Sep 15

The first Booktopia, and the last. Reluctant re-readers reconsider. And we recommend Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff. 

 

While reading through the stacks of wonderful cards we received at Booktopia Vermont, Ann and I came upon a note from Joanne in Canada. It was a photo of us with word balloons containing quotes we said when announcing the first Books on the Nightstand retreat (what would later become Booktopia), way back in Episode 79. Things like, “I think I’d like to keep this really loose…” and “Let’s sit by the fire and read…”
As we head off to our final Booktopia event, we want to thank all of you who’ve been a part of this amazing adventure!

 

 audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:01)

George, Alex Gino

George by Alex Gino, narrated by Jamie Clayton, 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

 

Re-Reading Reconsidered (07:51)

Ann and I have long been reluctant re-readers, primarily because there are too many books we haven’t read yet, and because we’ve been afraid that books we loved wouldn’t hold up to a re-read. However, recently we’ve each been re-reading our favorite book (The Sparrow and Any Human Heart) in preparation for our book discussions with The Readers at Booktopia. Ann has discovered that a second or third reading allows for closer reading, which can lead to more enjoyment.

While I enjoyed re-reading Any Human Heart, I don’t think I’m going to become someone who re-reads regularly. Maybe one or two here or there. Who knows?

In the comments below, please share your thoughts on re-reading. Has this discussion changed your mind?

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (20:43)

 

24453082     24612118

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert is a wholly unique look at creativity as a force in its own right. A force that must be nurtured. I found so many passages of this book to be incredibly inspirational.

Fates and Furies, the new novel by Lauren Groff, was first introduced to BOTNS listeners when it was recommended by Jynne Martin, whom Ann interviewed about National Readathon Day for episode 313. Rather than re-invent the book recommendation, we’re playing you Jynne’s original recommendation.

 

Sep 08

More love for Wonder, our BOTNS Bingo results, and two books we can’t wait for you to read.

 

Wonder

Michael’s son, a reluctant reader, has fallen in love with Wonder by RJ Palacio. This is a book that we think everyone should read, but the fact that reluctant readers are also loving it makes it even more special. Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories, a new book that features perspectives on Auggie and the events of Wonder from 3 different characters, is newly out. Wonder is the perfect book for “All School Reads” and “One Book, One Community” reading programs. It’s also a great read for adults, so don’t pass Wonder by just because you think it’s for kids. It really is for everyone.

 audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:01)

A Window Opens

A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan, narrated by Julia Whelan, 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, and thanks to Simon & Schuster Audio for permission to include an excerpt of this audiobook on this week’s podcast.

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

 

Bingo? Not! (13:17):

Labor Day marks the official end of Books on the Nightstand Bingo (but you can keep playing). Truthfully, it was something of a failure for us both. Michael came very close (and I did not). Regardless, we both had a good time playing, and realize that because we have more requirements placed on our reading than many people do. I do love that so many of you enjoyed it, though, and we are definitely going to do it next year.

Michael was very successful in his “free square” experiment: reading all 13 stories listed in “Thirteen Short Stories that Will Blow Your Mind.” A few stories Michael really liked: “The Most Dangerous Game,” by Richard Connell and “Zombie” by Chuck Palahniuk.

Michael also had the square “Manga,” and enjoyed pushing his boundaries with Buddha by Osamu Tezuka. This discussion led to a discussion of Manga vs. Graphic Novels, and Michael mentioned that this was discussed on an episode of the Good Job Brain podcast. So check that out if you want more information.

(Also in this discussion: a tease about Gillian Flynn’s new novel, coming later this fall).

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (27:45):

 

Out on the Wire   Everything Everything

 

Michael recommends Out on the Wire: Uncovering the Secrets of Radio’s New Masters of Story with Ira Glass by Jessica Abel, which Michael describes as “graphic novel journalism.” It’s about radio now, and narrative journalism like you would hear on the podcast This American Life, Planet Money, The Moth, etc. Abel had access to behind the scenes of many of those shows to learn how the shows are created. Abel is also starting a podcast, which you might want to check out.

I recommend Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon. It’s a young adult novel that I really loved. I don’t want to say too much about it, because you really should go into this book without knowing too much about it. All I’ll say is that the main character is a teenage girl who suffers from debilitating allergies that require her to stay inside of her home. Do read it, and if you have teens, definitely put it into their hands!

 

 

 

Sep 01

Books written before 1700, plus we recommend Primates by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks, and The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Matthew Dicks.

A special thank you to everyone who has left us an iTunes review. We love reading them and they help other iTunes users discover BOTNS!

