Sep 23

During Booktopia Asheville, podcaster extraordinaire Simon Savidge, of The Readers, You Wrote the Book, and Hear…Read This!, sat down with Ann and me to answer questions that had been submitted by Booktopia attendees earlier in the weekend.

You’ll learn a lot about all three of us, but this is only half the conversation… Head over to The Readers to hear PART 2!

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Sep 16

 A novel that won’t be read for 100 years; reading goals (or not) for the fall, and two books of nonfiction that we can’t wait for you to read.

 

Why I’m exploring human cryogenic preservation

 

Margaret Atwood has been invited to be the first author to participate in The Future Library project. Atwood will write a new book for the project. However, it won’t be printed and published until 2114.

This is a very cool project, undertaken by Scottish artist Katie Paterson, and I’m just sad that I won’t be around to read Atwood’s book.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (08:17)


The Miniaturist     The Miniaturist by Jesse Burton, read by Davina Porter, 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 40,000 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

Looking backward, looking forward (12:49)

 

in this segment, Michael and I look back on our summer reading, including Beach Blanket Book Bingo, and talk about our reading in the months ahead.

We are going to keep the Bingo cards up, but we won’t be doing another official Book Bingo challenge until next summer. We’ll announce our plans and take suggestions for categories in February.

Basically, Michael and I are not making reading promises this fall. We’re going to read whatever we want, with no particular reading goals. Michael will also be reading for his Coursera class on The Graphic Novel that starts on September 22nd.

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (23:46)

 

The Teacher Wars      Happiness of Pursuit

 

The Teacher Wars by Dana Goldstein is the book that I can’t wait for you to read this week. I recommend it for anyone who has kids or is interested in the public education system. It’s first a history of teaching, but it also shows how we got to the place where we are now, with the controversies and turmoil that are in the news right now.

Michael recommends The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau, a book that looks at the benefits that come from working toward a quest, whether big or small — something that is challenging but has an attainable goal. This book has Michael thinking about undertaking a quest of his own.

Sep 09

Due to audio recording difficulties, this week’s episode is short. But, we still manage to recommend an audiobook, plus The Children Act by Ian McEwan and Rainey Royal by Dylan Landis.

 

Due to technical difficulties and an incomplete audio file, we have a short episode this week, one that has been stitched together from several different recordings. We will return next week with a full episode – recording equipment willing!

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (01:54)


Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor, Jon ScieszkaFrank Einstein and the Anti-Matter Motor 
by Jon Scieszka, narrated by Jon Scieszka and Brian Briggs,  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 40,000 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

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (05:29)

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Big surprise.. Ann loved Ian McEwan’s new book The Children Act! It’s not like he’s her favorite author or anything. McEwan’s new book, about a British Family Court judge whose own family is starting to fracture, is short, but Ann read it slowly, savoring McEwan’s wonderful prose.

Dylan Landis’s Rainey Royal tells the story of Rainey from age 14 through her mid-20’s. She lives, sometimes, with her father, a jazz musician more interested in his fawning acolytes than in his daughter. Her and her friends find themselves in situations that are comic, uncomfortable, and often dangerous. Rainey, her friends, and their stories will stay with me for a long time.

Sep 02

A grant that allows writers to spend time reading, and Michael and I both talk about Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel.

Getting Paid to Read:

 

Booker Prize winner Eleanor Catton, author of The Luminaries, has announced that she will be using her prize money to give writers time to read. We love this idea and wish we could apply. This Guardian article gives a great overview of Catton’s plans and reasons. Bravo, Eleanor Catton!

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (12:15)

In the Kingdom of Ice

 

In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides, narrated by Arthur Morey,  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 40,000 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 book we can’t wait for you to read, and that we can’t stop talking about (13:30):

 

Station Eleven

 

Once again, Michael and I planned to talk about the same book for our “Two books we can’t wait to read” segment. Rather than come to blows over who got to talk about it, we started discussing it — and it turned into a bigger discussion. So we stopped before we got too far, hit “record” and turned it into this segment. The book is Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven, which is on sale September 9th. Trust us on this one — order a copy from your bookstore, reserve it from your library, whatever it takes to get this in your hands right away.

I don’t want to boil down our discussion to a few bullet points, so you’ll just have to listen. Sorry. But really, we want you to listen. If you are receiving this by email, you can listen by clicking the ‘download file’ link at the bottom of the email.

Aug 26

 

This week we bring you the first two author talks from Booktopia Boulder, recorded at Boulder Book Store. Please enjoy these talks from Jonathan Miles, author of Want Not, and Kristi Helvig, author of Burn Out.

 

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Aug 19

Remembering what happened in a series. A question about jacket copy. We recommend What We See When We Read and Cover, both by Peter Mendelsund.

