May 24

A big announcement. The start of BOTNS Book Bingo. We recommend Everything is Teeth by Evie Wyld and Joe Sumner, and Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. 

 

Listen to the podcast for a big announcement about Books on the Nightstand!

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (11:15) 


Assistants, Camille PerriThe Assistants by Camille Perri, narrated by Jorjeana Marie, is Ann’s 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 100,000 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 Beginning (16:22)

Memorial Day weekend is days away which means the start of Books on the Nightstand Summer Book Bingo! Go to http://tinyurl.com/BOTNSBingo2016, and hit refresh to get a brand new card.

As in the past, the “rules” are what you make them. However, we suggest you:

  • Interpret the categories as you see fit
  • Not use a book for more than one square
  • Use the Free Square for any book that you read that won’t fit in another category

 

Some of the categories and books Ann and I discuss in this episode:

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (32:50)

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I recommend Everything is Teeth, a graphic memoir by Evie Wyld, illustrated by Joe Sumner. It’s the story of Evie’s childhood, some of which she spent visiting family in Australia. She was obsessed with sharks and shark attacks, and those memories and experiences are brought to vivid life via that unusual juxtapositions of art style and color.

Ann recommends Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler. It’s the story of a young woman indoctrinated into working at a high-end NYC restaurant (based on the real-life Union Square Cafe). Stephanie Danler actually did work at the Union Square Cafe and that background brings a level of reality to this work of fiction.

May 18

Sad author news, a roundup of book news featuring girls and women, and two books we can’t wait for you to read.

 

Booklovers, especially Michael,  are mourning the passing of two authors that have touched many with their work.

Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love, died at age 70.

Darwin Cooke, writer and artist of Michael’s favorite superhero graphic novel ever, DC The New Frontier, passed away at the age of 53.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:49):



Be Frank With Me   Be Frank With Me by Julia Claiborne Johnson, narrated by Tavia Gilbert, 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 100,000 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

 

Women and girls in books and bookstores (09:49):

 

This week, we wanted to talk about three unrelated stories, and Michael realized that they all had women at the center.

The winner of Best Novel, Uprooted by Naomi Novik, was an Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week in episode #337, chosen by Michael.

Other winners:

Best Novella: Nnedi Okorafor for Binti

Best Novelette: Sarah Pinsker for “Our Lady of the Open Road,” featured in the June 2015 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction

Best Short Story: Alyssa Wong for “Hungry Daughters of Starving Mothers,” featured in the Oct. 2015 issue of Nightmare Magazine

Winner of the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy: Fran Wilde for Updraft

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (20:41):

 

Smoke   Vitamin N

 

Smoke by Dan Vyleta goes on sale Tuesday May 24th, but march down to your bookstore or library now and reserve your copy. It begins in an exclusive boarding school, and is set in a world that looks a lot like 1900 London, with one exception: when people think bad thoughts or do bad deeds, their body starts to emit thick black smoke. It’s atmospheric, compelling, and full of suspense and adventure.

Michael talks about Vitamin N: The Essential Guide to a Nature-Rich Life by Richard Louv. It’s a book of ideas of things to do outdoors with your family, and talks about the importance of being in nature for family togetherness and other benefits. It’s full of resources and ways to enrich your family life through nature.

 

May 10

Misconstruing the Man Book Club, and we recommend Paper Girls by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, and Everybody’s Fool by Richard Russo.

 

Booktopia was this past weekend, and it was the first Booktopia not organized by us. Northshire Bookstore and the Inn at Manchester put together a wonderful weekend, judging by the comments and photos we saw online. If you weren’t able to attend, but want to read some of the books that were featured, here’s a list.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (02:42) 



Wild Robot, Peter BrownThe Wild Robot by Peter Brown, narrated by Kate Atwater, 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 100,000 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

 

No Women Allowed? (07:18)

A recent New York Times article, called Men Have Book Clubs, Too, led to a bit of discussion on my Facebook page. I made a pretty harsh pronouncement about the members of The Man Book Club, however my opinion was very much colored by the article and by my slight misreading of it. One of their rules (which they admittedly don’t always follow) is no books by a woman about a woman.

Ann and I discuss the possible reasons for this rule and whether it could ever be considered a good thing to limit one’s reading this way.

Be sure to read the group’s blog post, titled An Apologia, where they respond to the omissions in, and misconceptions perpetrated by, the NYT article. And do check out the list of books they have read thus far.