We received a message from a listener who thinks we might have our “heads in the sand” when it comes to e-books. We think he means e-book only titles, since, when we discuss books, we just want you to read them, and don’t care how you do that. We fully admit that our own reading tends to be books that are available in multiple formats and not just one, but we do promise to recommend books we love no matter their format.

 audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:13)

Art of Stillness: Adventures in Going Nowhere, Pico Iyer

The Art of Stillness by Pico Iyer, 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

 

1700 Was a Long Time Ago (07:41)

Cam, from Tennessee, asked for help with the Bingo square “Published before 1700.” Unfortunately, we’re just getting to the question now, with only a week left in the official BOTNS Bingo game. To compensate, we start with a short suggestion.

Ann discovered a Reddit thread with a ton of great suggestions.

 

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (16:58)

22718786     23847945

Booktopia Petoskey author Jim Ottaviani’s latest work of scientific graphic nonfiction is Primates, illustrated by Maris Wicks. Ottaviani and Wicks tell the tales of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Birutė Galdikas, three primatologists whose work with chimpanzees, mountain gorillas, and orangutans, respectively, added tremendously to scientific knowledge.

Ann recommends The Perfect Comeback of Caroline Jacobs by Booktopia alumnus Matthew Dicks, which goes on sale September 8. Caroline has always been passive, never saying what was truly on her mind, until a four-letter word vehemently flies from her lips during a PTO meeting. That outburst gives her the courage to return to her hometown to finally tell off a childhood friend who did her wrong.

 

Aug 25

Coloring books for adults, a bookselling vacation, and two backlist books that we can’t wait for you to read.

 

Have you heard about the new craze rocking the book world? Coloring books for grownups are selling like crazy, and in this episode we talk about what might be driving this craze, and if we are going to try it out. The trend started with books illustrated by Johanna Basford, and now it seems that almost every publisher has some in its lineup. Coming in October: The Official A Game of Thrones Coloring Book and Diana Gabaldon’s Official Outlander Coloring Book.  Michael is intrigued by Highlights Hidden Pictures and Fantastic Cities, which he posted about on the new Books on the Nightstand Instagram page (please follow us if you are on Instagram).  What about you? Have you tried grownup coloring books?

 

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (06:37)

 

Woman with a Secret

Woman with a Secret by Sophie Hannah (published in the UK as The Telling Error), narrated by David Thorpe and Julia Barrie, 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

AirB and Bookstore (11:54):

Wigtown AirBnB

Photo thanks to our friends at Shelf-Awareness.com

This week the book world was all excited about a listing on AirBnB, where for £150 per week you can run a bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland and live in the apartment over the shop. This sounds like a dream vacation to us (even though it’s work). Wigtown itself sounds like an amazing book community. There are 10 bookstores in town, with a population of 1000.

Wigtown Airbnb listing

If you’re one of our listeners and decide to go on this bookstore AirBnB adventure, let us know — we’ll make you our roving reporter!

 

Don’t you forget about me (22:32):

 

Into the Wilderness   Z for Zachariah

I was thinking about what books I would recommend to people who love Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, and one of the books I thought about was Into the Wilderness by Sara Donati. It’s not really like Outlander, but it’s historical fiction with a strong romance element. And it’s the beginning of a series, so there’s a lot more reading ahead if you love Into the Wilderness.

Michael recommends Z for Zachariah by Robert C. O’Brien, and the film of the novel is out today as we record. The movie differs a lot from the book, so Michael wanted us to know about it now. It’s the story of a young woman who believes she’s the last person alive after a nuclear war … until she sees a strange man in the valley.

 

Aug 18

 

Bring Your Own Book

Bring Your Own Book

Michael and I are both Kickstarter backers of a game called Bring Your Own Book. We played the game at Booktopia Vermont, and I’ve played the game with my family. Well, now they are fully funded and are taking preorders from the public to ship in October. We’re not affiliated with the company at all, but we do think that book lovers will enjoy this and wanted to share it with you.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (03:52)

 

Any Human Heart

Any Human Heart by William Boyd, narrated by Simon Vance, is Michael’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 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

 

Illustrated Books for Grown-Ups (06:30):

 

This week we look at another BOTNS Bingo square that gives us the opportunity to highlight some cool books: “Written for an adult, but with illustrations.”

S. by JJ Abrams and Doug Dorst, an incredible book that is really an art object, featuring bits of paper and ephemera inside, along with margin notes and other really cool things that as a whole tell the story.

Griffin and Sabine by Nick Bantock, which is notes and postcards between two characters, handwritten and illustrated.

Lots of annotated classics would qualify.

