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Books on the Nightstand published our final episode in July 2016. This is a place for listeners to find old episodes. 

I'm sorry that we don't have show notes for all of the episodes, and that the episodes do not have consistent filenames. Still, we hope you find that the content is valuable enough to overlook those annoyances.

Thank you to all who have listened to BOTNS over the years and for those who are just discovering the podcast. 

Mar 16, 2011

It's time for The Tournament of Books! Can computers choose your next great read? And 2 books we can't wait for you to read...

A Literary Competition

A reminder to anyone not attending the BOTNS Weekend Retreat: we will be more than happy to have our retreat authors autograph books for you, if you like. Simply purchase your books through this link: Northshire Bookstore BOTNS Page. When you check out at the website, just include a note to have the books signed and then shipped. Michael and I will be sure that the authors sign the books for you.

March Madness! Not the basketball type. We are fascinated by The Tournament of Books over at The Morning News. The competition pits books head to head in a bracket-style competition.

Do you trust an algorithm?  (6:00)

Jeff Rutherford of the Reading and Writing Podcast sent us a link to an article titled "Whoever Builds A Good Tool To Help Us Find New Books To Read Will Get Rich" in which author Kevin Smokler looked at various book recommendation engines. One of these service is Discovereads, which was just purchased by GoodReads. Michael and I are both skeptical that a computer algorithm could ever replace the human element in book recommendations: trusted friends, booksellers and librarians have a knowledge of the intangibles that we don't think a computer can touch. But we'd love to hear your thoughts: would you trust a computer program to choose your next read?

Two books we can't wait for you to read (13:31)

Half a Life by Darin Strauss The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove by Susan Gregg Gilmore

We were thrilled that the recent National Book Critics Circle awards bestowed honors on several BOTNS favorites: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan, The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson, and How to Live by Sarah Bakewell. Another book that won, which we haven't yet talked about, is Michael's choice for segment 3. Darin Strauss' Half a Life is a memoir of an accident that happened when Strauss was a teenager, in which Darin's car struck and killed a bicyclist. The brutal honesty that Strauss brings to this book makes for a powerful and emotional read.

I talk about The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove by Susan Gregg Gilmore. Susan will be one of the authors at the Books on the Nightstand Weekend Retreat, and I can't wait for you to meet her. This is a novel set in the 1950s and 1960s South, and our main character is a strong young woman named Bezellia who has a turbulent relationship with her alcoholic mother. It's a fast and wonderful read, and I highly recommend it for reading groups.