Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Podcast Review: Books on the Nightstand - recommendations

Please don't forget to check out my giveaway celebrating 50 followers!

In last week's first podcast review of Books on the Nightstand, I mentioned that I have a special notebook to keep track of the books I got recommended by Ann and Michael. Basically, it's a small, black Moleskine notebook with 76 pages and as I have two such notebooks the one for the recommendations has a sticker of Jenny's Cupcakes, a cupcake bakery here in Frankfurt on it (if you're in Frankfurt, check it out, I can give you directions). It's basically a white sticker with a pink cupcake and "Jenny's Cupcakes" written on it. For each podcast I start a new page, writing down the number and title of the podcast and then I write down the books I want to check out. After each book I leave a lign empty for my own mini-comment on how I liked it.

Now on to the recommendations - at least a few of them.

It all started in the very first podcast Ann and Michael did. There they mentioned The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, a book I had already read, but deemed note-worthy. It is such a great book!

In the second podcast they first mentioned a book by Valerie Martin, Trespass (as well as in podcast #14), and in one of the last podcasts (#60), Mary Reilly by the same author was mentioned. I believe it was Ann who recommended both books, but I really have to see who recommended which book in my notebook! (Maybe I'll do that this weekend, when I try to relax from the take-home exam I have to hand in tomorrow, before I tackle the paper I have to write.)

In the 20th podcast, it was all about sci-fi for the non-sci-fi-reader. With that one, they really got me, as I found Firmin by Sam Savage in a local book shop soon after the show. Let me just say I fell hard for that book and have since given the book as a present to two friends of mine and am now offering it in my giveaway. I guess that shows how much I love this book.

Then, I believe I really should mention The Road by Cormac McCarthy (podcast #30, #42 and #50). Around the time Ann and Michael recommended it, it was also on my reading schedule for a class. Unfortunately, it was the book that was dropped from the schedule as we were a bit too slow, but with a few other students and our lecturer, we set up a special class to discuss it for those interested. It is such a thought-provoking book, and I'm really glad Dr. V agreed to do the extra class!

Right in the next podcast, #31 (and #50 and #58, as it happens), they spoke about Beowulf at the Beach by Jack Murnighan. In this book, Murnighan talks about all those classics out there, the ones you should really know! And gives a short summary, tells you which parts of the book you can skip and adds other useful information! Can you believe it? I absolutely have to get this book.

Now, to give you even more of an impression of the variety of recommendations, here's a short list of books I noted from the podcasts #60 through #62:

  • David Grann: The Lost City of Z
  • Eric Larson: The Devil in the White City
  • Valerie Martin: Mary Reilly
  • Thomas Mullen: The Many Deaths of the Firefly Brothers
  • Jaron Lanier You Are Not A Gadget
  • Chip Heath & Dan Heath: Made to Stick
  • Chip Heath & Dan Heath: Switch
  • Georges Perec: A Void
  • Georges Perec: Life - A User's Manual
  • Rebecca Skloot: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Of course, even Ann and Michael's recommendations aren't always fool-proof. I have found one book they recommended that I didn't enjoy so far - Nancy Horan's Loving Frank. But if you take into account the many, many books I wrote down and the number of books I already read, this is really not that note-worthy.

Oh yes, and the books I have on Mt. TBR from their recommendations? They are:

  • Stieg Larsson: The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo (actually on Mom's shelves, but so what)
  • Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games
  • Yu Hua: Brothers
  • Alan Bradley: The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
  • Ninni Holmqvist: The Unit
  • Stieg Larsson: The Girl Who Played With Fire (also on Mom's shelves)
  • Lev Grossman: The Magician
  • Carrie Ryan: The Forest of Hands and Teeth
  • Arthut Conan Doyle: The Complee Adventures and Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes


  1. hi kathrin! I have an award for you.