Stephen King’s Joyland will be out in an illustrated edition on September 8th.

The Selected Works of TS Spivet by Reif Larsen

Night Film by Marisha Pessl

An upcoming novel that fits this category is Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson that will be published in the US on October 6th.

Many more suggestions on our Goodreads thread, including nonfiction (The Art of Raising a Puppy, for instance).

 

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (17:19):

 

The Admissions   Fortune Smiles

 

The Admissions by Meg Mitchell Moore is a novel of a seemingly perfect family, with an older daughter who wants nothing more than to get into Harvard. Meanwhile, secrets run throughout the family, with each member of the family afraid that they will be found out. This is a very entertaining that does an excellent job of portraying the challenges that exist in many “normal” families.

Fortune Smiles by Adam Johnson, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Orphan Master’s Son, is a collection of 6 stories that Michael describes as “punch-you-in-your gut powerful.” The story “George Orwell Was A Friend of Mine” might be Michael’s favorite in this collection, but they are all very strong.

 

 

 

Aug 11

An iphone app to find books by or about people of color; a listener asks, “is it stealing?” and new books by Alex Kershaw and Jennifer McMahon.

 

We were thrilled to learn about We Read Too, an iphone app that was developed by Kaya Thomas,  a young woman who couldn’t find books with characters that reminded her of herself. The app is a great resource for booksellers, librarians, teachers and readers who want to discover literary works written by authors of colors with characters of colors that don’t fall into stereotypes.

Find We Read Too in the iOS app store.

We Read Too on Facebook

 

 audiobooksAudiobook of the week (05:13)

 

SerenaSerena by Ron Rash, narrated by Phil Gigante, 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

 

A listener writes in with an ethical dilemma (10:22)

We received an email from Becky:

I have been a longtime fan and listener of your podcast and I recently took a book and I’m wondering if you would consider this stealing or not. . . 
I’m a hospice physician and do home visits to see patients. I visited a patient who lived in an apt building where you had to be buzzed in. I went up to the 2nd floor where my patient lived and in an open alcove next to the elevator was a library of perhaps 100 – 200 books. . . 
After the visit I perused the shelves and there was a lot of mass market stuff plus classics plus everything in between. I ended up taking an Everyman’s library edition of “The Tin Drum” by Gunter Grass. I took it b/c it was a classic that I thought I should read, and also I felt it was probably sthg that was not in high demand so I felt less guilty about taking it, vs. some current best seller. . . I will say that I was slightly influenced to take the book  b/c of all of your talk on the podcast about how many books are pulped, etc. . . so if I did wrong then it’s all your fault! Ha! just kidding. . . 
The other doctor that I work with was appalled at my action and considered that it was definitely stealing. . . maybe she is right?! What do you think?? 
Thanks for all your great work on the podcast!
Michael and I discuss this dilemma, and though we both agree it’s not black and white, we do fall on somewhat different sides of the gray area. Please let us know your thoughts. Was it stealing? Does it matter that it was a classic and not a more popular title? What would you have done?
More information on Little Free Libraries here. Please consider putting one up in your community.

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (21:38):

 

Avenue of Spies   The Night Sister

 

Michael talks about Avenue of Spies by Alex Kershaw, about an American doctor’s experience in Nazi-occupied Paris. He and his family supported the Resistance, all the while being surrounded by in his neighborhood by some of the most well-known Nazis. It’s a propulsive read, for those who love narrative nonfiction.
I highly recommend The Night Sister by Jennifer McMahon, which is compelling and so creepy. I flew through it in two days. We travel back and forth in time, all the while learning about events that happen at a roadside motel in rural Vermont. There’s a murder, two sets of sisters, things that go bump in the night, and a young girl who is obsessed with director Alfred Hitchcock and dreams of going to Hollywood to become a star.

 

Aug 04

Sneaking a peek at books coming out next Spring, and we recommend The Dog Master by W. Bruce Cameron, and Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal.

 

Ann was thrilled (and just a little smug) when Hanya Yanagahara’s A Little Life was included on The Man Booker Prize Longlist, along with A Brief History of Seven Killings by Marlon James, The Year of the Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota and ten other books. Are you someone who tries to read the whole longlist, or the shortlist? What are your thoughts on this group of titles? Let us know in the comments below!

 

 audiobooksAudiobook of the week (04:40)


Water Museum: Stories, Luis Alberto UrreaThe Water Museum 
by Luis Alberto Urrea, 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

 

What You’ll Be Reading Next Spring (08:40)

We’re recently back from sales conference and there are many books we read and loved so much that we can’t wait to tell you a little about them, even though they won’t be published for many, many months.

