informative, and very visual, so please do go take a look at the finished book in your local bookstore. Redniss is the author of Radioactive, a book about Marie Curie that was the first illustrated nonfiction to be nominated for a National Book Award.

My pick for this week is Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed. This is a book of quotes from Cheryl Strayed’s work: Wild and Tiny, Beautiful Things are represented here, but there are also quotes from her interviews and other writings. Strayed’s words have inspired many, and people have enjoyed sharing quotes from her work via social media. This collection takes the words out of the context in which they originally appeared, which gives them a weight and power of their own. It’s a great gift, which Strayed describes as a “mini instruction manual for the soul.”

  • Guilty Feat

    Hey guys. I’m a recent convert to your podcast and listened to this latest episode on my way to work in Tel Aviv this morning. While I appreciate the disclosure at the end about your day jobs, I feel there is another element missing from your recommendations. The Redniss book linked above feels very pricey to me and not something I’m likely to have discovered for myself. I read a fair number of graphic works each year and I’m always looking for a new suggestion, but I would like to have heard whether you bought this book with your own money or were sent it/given it for free to review. Free copies do not invalidate a review – there are a ton of documentaries that I might never have seen if I hadn’t read a review from someone who saw them at critics’ screenings – but, for me at least, they place the review in context.

    On a side note, while I was put off hearing from you that the book was $35, finding out that Amazon is selling it for $19.25 ($14.99 for Kindle) would have been valuable information. I get that you don’t necessarily want to promote sales through Amazon, but as a reader, I simply can’t afford to spend $35 plus tax in a bricks and mortar store when I can get the same thing for $19.25 including free shipping.

    Just my ILS 0.02 (roughly USD 0.005). Thanks for a great show.

    • mkindness

      Thanks for these comments Guilty Feat!

      We will address them on the podcast in two weeks (we have a special episode scheduled for next week).

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  • Ann, last year I took a class on creative non-fiction. Before taking that class I did not have any appreciation of or enjoyment in reading essays. Those that I connected with best are more of the lyric essay variety and include Joni Tevis, Lia Purpura, and of course the amazing Annie Dillard. I thought you might need something to break up the Montaigne. 🙂

    • Thank you. Annie Dillard is definitely on the list, and I will seek out the other two. thanks!

  • kjsmulvihill

    Hi Ann and Michael, about reading essays, have you had a chance to read ‘Letters of Note’ by the host of the blog with the same name? E.B. White’s letters are as inspiring as his essays published in the New Yorker. (This also makes a great coffee table gift for anyone!). It includes facsimiles of the letters and is quite captivating. I think it’s a great tool to encourage children to write letters. Anyway, the letters on the blog and in the book (second volume is now available) are so eloquently written that they are like essay writing. I also want to recommend George Orwell’s Politics and the English Language. I first read it in a college anthology. He writes so well that now I want to frame the whole essay! Anyway, happy reading and hope you have a great Thanksgiving! Kristen

    • Thank you! I haven’t read much EB White beyond his children’s books, but I should rectify that. And Happy Thanksgiving to you, too.

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