Jan 20

Picking books to read on National Readathon Day. We can’t wait for you to read Mort(e) by Robert Repino and The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward.

I have made a decision to alter my New Year’s Reading Resolution slightly. I’m adding a collection of short stories to the current mix of one print book, and one audio book. I’ll only read a story or two in between print books. So I’ll still only be reading one print book at a time, but the story collection will be ongoing. Besides, Ann gave me permission!

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:23)

Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. MilneThe Winnie the Pooh series by A.A. Milne, narrated by Peter Dennis, was recommended to us by listener Kristen, so we’ve chosen it 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

What to Readathon (06:59)

NATIONAL BOOK FOUNDATION INC

National Readathon Day is this Saturday, January 24 (there’s still time to donate to – or join – the Books on the Nightstand Team!). What will you be reading from 12-4 on Saturday? A short book or two? Will you start something you’ve been meaning to read? Or, will you make progress in whatever you’re currently reading? Here are some of our suggestions:

Short Books:

Long Books:

and a long graphic novel:

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (21:53)

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So… Mort(e) by Robert Repino… Yeah. This is a tough one to describe so I’ll just dive right in. Hyper-intelligent ants are waging a war against humanity, and have forced the evolution of household pets to use as soldiers.
Look, just trust me, okay? It’s fantastic.

Ann recommends the far less-unusual, but no less riveting novel The Same Sky by Amanda Eyre Ward. This book follows the story of thirteen-year-old Carla, trying to travel illegally from Honduras to Texas, with her younger brother, and the story of Alice, a woman whose quest to adopt a child has just been thwarted.

Jan 13

Writing in books: good or bad? We recommend The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins and Fram by Steve Himmer.

Ann is just back from New York where she saw the stage version of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which was produced in a unique way to capture the flavor of the book. I’m very excited to hear that a local theater in Providence has adapted and is producing a stage version of Barry Unsworth’s Morality Play, a book I love. Broadway goers can look forward to seeing Daphne DuMaurier’s Rebecca on the Great White Way.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (06:49)

Spoiled Brats: Stories, Simon RichSpoiled Brats by Simon Rich, 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 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

Notation or Desecration? (09:04)

Jeff, a BOTNS listener recently started a thread on our Goodreads group about writing and underlining passages in books. He usually reads e-books where he can use the highlight or note feature, but is worried about actually writing in a physical book. Where did the stigma of writing in books come from? Can underlining sentences, or writing notes to yourself enhance your reading experience? If so, do you underline beautiful or striking sentences? Do you note how something in the story makes you feel? Do you speculate on what an event might mean?

One way to highlight a passage in a book without actually marking up the book is to keep highlighted photos in Evernote (I first learned about this via this blog post. And, while searching for that original post, I also came upon this post: 8 Evernote Tips for Book Nerds.)  You can also enter favorite quotes into Goodreads, or copy them into a commonplace book.

Ann also discovered a blog post by Laura Miller, called “How to Write in a Book,” which includes a very in-depth marking-up system by C.S. Lewis.

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (25:17)

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Ann recommends The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, a compelling thriller she “literally couldn’t put down.” Rachel, the main character, is an unreliable narrator who’s nearly always drunk. But, she thinks she’s seen events that led up to a crime, and she can’t help but insert herself into the mystery.

Full disclosure: Fram is written by my friend Steve Himmer. Steve was a guest at our very first BOTNS retreat (before it was even called Booktopia!). His new book follows Oscar, an employee of the Bureau of Ice Prognostication. His job, which, to this point, has been all about fabrications, has just become all too real. He’s no longer in his safe, quiet office, and he really has no idea what is happening to him. This was a fun, literary adventure that I highly recommend!

Jan 06

A discussion with Jynne Martin, one of the folks responsible for National Readathon Day.

My New Year’s resolution of reading only one book at a time has been working incredibly well. On December 31, I was currently reading six books. As of the evening of January 5, I had completed all six of those by focusing on them one at time, giving each my full attention. Now, I don’t start a new book until I’ve finished the last one.