These are books we’ll definitely discuss in more depth when they come out, but in the meantime, we hope we’ve piqued your interest!

 

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

22238176     23398625

Booktopia Petoskey author W. Bruce Cameron’s new novel The Dog Master is a fun thriller of a book that imagines the first friendship and partnership between an early human and a wolf – essentially the first dog. Cameron does an amazing job creating the world of early human tribes. I loved it and I sure hope the last sentence of the novel means there’s a sequel coming!

Ann loved Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal, but this week we’ve invited our Penguin Random House colleague Tom Benton to tell you about it. Tom was the person whose passion convinced Ann to read this charming, not-at-all-dark, story of a mother and a daughter. The book is filled with wonderful characters, a great sense of place, and even a few delicious recipes!

 

Jul 28

What Penguin Random House’s sales conference and warehouse are like. Plus, don’t forget about The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell, or Any Human Heart by William Boyd.

 

Thank you to the Twitter user who confessed her initial disappointment with Booktopia talk episodes, but quickly said that she always ends up loving them! We understand!

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (02:13)

Good Girl, Mary KubicaThe Good Girl by Mary Kubica, told by multiple narrators, 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

What We Did On Our Podcast Vacation (06:08)

In this episode we share with you an inside peek at what a publishing sales conference is like (or what ours is like at least!). What do we discuss in the meetings? Who do we trust for recommendations?

Penguin Random House Westminster MD

A very special feature of this sales conference was the tour of our warehouse located in Westminster, MD. It’s an amazing place filled with dedicated and hard-working people. Here are a few statistics:

  • 1.25 million square feet (1.5 million counting mezzanine areas)
  • 14 miles of conveyor belts
  • 110 million units in inventory, on average
  • 1 million books shipped per day, on average

Wow! It’s a magical book land!

Don’t You Forget About Me (21:59)

 

334176    77866

Because of the upcoming book group discussions with Simon and Thomas of The Readers, at Booktopia Petoskey, and because we’re encouraging online discussions, this month’s Don’t You Forget About Me features our favorite books of all time. They’re books that have stayed with us over many years.

Ann’s is The Sparrow, by Mary Doria Russell. Described by the author as the story of “Jesuits in space,” it’s a science fiction book that has been read and loved by so many people who later said they don’t read science fiction. At its heart, it is the story of a man of faith whose faith is tested. He just happens to be on a mission to make first contact with beings on another planet.

My selection is Any Human Heart by William Boyd. Told via the journals of Logan Mountstuart, this novel gives a tremendous look at a life that spans most of the twentieth century. It’s also constructed as if Mountstuart were a real person, and includes footnotes, an index, and notes from an unnamed editor.

Jul 21

This week we bring you two more author talks from Booktopia Asheville, recorded at Malaprop’s Bookstore:

20758055     18246451

Jul 13

An out-of-order episode this week, so sorry if we confuse you! Don Winslow’s timely The Cartel, Ta-Nehisi Coates’ very important Between The World And Me, and we talk at length about Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman.

Two books we can’t wait for you to read (05:32):

 

The Cartel   Between the World and Me

 

I haven’t had a chance to read the book yet, but since it relates to a topic in the news, I couldn’t wait to tell you about The Cartel by Don Winslow. This is a crime thriller set in the high-stakes, violent world of the Mexican drug cartels. Interestingly, just yesterday, the media reported on the prison escape of El Chapo, the man who has been called Mexico’s most important and high-ranking drug lord.  Winslow’s novel, while fiction, delves deep into this world, and is based on real, solid research.

Michael recommends the very important Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Written as a letter to his adolescent son, Coates examines the idea of race in society and in an individual’s very personal experiences. This is an incredibly powerful book that should be read and discussed on a grand scale.

 

audiobooksAudiobook of the week (18:27)


Go Set a WatchmanGo Set A Watchman by Harper Lee
, narrated by Reese Witherspoon, 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

 

Much ado about Watchman (22:54):

On the eve of the release of Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman, the media and social media are abuzz with talk about the book. Can it compare to To Kill A Mockingbird? Should it have been published at all? And how should the reader approach it? Jean Louise is 26 in Go Set A Watchman, and Atticus is, well, different from the man we all know and love. Though neither Michael nor I has read the book, we still have opinions–and we’d love to hear yours as well.

Read or listen to the first chapter of Go Set A Watchman

New York Times Book Review by Michiko Kakutani

Washington Post review

From the New Republic, “The Suspicious Story Behind Harper Lee’s Go Set A Watchman

How I Found the Harper Lee Manuscript” by Tonja B. Carter

 

 

 

preload preload preload