Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Podcast Review: Books on the Nightstand

As a few of you already know I'm in the lucky position to be able to listen to podcasts or audio books while I'm at work. This has lead me to discover a number of wonderful podcasts I would love to share with you. For this, I created the podcast review here at the Dreamworld, which I will do monthly. I will not necessarily review them as I would a book, but for the time being, I have no better word for it.
If you know a podcast I absolutely have to listen to, please let me know either by e-mail or in a comment. I'm always looking for more literary podcasts to enjoy and dwell in!

So let me start with Books on the Nightstand. This is the first literary podcast I ever subscribed to and it is simply awesome! Ann Kingman and Michael Kindness are sales reps for Randomhouse, so they get to read lots of great books before they’re out and we hear about them. It must be really hard for them to not let it slip and talk about all those wonderful books. In fact, all they might tell is that they are reading a great book they can’t wait to talk about, but that's as much as you get until the pub date is here.
Despite them working for Randomhouse, though, the podcast is strictly personal, so you get their opinion and their opinion only. They give the podcast a very personal note and when I listen to Books on the Nightstand it is as if I was sitting there with them having them recommend books to me.

As it is such a pleasure to hear them talk, I usually wait a bit to gather two to four podcasts so I can indulge at a later moment instead of having to stick to “only” about half an hour of book-ish talk. Ann and Michael have recommended a ton of books since their first podcast and I actually have a special notebook where I write down all recommendations sorted by the edition I heard them mention the book. (For a very small excerpt of books I wrote down, see below!)

At the beginning, they taped a podcast about twice a month, but a poll showed that we listeners would very much appreciate a weekly show – and that is what Ann and Michael are doing now, and sucessful at that! Now at # 65 (as you read this the 65th podcast should be available for download), they have gathered a huge number of friends and you can even find Books on the Nightstand on Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter.

Their podcast is usually made up of three sections. First, they talk about the theme of the show with book recommendations along the way. Then they recommend a few books that will be out the week after the podcast, before they go on the the last part of the show with one book each they can’t wait for us to read.

But that is not all. For the holidays, they went great lengths to create gift guides - in 2009 even a regular one and one for kids to download and / or print. And at the end of each gift guide, there's a checklist to print off and mark the books you intend to buy for your loved ones.

Now here are a few select books Ann & Michael recommended over the past two years:

  • Jeff Lindsey: Darkly Dreaming Dextre
  • Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  • Stieg Larson: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
  • Cormac McCarthy: The Road
  • Sam Savage: Firmin
  • Ninni Holmqvist: The Unit

You can see they read and enjoy a broad variety of books, and I only selected a few random ones. If you haven't listened to Books on the Nightstand yet, you certainly should try it!


  1. wow.... thanks so much for all of the kind words about Books on the Nightstand, Kathrin!

    I'm thrilled and honored that we got our own special notebook. As list-making book-lover, I know what a big deal that is!

    Michael Kindness

  2. I love this podcast! It's one of the few podcasts on my iPod that gets listened to as soon as I download it.

  3. This sounds really right up my alley. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Michael, it's what I think, so you don't have to thank me ;-) And the notebook - I have a special post up for that last Wed (Feb 24). Not with photos, but with a description at least. I love my lists!

    Nan, so do I! I just can't bear the thought of being through the podcast within 25-30 mins, so I usually save a few before I listen - and in between I sometimes listen to old shows.

    Jan, my pleasure! You really need to check it out, it is awesome :D