Ann mentioned an article that suggests reading non-fiction during the day, and fiction right before bed. That’s from a list by Austin Kleon called “How to Read More.” He also published “33 Thoughts on Reading,” which I love. Also, here’s a link to the post where I downloaded the “Read a Book Instead” lock-screen image for my iPhone.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (09:55)

Dollbaby: A Novel, Laura L. McNealDollbaby by Laura L. McNeal, narrated by January LaVoy, 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 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 National Readathon Day Discussion with Jynne Martin (13:05)

This week we present a conversation Ann had with Jynne Martin, Publicity Director and Associate Publisher at Riverhead Books, a division of Penguin Random House. Jynne was one of the people involved in creating National Readathon Day, and Ann talks with her about the genesis and reasons for NRD. Jynne’s also a writer, and her first collection of poetry, We Mammals in Hospitable Times, comes out on February 3.

 

Also, a reminder about our fundraising efforts for National Readathon Day. Go to bit.ly/botnsreadathon to make a donation or join our team!

 

Two Books Jynne Can’t Wait For You to Read (25:10)

As we usually do when we have a guest on the show, we asked Jynne to recommend two books she can’t wait for you to read. She decided to be “mean” and tell you about books that you won’t be able to get for awhile. So add these to your TBR pile and make a note in your calendar!

The Rocks by Peter Nichols is a novel that begins with an elderly couple having a terrible fight. Their story, and the book, is then told in reverse over the course of 80 years. On sale in June 2015

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. Jynne calls this a “huge ambitious novel of family and marriage” from the author of Arcadia, The Monsters of Templeton, and Delicate Edible Birds. On sale in September 2015 (no cover or Goodreads listing yet!)

 

 

Dec 23

Five more favorite reads from 2014, and our reading plans for 2015!

 

It’s our last episode of 2014!

 

Thank you to all who’ve joined the Books on the Nightstand team for National Readathon Day, which is a fundraiser for the National Book Foundation! Mark your calendars now to spend a 4 hour block of time reading on January 24th.  If you’d like to make a donation to our team or raise funds yourself, you can do that here. To find our more, visit the official National Readathon page. We’ll have much more about National Readathon Day in upcoming episodes, so stay tuned.

 

We Were Liars   The Painter    The Answer to the Riddle is Me

Americanah    Cartographer of No Man's Land

 

Many of you reached out to me to ask what book I left off of my Favorite Books of 2014 list. If you remember, I waited until the very last minute to commit to the final book.

A few of you guessed, correctly, that the sixth book was We Were Liars by E. Lockhart. This was one of my favorite novels of the year in any genre. There was also one other book that pained me to leave off, and that was The Painter by Peter Heller.

Michael would have added The Answer to the Riddle is Me: A memoir of amnesia, by David Stuart McLean.

There were two other books that were favorite reads of 2014, but they were published in 2013, so they didn’t make the list. So I’ll add them here: Americanah by Chimimanda Adiche and The Cartographer of No Man’s Land by P.S. Duffy.

 

audiobooksMichael’s Audiobook of the Year (02:24)


Brown Girl Dreaming    Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, narrated by the author, is Michael’s pick for Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Year.

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

Thank you so much to Audiobooks.com for sponsoring Books on the Nightstand this year!

 

Our reading plans for 2015:

 

Michael has made a reading resolution for 2015: he’s going to try to read just one book at a time, with the exception of audiobooks.

Since I failed spectacularly in my 2014 reading resolution (to read 10 books in translation), I’m not making one for 2015. I am going to try to track the books I read for the duration of 2015. Normally, I fall out of the habit by March. This makes it very difficult to choose a list of favorites for the year, since I tend to forget about all of the books I’ve read.

Michael and I are both committed to reading Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier and Swann by Carol Shields. This grew out of a pact we made with Simon and Thomas of The Readers Podcast — we agreed to read their favorite books, and they are reading ours (The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell and Any Human Heart by William Boyd).

 

 

Dec 16

Ann and Michael each pick their Top 5 Favorite Books of 2014!

 

audiobooksAnn’s Audiobook of the Year (02:24)



Miniaturist: A Novel, Jessie BurtonThe Miniaturist by Jesse Burton, narrated by Davina Porter, is Ann’s pick for Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Year. (You’ll get my Audiobook of the Year next 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

 

Our Favorite Books of 2014 (05:31)

As always, it was incredibly tough to pick our favorite books of the year, but we managed to do it. We loved so many books this year, but here are our Top 5 each, in no particular order:

Ann’s Top Five Books of 2014

The Book of Unknown Americans     Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Michael’s Top Five Books of 2014

Dec 09

A TV show that we’re both hooked on, National Readathon Day, and two books we can’t wait for you to read.