I officially apologize for my original comment!

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (22:24)

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I recommend Paper Girls, Vol. 1, written by Brian K. Vaughan, with art by Cliff Chiang. It’s the story of 4 twelve-year-old paper girls in 1988. It’s the morning after Halloween, and strange “people” are wandering their neighborhood. Are they teenagers still in costume from the night before, or are they something more sinister?

A few weeks ago, Ann recommended Nobody’s Fool for our Don’t You Forget About Me. She read it recently to prepare for reading Richard Russo’s newest book Everybody’s Fool. The new book returns to North Bath, NY. It’s both funny and tragic, and it revisits many of the characters from the first book, as well as introducing some new ones. Ann promises that you don’t have to have read the older book to enjoy the new one!

May 03

So many books, in praise of novellas, and we recommend a new novella by Graham Swift and a novel that is the first in a new science-fiction trilogy.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (03:12)


Hidden BodiesHidden Bodies
by Caroline Kepnes, performed by Santino Fontana, 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 100,000 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

 

One-sit Wonders (07:30)

This week’s episode was inspired by an article on Publishersweekly.com by Cynan Jones called “The Case for Very Short Novels.”

Michael and I talk a bit about the terminology (“novella,” specifically), our relationship to short novels, and how we approach them.

Titles discussed:

  • On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan
  • The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
  • The Clothes They Stood Up In by Alan Bennett
  • Bartleby the Scrivener
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  • The Time Machine by HG Wells
  • Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote
  • The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

More titles are listed on the Wikipedia page for “Novella.”

Please let us know your thoughts on novellas, and share some of your favorites.

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (22:55)

 

Mothering Sunday   Sleeping Giants

 

My pick this week is a novella, Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift. Just 177 pages, it packs a punch that belies its small size. Most of the novel is set in just 5 hours in the spring of 1924, with the story of a young housemaid who spends her day off in an illicit assignation with the son of the wealthy neighbors. There, her life changes in an instant.

Michael takes a different direction, telling us about the first book in a science fiction trilogy. Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Nouvel starts with a young girl, Rose, who falls off her bicycle into a hole in the ground that turns out to be a chamber that is actually a metal hand. Fast forward 20 years, and Rose is a physicist who is helping to investigate the origin of this hand and what it means.

 

 

 

 

 

Apr 26

Litsy, Book Awards,  plus, don’t you forget about 84, Charing Cross Road and Nobody’s Fool.

Ann and I are both on Litsy, a new photo-focused book-based social media app (usernames AnnKingman and mkindness). The one problem we’re encountering is posting about a book that we’re reading electronically in manuscript form; they’re not very photogenic!
So, check out Litsy and let us know what you think!

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:17)

Mr. Splitfoot, Samantha HuntMr. Splitfoot by Samantha Hunt, narrated by Cassandra Campbell and Emily Woo Zeller, 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 100,000 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

 

A New Batch of Book Awards (07:42)

Unlike movie awards, awards for books seem to be given out throughout the year. Recently announced were the Indies Choice Awards and the E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards for 2016, both of which were voted on by Independent Booksellers around the US. The full list of winners and honor books can be found here. Below are the winners we mentioned on the podcast.

Congratulations to all the winners and the runners-up!

 

Don’t You Forget About Me (18:36)

 

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Within the past few weeks, posts from two different book lovers wrote statuses that showed in my Facebook feed. They had each read, for the first time, 84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. It’s something that all book lovers should read, and a book I only read myself a few years ago.

Though it’s an older book, Ann only recently read Nobody’s Fool by Richard Russo. On paper, Donald “Sully” Sullivan doesn’t seem like a character you’d fall in love with. He’s a drinking, gambling, womanizer who lives in a dying town in upstate New York. But Ann says he’s a character that you’ll long remember.

Apr 19

This week, we bring you three authors from Booktopia Petoskey (September 2015), each of whom gives a short talk about their work (or other things).

These are always very entertaining, so please do listen and check out these wonderful authors’ books. Many thanks to our authors and to the fabulous McLean & Eakin Bookstore for hosting us.

 

Lauren Fox   

 

   

   Official author photo of Jim Ottaviani, who says, “More serious author photos than this self-portrait are available, as are print-ready images from any of our books — please contact us for more information. But I’m fond of this one, and hope you’d at least consider using it, since it’s the closest I’ll ever get to the moon.”

