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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. 

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Jun 25, 2013

Mixed feelings about not finishing a book; why we plan our summer reading; and recommendations for Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and Life After Life by Jill McCorkle

Abandoning Books

Karen R. asked if we keep track of the books we read, especially the books we don’t finish. She’s worried about re-starting a book that she previously tried and didn’t like. Ann recently switched to keeping track of her books in a physical notebook and will mark unfinished books as DNF (Did Not Finish). I’m still using Goodreads because I’m addicted to the ease of entering and marking the books with an app. If I don’t finish a book, I just delete it from my “currently reading” shelf. We both have to read a lot of excerpts of books for work; we don’t count those, even though they’d probably add up to a couple of “whole” books!

This all comes back to the feeling some people have that they must finish any book they start. That’s a personal opinion, of course, but we feel very strongly that there are too many good books out there for you to slog through something you’re not enjoying. Two articles (WSJ and Guardian) recently discussed this subject and came up with some interesting perspectives.

Why Do We Plan Our Summer Reading? (7:56)safety

Even if you don’t have the summer off, chances are, you still plan out your summer reading more than any other time of the year. Why? Vacations, long hours of daylight, lack of new TV shows, whatever the reasons, Ann and I have each chosen a few books that are on our Summer Must Read Lists: Great Expectations for me and Crossing to Safety (for both of us). Ann has also re-committed to the Classics Impossible Facebook Group which is currently reading Henry James’ The Portrait of a Lady, and will finally get to Lonesome Dove this summer. She’s still reading a short story every day, including forthcoming collections from Lorrie Moore and Aimee Bender.

What are your summer reading plans, if you have any?

Two Books We Can’t Wait For You to Read (16:22)

LAL Atkinson     LAL mccorkle

Though I am late to the party, I am thrilled to recommend Life After Life by Kate Atkinson, one of the best books I’ve read so far this year. I began by listening to the audio which was simply wonderful as narrated by Fenella Woolgar. After getting out of my car, I immediately went inside and had to buy the eBook, because I had to keep going. I read the middle part and then finished it on audio. However you decide to read this book, print or audio, I think you’ll find something unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before. (Goodreads discussion thread here)

Ann also recommends Life After Life, but this time it’s the novel by Jill McCorkle. Jill’s first novel in seventeen years, Life After Life centers on Joanna Lamb, a hospice worker at an assisted living home in North Carolina. It’s a book that Ann loved; its first few chapters almost read like short stories that then come together into a beautiful, heartfelt novel.