 

Michael and I are now hooked on a TV show, Black Mirror, which is a UK show that has just come to Netflix (it’s also on YouTube,  and Not Safe for Work or for children). To keep this book-related, Michael says it reminds him of the work of George Saunders, especially the second episode, Fifteen Million Merits, which reminds him of “Escape from Spider Head” that is in  Tenth of December.

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (06:42)

 


Brown Girl DreamingMichael’s pick for this week’s Audiobooks.com Audiobook of the Week is  the National Book Award-winning Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodsoon, read by the author.

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

 

 

National Readathon Day — Join our team!

 

National Readathon Day

 

Need time to read? We have a proposal for you!

National Readathon Day is Saturday, January 24th, 2015. This is a new initiative put together by Penguin Random House (our employers), The National Book Foundation, Goodreads and Mashable. On that day, all are being encouraged to read from 12noon – 4pm (in your own time zone). Schools, libraries and other community places are encouraged to host reading parties and other events. We’d like Books on the Nightstand to come together as a community and participate. Are you in?

National Readathon Day is also a fundraiser for the National Book Foundation, a nonprofit organization with the mission to expand the audience for literature in America. The NBF is dedicated to promoting literacy and reading through programs like the National Book Awards, BookUp, 5 Under 35, and the Innovations in Reading Prize.

We’ve put together a team on the National Readathon Day Fundraising page, and we’re asking you to join our team. If you can make a donation, great! But there are other ways you can participate, too. The easiest thing is to block off the time on your calendar and spend the four hours reading. But if you want to do more, reach out to your local bookstore, school, library, coffee shop or other venue to see if they want to host a Reading Party. Or host a party for your friends and family. Whatever you choose to do, if you are reading or helping to get others to read, you’re automatically part of our team.

For more information on National Readathon Day, see the official website.

If you’d like to make a donation as part of the Books on the Nightstand team, you can do that at bit.ly/botnsreadathon — the money that you donate or raise will be aggregated together under our team and it will show on the leaderboard.

Any questions? Leave them in the comments or send us an email. We’ll be talking more about our plans for National Readathon Day in upcoming episodes.

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read

 

Masterful Marks   Strange Library

 

 

Michael recommends Masterful Marks: Cartoonists who Changed the World by Monte Beauchamp, a book of short graphical biographies of cartoonists. Each biography is drawn and put together by contemporary graphic artists. This book is in the Books on the Nightstand 2014 Holiday Gift Guide.

My pick this week is The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami, a fantastical story of a boy who is trapped in the basement of the library. It’s imaginatively designed by Chip Kidd and heavily illustrated. This is a book for adults, especially fans of Murakami, but might also appeal to teens who like dark and somewhat disturbing stories.

Dec 02

Download the Books on the Nightstand Holiday Gift Guide! Revisiting the concept of book polygamy. We recommend Once Upon an Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers and How to be both by Ali Smith

 

A reminder that the 2014 Books on the Nightstand Holiday Gift Guide is available now. It’s sure to make your holiday shopping easier, and your gift recipients more appreciative! You can download it by clicking here, or on the image below.

BOTNS Holiday Gift Guide 2014

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (03:48)


You, Caroline KepnesYou by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana, 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 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

 

Revisiting Book Polygamy (08:49)

Way back in episode 114 I discussed the concept of book polygamy and how I was really enjoying reading multiple books at a time. These days, I’ve been reading six or more at a time. I’m enjoying them all, but I still seem to be jumping around between them, and seemingly not giving each enough time to hook me. Ann plays “book therapist” and diagnoses several possible reasons why I’m having this first-world problem.

During this conversation we mention that the New York Times has announced their 100 Notable Books of 2014. It turns out that they do choose their Top 10 from the 100 Notable, which does not seem to bode well for Station Eleven, which makes us angry…

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (23:56)

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This week I recommend a book from the Holiday Gift GuideOnce Upon An Alphabet by Oliver Jeffers. Many first learned about Oliver Jeffers when he illustrated The Day the Crayons Quit. In Jeffers’ new book, each letter of the alphabet gets a story filled with alliteration and crazy antics. Other Oliver Jeffers books we love (and that I mention) are Stuck and The Incredible Book Eating Boy.