Series Confusion

Angela from Wisconsin asks how to complete the details in a book series fresh in your mind when there is often a year or more in between books. My trick is to first check out the book’s Wikipedia page, as the book synopsis can be quite detailed, and can be enough to refresh your memory. If you’re trying to remember what happened in the books of George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series, you should definitely check out A Wiki of Ice and Fire, which includes book synopses, and more detailed synopses for each chapter. An app, called The World of Ice and Fire, lets you view all information about the books and characters, only up to as far as you’ve read.

Many authors are experts at weaving in, as you read the new book, what you need to know from the previous books. And some series don’t have to be read in order so some books will hint at what has happened before that give background to the characters. In comics and graphic novels, there is sometimes a page along the lines of “The Story So Far…” and that’s something that I love to see, and it makes it so much easier to jump right into the story.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (11:10)

Giver, Lois LowryThe Giver by Lois Lowry, narrated by Ron Rifkin,  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 40,000 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 Jacket Copy Question (13:41)

Jane emailed us a question about jacket copy, the descriptions of the story that grace book jackets. She wondered who writes it, does the author have any say in what it says, why does it sometimes give away too much. These are questions that neither Ann nor I could answer so we contacted some of our editor friends. We got several responses and it’s clear that there are no single answers for any of these questions. What we did find out is that the copy is meant to introduce the reader to the book and to give a sense of the story as well as the writing style and what the book evokes. The copy can be written by the editor, or someone in the marketing department. Sometimes even the pitch the agent wrote captures the book so perfectly that it will be used as jacket copy. And, if the author doesn’t have a hand in the writing of it, they certainly see it and can give their approval.

Regarding spoilers, one of the editors we contacted acknowledged the balancing act that must be struck. Do you describe a key event that happens 50 pages in? It’s a key part of the story, but is it a spoiler?

Finally, we learned that jacket copy is often changed from hardcover to paperback, and, very rarely, when a hardcover is reprinted.

 

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Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read, Both by the Same Author (26:33)

Peter Mendelsund is the Associate Art Director for Alfred A. Knopf, and he has just released two books.

Ann recommends What We See When We Read, a fully illustrated look at how we visualize images while reading. He explores the way an author can describe a character even when he’s not actually describing them, along with many other examinations of the path between word, eye, brain, and our perceived image.

Cover is Peter’s oversized, full-color, hardcover that looks at his design work for book jackets, as well as his process. The book includes many failed ideas for famous books such as Stieg Larsson’s Millennium Trilogy and All That Is by James Salter. He describes his creative process in detail and the book also features essays from authors, sharing their thoughts on Peter’s designs for their book.

Aug 12

It’s here! The new novel from Haruki Murakami, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage, is officially on sale. We can’t attend one of the many midnight parties, so we’re having our own, with this “early release” episode of BOTNS!

 

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki

 

We’re honored to host two special guests on this week’s “Murakami Madness” episode of Books on the Nightstand. Tonight at midnight, independent bookstores across the US will be hosting Murakami parties where fans can be among the first to purchase Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. This novel sold more than one million copies in the first week in Japan! In an effort to find out what all the madness is about, we talk to bookseller Jeremy Ellis, and super-fan Christian Paula. Listen in for some great conversation (and some less-than-stellar sound quality — as always, we apologize and hope that you’ll find the content worth the audio issues with remote and telephone recording).

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:50)

south of the border, west of the sun   South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami, read by Eric Loren, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week. And as always, special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 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

 

#Murakamania (09:10)

 

Norwegian Wood

 

A great coversation with Jeremy Ellis, General Manager of Brazos Bookstore in Houston, TX. Brazos is hosting one of the many midnight Murakami parties tonight, and we talk to Jeremy to find out more. They’ll be having activities like “Pin the Kafka on the Shore,” and each person who purchases a copy of Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage will receive a free Murakami coloring book. But don’t despair: you can order your own copy of What We Talk About When We Talk About Coloring from Brazos Bookstore online.

 

Murakami SuperFan! (18:58)

 

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman

 

Next we talk with Murakami fan Christian Paula to find out his thoughts about Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. Did it live up to his expectations?

Christian suggests that the reader new to Murakami start with his stories, such as the collection Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. To begin with a novel, Christian recommends Norwegian Wood.

Christian can be found on twitter at @drowningn00b, and he writes about Korean indie music at koreanindie.com

Aug 05

First, a note about author P.S. Duffy’s response to our “Read Whatever You Want” episode, and a tease about next week’s podcast. Then, authors P.S. Duffy and Kelly Corrigan, live from Booktopia, VT.