 

   

 

 

Apr 12

“April Showered” with listener questions. Plus, we recommend Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh, and Geek Parenting by Stephen H. Segal and Valya Dudycz Lupescu.

Thanks to all of you who commented on episode 375 with suggestions for adult books that can be ready by a precocious 9-year-old. And, in a follow-up to episode 376, listener Mitzi shared info on a local library’s seed library.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:38) 


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan StevensonJust Mercy
by Bryan Stevenson, narrated by the author, 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

 

Showered with Questions (08:12)

Marchelle A.D. asked about book trailers, and why they exist. Some people think they’re pretty awful, but there are a few that we think are funny (B.J. Novak/Mindy Kaling, Gary Shteyngart) and some are viral and don’t even mention the book.

Jessie from Montana asked if the reading we do for work happens during work hours or during evenings and weekends. We definitely do our work reading in off hours, and that’s the case for most of the publishing and bookstore industry.

MaryAnne from Oceanside CA asked if either Ann or I write or wanted to be a published author. Ann did want to be an author, until she started working in publishing, and realized how hard it would be! As for me, other than an extremely derivative short science fiction story in grade school, I’ve never really enjoyed writing. I much prefer to read!

Elenor H heard about James Patterson’s generosity toward bookstores, booksellers, and libraries, and wonders if author philanthropy common. Ann found a listing from 2012 of top-earning authors and where they donated funds.

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (30:06)

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Ann recommends Eileen by Otessa Moshfegh, calling it one of the strangest and most intriguing books she’s read in a long time. The main character, Eileen, is an unlikable, terrible person, and she seems to enjoy telling us exactly how awful she is. Yet Ann found the writing compelling and irresistible.

I recommend Geek Parenting by Stephen H. Segal and Valya Dudycz Lupescu, a collection of parental advice brought to life via exceedingly memorable examples from pop culture:

  • “Inheriting dad’s pointed ears does mean a kid is just like dad. That is illogical.”
  • “If they’re creepy and they’re kooky, then you’re the one who’s lucky.”
  • “We should savor life’s sweetness, with or without a golden ticket.”
  • “If you always harp on what they’re doing wrong, you’re teaching them to focus on the dark side.”
Apr 05

We’re thinking about summer, trying not to be book snobs, and raving about The Caped Crusade and Lab Girl.

 

It’s time to start thinking about summer (even though there is snow out my window right now). Specifically, we’d like you to help us create the categories that will appear in this year’s Books on the Nightstand Bingo cards, which will go live sometime around Memorial Day (end of May). You may add your suggestions to the Google form. Before you add your categories, please do check our existing categories to see if you idea has been taken. This will help us not have to filter through a lot of duplicates. Thank you for your help.

 

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (03:39)

The Nest The Nest, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney read by Mia Barron 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

When a friend discovers the joy of reading, but you don’t like her taste (08:16)

We received this email from a listener:

A friend–not a close one, but a long-term one–has JUST discovered books (at 63!). She read a whole series and got so excited about how HILARIOUS they are that she mailed all three books in the series to me and is now dying to have me read them AND REPORT!

I’m thrilled she’s reading–truly I am–but when the books arrived and I began dipping into them, I immediately recognized they are NOT MY CUP O’ TEA!… I am skimming so I can talk about them with her–clearly what she desires–but I can hardly bear the thought of saying anything to her about them.

I may be (am) a book snob, but I surely do not want to be discovered as such, and I sure don’t want to rain on her new reading hobby. What shall I do? What would YOU do??

Our listener also posted this question on Goodreads and had a number of good suggestions, including helping the new reader to find a book club with similar tastes, and telling the friend that you’ve been reading so long that you like more “experimental” fiction. Michael and I firmly believe that the main thing is to not make the new reader feel judged, but we’re not exactly sure how best to do that. I’m in favor of asking the new reader what she liked about the book series, and then finding similar books to recommend. Michael worries that the new reader will infer that you want to read them together. It’s a tricky spot, but we love that our listener wants to encourage her friend to keep reading.

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (20:30)

 

Caped Crusade   Lab Girl

Michael recommends The Caped Crusade: Batman and the Rise of Nerd Culture by Glen Weldon. It’s a cultural and sociological history of Batman, organized by “eras” of Batman.

I can’t wait for you read Lab Girl by Hope Jahren, a book that is part memoir, part love letter to science and plants. You’ll never look at a tree the same way again.

Mar 29

Three mini topics. Plus, don’t you forget about Bel Canto by Ann Patchett and Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon.