Ann has been dying to tell you about How to be both by Ali Smith. It’s a book with two seemingly-disparate narratives presented one after another. However, which order you read them in will be entirely up to fate, as the publisher is printing two versions of the text, so each half of the story gets a chance to go first. The two versions will be indistinguishable from each other. Ann recommends this as a great book group discussion, allowing members to talk about how their perceptions of the story differ based on the sequence of the story.

 

Nov 28

We’re pleased to present 2014’s Books on the Nightstand Holiday Gift Guide. This year, we each chose 12 books that we think are perfect for giving, and we feel sure that there’s something for everyone on your list. To download the Gift Guide, simply click on the link at the beginning of this paragraph or click on the image below.

Be sure to send all of your friends the link to this page so they can download the guide as well!

Thank you for your continued support of Books on the Nightstand, and remember to #GiveaBook this holiday season!

BOTNS Holiday Gift Guide 2014

Nov 25

Lots of book recommendations in this episode geared toward gift-giving! 

#GiveABook

 

#GiveABook

 

Our employer is ready to donate books to children in need. Can you help us? Simply use the hashtag #GiveABook on Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest, and for each post using that hashtag, Penguin Random House will donate one book to Save the Children, up to 25,000 books and through December 25th, 2014. We’d love it if you used the post to share a book you are giving as a gift, or a book you’d love to receive as a gift. Many authors have created videos — maybe you’ll want to create a video about the best book you ever received as a gift. Whatever you choose to do with your post, don’t forget to include the #GiveABook hashtag. Thank you!

 

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:27)

Yes, pleae Michael has chosen Yes, Please by Amy Poehler, narrated By: Patrick Stewart, Kathleen Turner, Carol Burnett, Amy Poehler, Seth Meyers, Mike Schur, Eileen Poehler, and William Poehler,  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

 

 

Books to Give (08:11):

 

LIfe-changing Magic of Tidying UpPGCM5-penguin-christmas-set-covers-1200   Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen     Ed Emberley   Here   Battlestar Galactica VaultSaveur The New Classics

 

Our Annual BOTNS Holiday Gift Guide went live at 12:01am on Friday, November 28th. We hope you’ll enjoy our new format, where we each hand-picked twelve titles.

Of course, that meant that we couldn’t include everything. So in this episode, we talk about a few that we left off for one reason or another.

The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

Penguin’s set of Christmas Classics

Handmade Gifts from the Kitchen by Alison Walker

Ed Emberley by Todd Oldham

Here by Richard McGuire

The Battlestar Galactica Vault by Paul Ruditis

Saveur The New Classics

 

Don’t You Forget About Me (30:54):

 

A Christmas Memory   All About Me.

Michael chose A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote, an autobiographical tale that is a touching look at the important things that should be focused on during the holidays: family, friendship, and caring.

I chose All About Me, a fill-in-the-blank book that makes it all about you! Give as a gift, or fill it out yourself and give as an extra-special gift to a friend or loved one.

 

Nov 18

A book to read if you’re obsessed with the Serial podcast; we answer several of your questions; and two (uh, three) books we can’t wait for you to read.

 

As a follow-up to our recent discussion of the Serial podcast, I want to call your attention to The Journalist and the Murder by Janet Malcolm. This book should appeal to Serial listeners, as it looks at the ethical issues of journalists and writers covering true crime cases and, in many cases, getting close with suspects.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:13)

The Organized Mind The Organized Mind by Daniel J. Levitin, narrated by Luke Daniels, 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 Crowd-sourced episode (10:21):

 

This week, we tackle some of our questions, including “can I spam you?” (No.) Please feel free to submit your own questions, and listen for our answers on a future episode. Thanks to all who sent in questions!

Other topics include bookstores’ staff recommendations sections; publishers and imprints we follow (list below); books with too little information on the jacket; sequels, trilogies and series; what to read for a readathon, and how to find time to read when you have young children.

 

Small presses mentioned:

E-short prequels to Jodi Picolut’s Leaving Time; currently, these are in ebook only:

 

 

 

Two Three books we can’t wait for you to read (32:54):

 

sit like a buddha     Mindfulness on the Go     Family Furnishings

Michael continues his journey into mindfulness and meditation with two recommendations (he justifies it because they are small):  Sit Like A Buddha by Lodro Rinzler and Mindfulness on the Go by Jan Chozen Bays.

My recommendation this week is Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014  by Alice Munro, a collection of 24 selected stories from Munro’s past six collections.

 

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