Books on the Nightstand discussion

What do you want us to talk/write about?

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message 1: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Anything you're dying to hear about?

We're planning our "editorial calendar" for the rest of the year, and wanted to solicit your ideas.

We have some big plans, and hopefully the time to implement them, but there's still lots of blank spots on the calendar.

What would you like us to talk about on the podcast or blog?

We are so thankful for the comments on the blog and the discussion here. Thank you.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I have a feeling you are already doing something similar to this but...How about great books for the holidays? Since the economy is so bad, I keep telling my friends and family that people can stay at home and travel to far off worlds, if they just sit down and read a book.

Maybe a "Countdown to 2009" --- I know the books won't be on-sale yet but it could be fun to hear what you are most excited about for 2009.

message 3: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Jennifer, you figured it out! ;)
We are definitely doing holiday gifts.
Love your 'countdown to 2009' idea -- brilliant!
Thank you :)

message 4: by Catyche (last edited Oct 19, 2008 02:46AM) (new)

Catyche | 18 comments I have been dying for you guys to do a podcast explaining what your jobs are in more detail! For a book lover, it sounds like the ultimate dream job. Also, you could do one dedicated to the best fantasy/sci-fi books you've read and would recommend. Lastly, I've never listened to an audiobook; and Ann, you've mentioned that you enjoy them a lot. What are some that you would recommend- not just as a good book but as a good audiobook? (Sorry if it's too many suggestions, I can get carried away).

message 5: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Thanks, Catyche -- those are all great suggestions. The job one is definitely coming; we're kind of saving that for when we don't have a topic lined up. Maybe we should reconsider that.

And hey, there's no such thing as "too many suggestions"! We want to give you what you want -- it just may take a little time to do that.


message 6: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (kaelesa) | 39 comments Catyche, if you like sci-fi/fantasy and want to try an audio book, I'd recommend The Curse of Chalion, by Lois McMaster Bujold. The narrator is Lloyd James. It's a fascinating book with great characters and Mr James brings the characters to life with his reading. The narrator can make a big differnce in how much you enjoy an audio book, especially if it's a book you haven't read in print before. If you try my suggestion, let me know what you think.

message 7: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi | 153 comments I'm curious about all the book blogs; I seem to discover new ones every day! How does one become a book blogger? Any particular qualifications, or is just being an avid reader enough?

And I'd love to hear more details about the jobs you and Michael have!

message 8: by Heather (new)

Heather I'm also interested in the links to some other great book blogs. I love Books on the Nightstand, but would like some other blogs to read in all my free time. Thanks!

message 9: by Savvy (last edited Oct 22, 2008 08:01AM) (new)

Savvy  (savvysuzdolcefarniente) | 102 comments Heather,
There are hundreds of book bloggers out there! They are a passionate bunch.

Here's a link to one that I like very much and she has quite a few links to many others that are also very interesting.
Hope this helps...

Scroll down and the links are on the right side of her blog page.

message 10: by Savvy (new)

Savvy  (savvysuzdolcefarniente) | 102 comments that link may have to be cut and pasted into your browser.

message 11: by Catyche (new)

Catyche | 18 comments Thanks Debbie for the great suggestion; I'll make sure to check it out! And when I "read" it, I'll fill you in on what I thought of it.

message 12: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Thanks for the link to Caribou's Mom, Susanne! I don't think I've seen her page before, but I've added it to my Google Reader!

message 13: by Suziqoregon (last edited Oct 23, 2008 08:54AM) (new)

Suziqoregon | 10 comments If it's not inappropriate I'll put in a plug for my own book blog here

Blogging My Books

If you'd rather I not post that here - feel free to delete the message.

message 14: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Suziq, it's relevant and not a problem at all. Plus, it's not like you just signed up for the group, posted, and ran ... we love hearing about group members' blogs and projects.

message 15: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (jentwist) | 109 comments Hi Ann. I've been thinking about this question on topics and thought of a few that I'd be interested in.

What about books that make you laugh out loud? Who couldn't use a little light reading when everything around us is so depressing!
I was also thinking of book series that are worth the commitment. If I'm going to invest in a series of books I want them to the really really good.

