Sep 18, 2013
More listener questions, e-books only: to discuss or not?, J.Robert Lennon's Happyland, Matt Fraction's Hawkeye, and Alex by Pierre LeMaitre...
We answer some of the quetions that listeners submitted via our BOTNS Q&A form, covering some of the following topics:
Bestseller lists: do they include sales of books to libraries?
Has Michael read The Iliad? Is he still intending to? (We also talk about Madeline Miller's new ebook original, Galatea.)
Which author did I describe as similar to Richard Russo? (I think Christine was referring to Steve Yarbrough, author of The Realm of Last Chances)
What mystery/thriller did I tease about earlier in the year? (Answer: listen to segment 3 of this podcast!)
We've been wrestling with a dilemma here at Books on the Nightstand. Do we discuss books that are published only in ebook form? Back when we started the podcast (2008), ebooks were primarily available only through dedicated ereaders, and we knew that most of our listeners did not read ebooks. With the growth of ebooks, and the fact that you can now read them on smartphones and tablets, it's time to revisit our coverage of ebook only publications.Our aim is to tell you about books that are widely available from a variety of sources: brick and mortar bookstore, online bookstore, library, etc. And that philosophy remains the same -- we won't talk about books on the podcast that are only available through one retailer. But in terms of ebooks only, we've evolved our thinking. As long an ebook original is available in all ebook platforms, we reserve the right to tell you about it.
Do you have thoughts about this? We'd love to hear them.
The impetus for this discussion was the recent publication of J. Robert Lennon's Happyland. Happyland has a fascinating backstory -- its publication was originally scheduled for 2005, but was canceled by the publisher for reasons that some think have to do with the real-life inspiration for the novel. But it is a novel. And now Dzanc Books is publishing Happyland in ebook form. I've read about 100 pages of Happyland, about a wealthy doll-company heiress who takes over an upstate NY town, and I'm enjoying it immensely.
Note: Happyland will be published on October 1st -- something we neglected to mention when we recorded the podcast. Our apologies if you've been searching for the ebook online.
This week Michael recommends Hawkeye Vol. I: My Life as a Weapon by Matt Fraction, which is a superhero story that is not about the character's life as a superhero. It's a visually unique comic about Clint Barton and what he does when he's not being Hawkeye from The Avengers.
I talk about Alex by Pierre LeMaitre, which I teased you with in episode 221 . This book is not for the squeamish: it's a thriller and a mystery full of graphic violence and horrible things. But if you like thrillers and have a strong stomach, it's completely original and amazingly entertaining. Alex is a young woman who is kidnapped off the street in Paris. Witnesses report the kidnapping, but Police Commandant Camille Verhoeven can't find a missing person report, and doesn't know who exactly was kidnapped.