 

A last, and special, “Read Whatever You Want” follow-up

 

We were honored to host author P.S. Duffy (The Cartographer of No Man’s Land) at Booktopia Vermont this past April, and it was truly wonderful to have the opportunity to spend time with such a warm and fiercely intelligent person. So we were delighted when Penny sent us a letter in response to our “Read Whatever You Want” episode. We tried to read parts of it on our call-in show, but there just was no way to do justice to Penny’s very eloquent and thoughtful letter. It needed to be read in its entirety. You can read it here, and we’d love to know your thoughts.

Also, we’ll have a special episode next week we’re calling “Midnight Murakami,” in honor of the release of Haruki Murakami’s new novel, Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage. We can’t attend one of the many midnight bookstore parties in celebration of the novel, so we’re going to release the episode at 12:01 am on Tuesday, August 12th.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:37)

The True Meaning of Smekday   The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex, read by Bahni Turpin, is my pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week. Special thanks to Stanley Hadsell of Market Block Books in Troy, NY for the recommendation!

And as always, special thanks to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring this episode of Books on the Nightstand.

Audiobooks.com allows you to listen to over 40,000 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

 

P.S. Duffy and Kelly Corrigan, live from Booktopia Vermont (08:02)

 

The Cartographer of No Man's Land   Glitter and Glue

 

We’re pleased to present the final two author talks from Booktopia Vermont:  P.S. Duffy, author of The Cartographer of No Man’s Land, and Kelly Corrigan, author of Glitter and Glue.

Jul 29

Authors writing under other names. We look at the 2014 Man Booker Prize Longlist. We recommend The Other Language by Francesca Marciano and The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman. 

Authors Hiding in Plain Sight

Brian from Redondo Beach, CA asked why The Silkworm was published under the name Robert Galbraith, when nearly everyone knows that’s a pseudonym for JK Rowling. Authors choose pseudonyms for many reasons, two of the most popular being wanting to write in a genre different from the one in which they are already known, and wanting to have the books written pseudonymously judged on their own merits, and not compared to the author’s other work. Some authors who have written under other names include:

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (09:49)

Guests on Earth, Lee SmithGuests on Earth by Lee Smith, narrated by 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 40,000 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 2014 Man Booker Prize Longlist (12:42)

This year’s Booker Prize Longlist was announced last week, and it’s the first since the rules were updated to put into contention any book written in English, not just books written by a citizen of the UK commonwealth. Many (Americans included) feared that this new rule would lead to glut of US contenders, but, of the 13 titles on the longlist, only four were written by Americans. The shortlist of 6 finalists will be announced on September 9, and the winner will be unveiled on October 14. You can see the full list here.

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (24:12)

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Ann recommends The Other Language by Francesca Marciano, a book she calls a “literary vacation.” It’s a collection of short stories that should appeal to people who don’t like short stories. The title story is one Ann’s favorites in this collection.

I was thrilled to read The Magician’s Land, the final book in Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy. It’s a wonderful conclusion to the story and does a great job wrapping up story lines and character arcs. This series has been bought for television, so don’t wait too long to read it!

Jul 22

A race for the Bingo!, Listeners call in about episode #286, Amy Bloom’s new novel, and a book on helping your kids stay organized.


Michael and I appear to be in a race to the BINGO! though neither of us will achieve it any time soon. We’ve loved seeing your BINGO reports on our Goodreads group, and I’ve added a bunch of books to my to read list from that thread.

There’s still time to participate in our Summer Reading Bingo! Click here to get your personalized BOTNS Bingo card — just be sure to hit refresh once or twice after you click the link.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:53)


This is the story of a happy marriageThis is the Story of a Happy Marriage , 
written and performed by Ann Patchett, 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 40,000 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

Listeners Weigh In (09:23):

We asked for your thoughts on BOTNS #286: Read Whatever You Want, and six of you called in with your thoughts. Unfortunately, Elaine’s comment had some technical issues so that we couldn’t use it on the podcast. We present the remaining five calls without comment, but they all have something great to say. I really loved hearing your thoughts — thanks to all who called in.

Please do feel free to call our BOTNS Voicemail line at any time to let us know your thoughts. Just dial (209) 867-7323.

Thanks to Ashley, Bill, Carol K., Anonymous, and Michelle in Colorado!

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (21:01):

Lucky Us   That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week

Michael talks about Amy Bloom’s Lucky Us, which goes on sale next week (July 29).  Lucky Us starts in 1939 small town Ohio, where main character Eva discovers that her father has a second family and that she has a half-sister. Much of the story is told through letters between the two sisters.

I talk about That Crumpled Paper Was Due Last Week by Ana Homayoun. The subtitle of the book–Helping Disorganized and Distracted Boys Succeed in School and Life–is somewhat misleading, as I found this to be very helpful in dealing with my daughter’s chronic disorganization. I think that this would be a good book for parents of pre-teens and teens to read before school starts, and I’m going to re-read it to get a refresher on the tips and techniques.

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