I love your podcast so I'm sure that whatever topics you pick are going to be interesting and add to the overflowing TBR basket by my bed!

message 16: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Jennifer -- cool ideas! Thanks. Those sound like great topics.

message 17: by Julie (new)

Julie M (woolyjooly) | 284 comments I think it would be neat to hear what everyone's favorite "classics" are, and why. Dickens? Hemingway? Austen? Tolstoy? or maybe by genre . .

message 18: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Good idea. I'll have to re-visit some of my high school and college reading lists ...

message 19: by Wendy (new)

Wendy | 8 comments Now I have to say that I have not listened to all of your podcasts yet, so if I mention an idea that you have already done- forgive me
1. Love the idea of hearing more about your job
2. Also what is the book publishing industry like?
3. How have book blogs and podcasts, such as yours affected the book industry? increased sales?
4. What are your favorite authors and why?.
5. What is your perspective on e-books and electronic readers? What do you prefer?

Thanks- I certainly appreciate your time!

message 20: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Thanks for the great list of ideas! Those are all great things to talk about. I had no idea so many people who don't work in the industry want to know about it.

message 21: by Dottie (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 130 comments I think it's part of the "bookaholics" personality of people who are drawn to be involved in a site for book discussions, Ann. If it's concerning books, we are curious about how it functions. Just my immediate response there.

message 22: by Savvy (new)

Savvy  (savvysuzdolcefarniente) | 102 comments Ann and Michael,

I know that you've touched upon this a little bit, but I think a really good podcast could be made out of exploring how the Internet is changing our relationship with books (buying on-line vs the endangered small book stores), book discussions on-line (rather than Face to Face), and what people are missing and/or adding to their lives from these changes???

Here we are...discussing books casually with complete strangers!

Communities like GoodReads, Library Thing, and Shelfari are gaining in popularity as well as the recent mushrooming of personal Book Blogs!

I'm sure there's enough material in all this to make for a very interesting episode!

message 23: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Sounds like a great topic, and may fit in with something we have planned for the next couple of episodes. Thanks!

message 24: by Heather (new)

Heather Ok I have an idea! It may be way too late as Jan. 1st is only a couple of days away but...

How about challenges for the new year? Blogs online that post challenges, books we vow to read in 2009, that sort of thing.

Heather in KS

message 25: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Heather, you're right, it may be time to revisit reading challenges for the new year (we did it in 1st few episodes, so a long time ago). And hey, a new year is just an arbitrary date, right? Thanks for the idea!

message 26: by Lee (new)

Lee (leekat) | 13 comments How about world literature? I know that's kind of a large topic but maybe you could do some of your favourites. I'm sure there are tons of authors that are little known in North America but well respected and read in other countries. One of my favourite books last year was by a French author named Anna Gavaldon. I never would have come across her on my own.

message 27: by Dennis (new)

Dennis | 23 comments Ann,

I realize the original post to this string was in November, so I hope you don't mind a late reply.

How about the concept - "If You Can Read Only One"?

For instance, and I think this is near to your heart, if I could only read one Ian McEwan book - which would you recommend. That kind of thing. You could do it for the classics (Tolstoy, Faulkner, etc.), but also for contemporaries like McEwan and John Irving (there will be heated debate between Prayer and Cider House).

This idea came to me in a bookstore the other day when I decided I want to read Camus but couldn't decide between The Plague and The Stranger.

Just a thought.

I love the podcast. You and Michael do a terrific job with it.



message 28: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Dennis, love this!! It's a fantastic idea, though having to choose one Ian McEwan may break my heart.
(and you're not late -- we keep this thread at the top so that it stays active).

Oh, and the Camus -- I loved The Plague more than The Stranger though it was so long ago, I couldn't tell you why.

Thanks, too, for your veyr kind words.


message 29: by Graceann (new)

Graceann (silentsgirl) | 26 comments I'd love to hear more about books that *should* be more famous than they are, or at least started out by going nowhere and then became classics.

For instance, one that is near and dear to my heart is The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara. It won the Pulitzer, but sold nothing, initially. It was released in 1974, and the last thing people wanted to read about then was a book about war (for those who may not know, Killer Angels is a beautifully-written novel about the Battle of Gettysburg). Mr. Shaara passed away thinking he had failed, and then Ted Turner, who loved the book, financed a film based on it, and it became a hit in 1994.

There must be other books like that out there, and I'd love to hear about them and give their authors a voice, however belated.

message 30: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Graceann, interesting. I'll have to think hard on that one.

message 31: by Sara (last edited Feb 14, 2009 06:49PM) (new)

Sara | 7 comments I just have to recommend the book Shelf Life-by Suzanne Stempek Shea. I noticed on the Books on the Nightstand website that there is a reference to it. It was a terrific book. I used to work in a bookstore and it brought back some great memories. When I was reading it, I was transported back in time to by book selling days. I love your show and as a fellow book lover-I recommend this one to your listeners. I would love to hear more about your jobs with Random House. It sounds like a dream job. Keep it up guys!

message 32: by Sara (new)

Sara | 7 comments Dennis wrote: "Ann,

I realize the original post to this string was in November, so I hope you don't mind a late reply.

