Nov 24

A statement of disclosure; a cornucopia of links, and two books that we don’t want you to forget about.


We received a comment asking us to let listeners know when we talk about a book if we’ve gotten it for free, and to mention when it is discounted. Much of what we read is for work, usually before the book is available to the public. Other times, books are sent to us by publicists who hope that we will cover the book on the podcast. When we accept books from publicists, we are careful to let them know that we may not talk about it. Though we do purchase many books ourselves, for the purposes of this blog and podcast, it is easiest to assume that we have received the books for free. At no time does the cost (or lack of cost) of a book determine if we talk about it on the podcast. We only talk about books that we recommend, and our recommendations are not determined by the price that we pay.

We also don’t mention specific retailers or sales when recommending books. We encourage you to buy books from your preferred source. When we mention a price, we mention the publisher’s suggested retail price. Many booksellers, both online and bricks and mortar, discount some selection of books, be it bestsellers, books sold at an author event, staff picks, etc. The books discounted vary widely between retailers. It’s easier for us to just mention the retail price of the book, and let our listeners buy the book where they choose.”


audiobooksAudiobook of the week (07:47)

Dumplin'    Dumplin‘,
 written by Julie Murphy and narrated by Eileen Stevens, 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


Cornucopia Redux (11:30)

In what appears to be an annual tradition, today’s episode is a mishmash of topics: things that we found interesting but that don’t warrant an entire show. We hope you enjoy!

Thanks to Hypertext Magazine for interviewing us! If you haven’t yet explored Hypertext, please do — it’s a great online magazine featuring fiction, essays, and articles.

Margaret Atwood has lent her name to a line of Certified Bird-Friendly coffee that is available at Balzac Coffee in Canada. This topic is raised in Atwood’s novel The Year of the Flood, and I love the real-life way to help the cause.

After the horrible terrorist attacks in Paris, Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast has seen a resurgence in sales. Many think that the book represents the best of the French way of life and is a way to celebrate freedom and not let the terrorists win.

The New Yorker has announced that it will periodically feature novellas on its online site, chosen by Fiction Editor Deborah Treisman. The first one, In Hindsight by Callan Wink, is up this week alongside an interview with the author. Some of our favorite novellas are those in Melville House’s “The Art of the Novella” series, On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes’ The Sense of an Ending, and the forthcoming novella from Graham Swift, Mothering Sunday (which will be published in the US in April 2016).

We liked this Time Magazine article on the history of Young Adult as its own category. Did you know that the category developed through the efforts of librarians?

A listener emailed us this article from Inside Higher Ed: Station Eleven and an Idea for a Cross-Disciplinary Course on Collapse,” by Joshua Kim. It’s a fascinating discussion (continued in the comments) about using literature to explore the resilience of the human spirit in the face of societal collapse. Michael is reading a novel in this category called The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis (coming in July 2016) that would fit into this topic.

Author and BOTNS friend Matthew Dicks has launched a new podcast called Boy Vs. Girl, cohosted with sociologist Rachel Leventhal-Weiner, talking about gender and gender stereotypes. It’s fun, entertaining and informative, and I think many of our listeners will enjoy it.

And lastly, we tell you about Give A Book, a program sponsored by our employers, Penguin Random House. For every use of the hashtag #GiveABook on Twitter or Facebook between now and December 25th, Penguin Random House will donate one book (up to 35,000) to First Book, a literacy organization that puts books into the hands of children. In addition, if you want to find a place near you where you can donate a book that will go into your local community, please check out the Give A Book Giving Map, which will help you find a bookstore near you that is sponsoring a book drive or other charitable program to get books to those who need them.

NOTE: Our annual holiday BOTNS Gift Guide will go live on Friday morning November 27, 2015. We’ll post the link here when we have it, and it will also be featured on the sidebar at


Don’t you forget about me (30:29)


The Virgin Suicides   Ella Minnow Pea

Michael recommends The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides, which is in a new, small hardcover Picador Classics edition. It’s the story of five sisters in a suburb of Detroit and their demise, told from the point of view of the boys in the neighborhood.

My pick is Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, a novel told in letters. It’s set on the island of Nollop (off the coast of South Carolina) and it tells the story of what happens when, one by one, a society outlaws the use of specific letters of the alphabet. It’s a real treat for language lovers!

  • Carol Kubala

    Thank you for answering the question from your listener about the cost of the books you discuss, whether they are free or discounted, with honesty and decorum.
    As a long time listener of the podcast I have always known that many of the books you mention are free but also feel that they are books you’ve chosen without strings attached or compensation.
    You have always stated that BOTNS is a personal project of two book lovers.
    When you questioned each other whether you had anything to add to the question that had been asked all I could think of is in fair disclosure could you please tell us your age and weight?
    Happy Thanksgiving – I am thankful to have you both in my life.

    • mkindness

      I’m 29, and I weigh 175 pounds, all of it lean muscle.

      Thanks Carol, Happy Thanksgiving!!

      • Carol Kubala


  • Well since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, if I were to tell you my weight today, it would be wrong tomorrow 🙂
    Happy Thanksgiving, Carol. We are thankful for you!

    • Carol Kubala

      Thank you. Didn’t you know, Thanksgiving is a no calorie day?

  • Suzze Myers Tiernan

    Ella Minnow Pea is one of my all-time favorite books! Glad to see it mentioned. BTW, your gift guide should probably be released in 2015, as it might be outdated by 2016. 🙂

  • Bookworm9798

    I popped over to check out the links in the show notes and will chime in to say that I’m thankful for you both as well. BOTNS is one of my don’t-miss podcasts and I have discovered so many amazing books through your recommendations over the years. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks you so much! Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Guilty Feat

    Wow, Thanks so much for taking the time to address my issue. I really appreciate it. I did not mean to be holding your feet to the fire, but it was interesting to hear how seriously you took the question.

    I guess the truth is that it comes down to authenticity and relatability. I listened to the latest podcast this morning and heard a review of a YA book that you were contractually obliged to deliver based on your relationship with Audible. Your review did not entice me. Then right at the end of the show you each came alive when talking about The Virgin Suicides (which I bought in a Half Price Books in Texas) and Ella Minnow Pea (which I bought in an Adult/remaindered book shop on the Charing Cross Road in London). I love both those books. I loved hearing you recommend them.

    Right at the end of your discussion of my point, Ann confessed to spending more money than was sensible on books even though she gets many for free. Those are the books I want to hear her talk about.

    I’m sorry for being such a downer. I’m pretty sure it’s not you, it’s me. I meant to come with constructive things to say, not just things I missed, but I don’t think I succeeded.


    For the record, I am 46 and a half and morbidly, yet genially, obese.

    • Thanks. Just to be clear, we are never contractually obligated to provide a review for anyone — we are contractually obligated to deliver a segment of the podcast where we talk about ANY audiobook available on (and those are also available at other audiobook retailers). We choose the books, we listen to part or all, and we talk about it. Often these are books that we want to read but haven’t gotten to, so we listen on audio. Perhaps the difference you find in the segments can be explained by the fact that we can’t always listen to the entire audio, since they are often 13+ hours and if we don’t enjoy an audio we won’t mention it so we are often listening to more than one audio a week.

      Happy Thanksgiving!

  • Britany Arnold

    I just discovered this podcast… and I am in love! Thank you both so much for bringing my literary love in podcast form that I can relate to, and I have to admit that I really am thankful for the detailed show notes that you post online (Wish more podcasts were as thorough as you are). Can’t wait to hear this week’s episode.

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