Jun 23, 2010
An update on the Books on the Nightstand Weekend Retreat, including lodging and rates. We look at the importance (or unimportance?) of bestsellers lists. Next, we discuss books where the setting is so important it becomes a character in its own right, and we end with two books we can't wait for you to read.
We have officially announced the lodging options and rates for
the Books on the Nightstand Weekend Retreat! Be sure to visit
page on our Goodreads
group for all the details. And don't forget to sign up for
the BOTNS Weekend Retreat Email
Newsletter to stay up-to-date!
Ann and I discuss the role of bestseller lists for today's book buying public, and Ann tells us about the history of the book bestseller list. One interesting aspect was British publishing's reluctance to embrace the concept of bestseller lists. You can read more about that here. The Washington Post recently had an article that featured the Top 10 bestselling books for each decade (from 1910s to 1990s) as pulled from Publishers Weekly. What a fascinating trip down memory lane - with a few very obscure stops along the way!
Mrs. Somebody Somebody, a book I recently spoke about, could be said to have the city of Lowell, MA as its main character. Ann and I have come up with a few more books that feature a setting that takes on character status. The one that immediately sprang to mind for me was The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, a book that is set in Barcelona and which I read before going to that city. I made sure to visit several of the sites mentioned in the book. A comic book series which has a wonderful sense of place is DMZ by Brian Wood, with art by Riccardo Burchielli. Set in the near future, during the second American Civil War, the story follows Matty Roth, a photojournalist, and the only journalist embedded in Manhattan, the demilitarized zone between the two warring armies. Ann tells us about Lauren Belfer's City of Light, a book that came out 1999 and that Ann has been recommending ever since. The city-as-character here is Buffalo of 1901, whose people are preparing for the Pan-American Exposition and are readying Niagara Falls for hydro-electric power. Lauren Belfer has a new book out called A Fierce Radiance which follows a Life magazine photographer in New York City during the early days of World War II.
I was pleasantly surprised to find that Scott Huler, author of Defining the Wind, which I loved, has a new book out. It's called On the Grid and in it he traces all of the elements of infrastructure (water, electricity, roads, sewage, telephone) outwards from his house in Raleigh, NC. It's a fascinating read so far, and I'm learning a lot. Ann recommends The Quickening by Michelle Hoover, the story of the friendship between Enidina (or "Eddie") and Mary, the wives of farmers who live near each other in 1900's Midwest.