How about the concept - "If You Can Read Only One"?

For instance, and I think this i..."

which one of his books did you end up buying? I think that your idea is a good one. I am contemplating that idea with some of my favorite authors.

message 33: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Hi Sara-

Shelf-Life is definitely on my Nightstand. I hope to get to it within the next few weeks!

Thanks for your comments and for listening!

message 34: by Krista (last edited Mar 12, 2009 09:52AM) (new)

Krista | 5 comments Hi, I'm new to Books on the Nightstand. Perhaps you could do a survey of books that people plan to read or even have one sitting on their shelf but they never read, almost the "guilt trip" books, the types of books we all think we should read and we never do. Examples I can think of are: "War and Peace" "Mists of Avalon" "Infinte Jest" or "Moby Dick" Is it the hoopla that any serious reader should have read certain books?

Another genre is muslim (religion or culture) literature, I know I haven't read too much and realize I don't even have a good idea of "classics" from that genre. Any suggestions?

message 35: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
Hi Krista,
Thanks for joining us!
I love the idea of "Guilty Trip" books! Thanks.

As for Islamic literature, I'm just not sure that either of us is expert enough to speak to it. I've enjoyed several books, both fiction and non, but I have no idea how they'd hold up to critical religious or cultural scrutiny. I'll list a few:

Women of Sand Myrrh by Hanan Al-Shaykh;
Nine Part of Desire by Geraldine Brooks;
Works by Naguib Mahfouz (Palace Walk is the first in the Cairo trilogy covering 1917 to 1944)
Just about anything by Orhan Pamuk

I'm sure there are others, and hope that people will post. If you'd like to start a new topic here to get people's attention, feel free!

Thanks again for joining us -- I look forward to getting to know you better!


message 36: by Lindsey (new)

Lindsey Hi, I am also new to the podcast, and I haven't finished listening to all of them yet, but I think the idea about "guilt trip" books is great too. I know that I have had Middlemarch on my shelf for almost 2 years now, (which is ridiculous for me)and I just can't seem to bump it up to the top of the pile. I would love to hear what everyone else has sitting on their shelves, waiting for the mood to strike, but it just never does.
thanks for the podcast!


message 37: by Dottie (new)

Dottie (dottiem) | 71 comments My to-read "shelf" is actually a 3 shelf bookcase with books double shelved, piled a foot high on top and stacked to the top on the floor next to it. Since I am not a young woman it is unlikely I will actually live long enough to read all of them. And yet I still bring in more. What really upsets me is when I buy a hard cover and don't get it read before the paperback comes out. But - I would say a word for Middlemarch - it's one of my favorite books so you might want to nudge it just a bit higher on the list.
Dottie M.

message 38: by Bobbi (last edited Mar 03, 2009 07:27AM) (new)

Bobbi | 153 comments Dottie M. - I can SO relate to what you've said! I am also not a young woman, not likely to read all of the books I have piled everywhere. I still buy books. I still get books from the library. I still ask for bookstore gift cards (and I use them!).

In addition to the stacks of TBRs, I also keep a written list of books I'd like to read; I've been doing this for decades, and I sometimes ask myself why I continue to do it, since the stacks and lists grow larger, much faster than I can enthusiastically cross off each book I finally manage to read!

I just don't think there's any cure for us...but there are worse things to worry about...

message 39: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi | 153 comments Bobbi wrote: "Dottie M. - I can SO relate to what you've said! I am also not a young woman, not likely to read all of the books I have piled everywhere. I still buy books. I still get books from the library. I s..."

message 40: by Dottie (new)

Dottie (oxymoronid) | 130 comments The books that make a reader feel guilty idea brought to mind the mystique surrounding many books and from there I jumped to Proust. An author's name that strikes awe, fear, longing, delight -- and many other feelings into the heart of readers.