In addition to candy, my kids got books for Easter. Later that day, Friends came over and we gave their daughter a late birthday gift: a signed copy of Demon Dentist by David Walliams. At one point during the sugar-fueled antics of the day, I looked into the living room to see my son and their daughter reading quietly. It was wonderful!

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (06:44)

Turner House, Angela FlournoyThe Turner House by Angela Flournoy, narrated by Adenrele Ojo, 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

 

Ten Books, a Whale, and a Library Farm (11:44)

A few different mini topics this week:

 

Don’t You Forget About Me (27:07)

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Ann recommends an older book that’s new to her: Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, the story of a terrorist attack on a gala birthday party in an unnamed South American country. Ann calls it brilliant and wonders why no one forced her to read it earlier!

Since Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon was first published in 2007, the concept of locavorism has exploded into the mainstream consciousness. Though many people are unlikely to go to the lengths of these authors (eating only food from a 100 mile radius of their home for a full year), readers today will get much information (and entertainment) from this book.

Mar 22

A new podcast; an audiobook narrated by the creator of Hamilton, and questions from the mailbag.

 

This week Michael tells us about a new podcast, This is the Author, published by the audiobooks division of Penguin Random House. It features short conversations with authors who are in the studio narrating their audiobooks. During the course of that discussion, we also talk about In Other Words, the new book by Jhumpa Lahiri which she narrates in both English and Italian.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:43)

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe, by Benjamin Alire Saenz and read by Lin-Manuel Miranda 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

More from the virtual mailbag (11:14)

This week we answer (or try to answer) several listener questions:

Jen from Boston asks:

“My kids and I often listen to the barefoot books podcasts which are essentially folk and fairy tales. Are there any “adult” version of this? Like a podcast that is a short stories being read out loud? I am looking for like 10-15 minute story rather than an entire audiobook. Thanks so much!”

Some ideas for Jen:

Mary from Byfield writes:

I am a retired librarian from a private school in MA. One of my former students contacted me recently and asked for book recommendation for her advanced 9 yr old reader(female).This child wants to read adult books. I listen to your Podcasts and wonder if you have ever considered doing a show on adult books for young readers. Or if you and Michael have any personal recommendations for this query. Thanks for any help…a loyal listener and a die hard reader. Ann…thought you’d like to know the next book to be read on my nightstand is A Little Life…

We were a little stumped on this one, so we’re looking to our listeners for ideas. A few thoughts we had:

  • Michael immediately thought of Uprooted by Namoi Novik
  • I think this is a great time to introduce classics, because kids of this age aren’t yet intimidated by classics. In our house, we started with reading aloud Oliver Twist and Great Expectations, and then my daughter moved on to books that interested her, like Les Miserables, after she had seen the movie.
  • Have your friend take her daughter into a library or bookstore and let the experts work with the child to figure out what she might like.

 

spancho asks:

Is there a single resource for keeping abreast of author lectures and signings? I’d like to hear Hanya Yanagihara but she doesn’t seem to have a website… I’m so pleased with the 2016 TOB authors and I’d like to hear from as many of them as possible!

We don’t know of one, though that’s a great idea! We recommend that you go to Library Thing and click the “Local” tag (free membership required). That should give you a list of author events near you. Other options are to subscribe to newsletters from bookstores and libraries near you, and to check out author festivals. You may have luck with a particular author by looking at the publisher’s website to see if a tour is listed.

Pat8 inquires:

I’m trying to remember where I heard recommendations for novels that revolve around book sellers/bookstores. Len at The Kindle Chronicles thought he’d heard something like this several years ago as well. I’ve asked over on the Goodreads group as well. Do you remember a list of recommendations like this from a podcast of yours?

In BOTNS #138, we talked about Books About Books, including The Borrower by Rebecca Makkai, which is about a children’s librarian, and 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff.

Goodreads has a list of Books about Bookstores, including Mr. Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore, The Storied Life of AJ Fikry.

Other titles discussed:

Two books we can’t for you to read (31:06)

 

   

Michael recommends The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu, which is a wonderful collection of short stories. The title story is about a young man and his mother who makes origami animals. Please do check out this collection; Ken Liu is a brilliant writer who transcends genre.

I fell in love with The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota, which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize this past year but will be published in the US on March 29th. It’s the story of 3 young men who immigrate illegally from India to England, and what they go through in order to make a better life for themselves and their families.

 

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