What about books that tend to create guilt and books which once finished the reader wonders what the avoidance was all about. Just winding down to the final sections of one of those myself -- Anna Karenina. Guilt and relief? Approach/avoidance?

message 41: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Guilt books will tie-in very well to something I've got planned for this summer... stay tuned!

message 42: by Karen (last edited Mar 11, 2009 08:32PM) (new)

Karen | 31 comments I'm really excited about the Kindle app for the Iphone and Ipod Touch
I know there have been reading apps before but I could never justify paying the same amount for an e-book as a hardcover. I also love the generous samples we can read with the Kindle app one was
7 chapters! I think the Kindle is too pricey and my Ipod fits in my pocket. E-books might finally start taking off now.

message 43: by Krista (last edited Mar 12, 2009 09:50AM) (new)

Krista | 5 comments Re: Dennis's comment (#27):

I vote for Atwood- I've read three of her books, not for everyone, I know, but each have been so poignant:
* Handmaiden's Tale
* Oryx and Crake
* Cat's Eye

I've got "The Blind Assassin" next. Is there any way to pick just one?!

I think this topic is a good "recommending" topic for folks who have yet read something by a given author. Perhaps arrange them by genre or tone?

message 44: by songbird72 (new)

songbird72 | 3 comments I know you're planning an upcoming podcast on audiobooks. I have a comment to add:

It's very frustrating to like the book but not like the audiobook because of the reader's voice or lack of characterizations. I checked out a Fannie Flagg book (of course, very Southern) and couldn't make it through two chapters. Not because the book wasn't interesting but because the reader had an obvious northern accent, which just didn't fit with the characters. Sometimes I just don't like audiobooks because they don't read them the way I would. I'm probably just too picky!

On the other hand, I've listened to several audiobooks for children with my kids and they were terrific. Great voicing and characters. Maybe I've just picked the wrong adult books on tape!

message 45: by Stephanie (new)

Stephanie I completely agree. I listen to audiobooks everyday on my my way to work (2 hours of drive time each day!) and narrators can make or break the book. I tend to give the book one disc to pull me in - if I can't deal with the audio but I think the book is good, I keep it on my list. If the story doesn't grab me, it goes on my "couldn't finish for various reasons" shelf. (Yes, I actually have one of those.)

I think it is a true gift to record an audiobook. I am a fan of multiple narrators - it makes the book come to life. (Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and Everything is Illuminated are probably the two best audiobooks I have ever listened to, not to mention the stories were incredible.)

My comment to add about audiobooks: I like to read a lot of classics, but I cannot listen to them on audio because I tend to drift off into my thoughts at times. I like to listen to lighter stuff, or books I wouldn't normally read, like Dean Koontz or Anne Rivers Siddons. Books that I don't need to be involved with each step of the way.

message 46: by Michael (new)

Michael (mkindness) | 537 comments Mod
Dia and Stephanie-

I totally agree about narrators. I can usually tell within 20 minutes if I'm going to like the voice.

And I too can't listen to classics or anything too "academic." I also find I can't listen to audiobooks if I'm driving home mid-afternoon. Snooze City, no matter how good the book and narrator are!

message 47: by Heather (new)

Heather I want to BE an audio book narrator. REALLY BAD!! :)

message 48: by Shannon (new)

Shannon Wells | 13 comments Hello! new to the podcast, and while I am quickly working my way through them, I haven't listened to them all yet. So, hopefully I don't suggest a topic you have already covered.

-- Holiday books (maybe not for right now, but maybe for @ 4th of July and the Fall/Winter holidays?).

-- Chick Lit -- some of it is terrible, but there are some winners in there (and even some my husband likes!).

-- Books that effect Pop Culture (Harry Potter, Twilight, Watchmen, Star Wars Extended Universe, ....).

-- Travel -- guides, or travelogues

-- "Southern" Literature (both classic and recent)

-- Self Help

-- The Classics - (I have seen some suggestions for that in here, so I guess this is just my vote).

-- Foreign books that get translated and published in US (I know that you have talked about some of them as part of other topics, but maybe a topic on this alone?)

Hmmm, that is about it for now! LOVE the podcast -- it has quickly moved up to my favorite, and I will probably go into mourning when I "catch up"!!


message 49: by Ann (new)

Ann (akingman) | 2097 comments Mod
I'm stunned at the fantastic ideas in here. Shannon and Conny, thanks for the recent additions.

message 50: by Graceann (new)

Graceann (silentsgirl) | 26 comments Conny wrote: "I am not sure if this is the right tab to post under. Anyhow, I was wondering if any of you - and of course, I'd like to know what you Michael and Ann think about this - have "comfort books" or may..."

That is uncanny; I was just thinking of that. I have a sequence from Grapes of Wrath (where they go into the truck stop and are given candy by the kindly waitress) that I sink into when I have the blues. I've read it so many times that my copy naturally falls open to that page. It always puts me back on track.

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