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Books on the Nightstand and Other Bookish Podcasts

Books on My Nightstand

I’ve been listening to Michael Kindness and Ann Kingman’s podcast, Books on the Nightstand, ever since I learned about podcasts. They host a weekly show that talks about various bookish topics with recommendations on the side. I religiously download the latest episodes when they drop, so when I got to the episode titled the End and the Beginning, I felt a little anxious that I didn’t bother listening to it and the couple of episodes that followed it. But Book Riot talked about it in one of their recent podcasts, which confirmed what I thought the episode is about. Yes, one of my favorite bookish podcasts will be in an indefinite hiatus. Basically, it means that it has come to its end.

Books on the Nightstand is memorable to me for two reasons. First, it is in this podcast where I got the idea of book bingo for the annual reading challenge in our book club. I’m sure they won’t mind; the hosts are champions of books and reading (also, I have come up with a different set of categories and mechanics to not completely copy it). Second, I was listening to one of their Booktopia talks when a pickpocket attempted to steal my phone. The sound from my earphones was cut off, and it was then that I realized that someone pulled out my phone from my pocket. I turned around and my phone dropped to the floor. I must have nudged him (I’m pretty sure it was a him, the guy standing too close beside me inside a crowded bus) hard when I turned to look around. So had I not been listening to them, I would have been without a phone and without podcasts for some period.

They have been around for eight years. I feel sad but I understand their reasons. They’ve been casual about these reasons: that they’ve been tired and caught up with other things. I suffer chronically from whatever form of separation anxiety, hence, the need to talk about this. And to make matters worse (or better, depending on how you view things), there would still be upcoming final episodes until the ultimate final one.

Already, I’m agitated. I feel like I need to find another bookish podcast to fill up the space that Books on the Nightstand will leave. I will particularly miss Ann Kingman and her sometimes feisty tone, which I think is the reason some listeners assumed she’s being snippy with Michael, something that they’ve dispelled in the End and the Beginning. Also, I like her book recommendations. Michael is more of a science fiction and graphics novel guy. It’s a balance to Ann’s kind of books, which is the genre that I would not name.

It’s not like I don’t have other bookish podcasts to listen to. Here are the others:

  • Book Riot – a weekly talk show that talks about bookish news. The main hosts, Jeff O’Neal and Rebecca Schinsky, discuss interesting links about whatever is happening in the literary world. They give their take about the news at hand. It’s a nice podcast to listen to if you want to keep updated with things happening around the book world if you don’t mind the lengthy sponsor talks and Jeff’s usually condescending tone.
  • KCRW’s Bookworm – a weekly book discussion hosted by Michael Silverblatt. His picks are more on the literary side of things and he discusses the books with their authors. There are many books that I want to pick based on these discussions but sadly, the books aren’t usually available from where I am. And then I forget about the books episode after episode. There are standouts though, such as the Atticus Lish episode (and Marilynne Robinson, David Mitchell, Kazuo Ishiguro). The host has a languid manner of talking, but if you could get immune from it, you’ll get to see how his mind works. He is full of insights, some of them the authors aren’t even aware of. Admittedly, I’m way behind on the episodes. I’m just finding some time when I could focus on listening to these discussions.
  • Book Review by the New York Times – a weekly show that has the following structure: a book discussion, a news segment, the NYT weekly bestseller list, and the books that the hosts are reading. I usually let the first segment play through, which are usually works of nonfiction, something that isn’t of my best interest. Also, the recording of this first segment isn’t good. It’s like a phone interview full of earsplitting buzzes.
  • Dear Book Nerd – a biweekly agony show hosted by Rita Meade. One of its episodes featured a question I sent them (something about speed reading), and oh boy, you should have seen me getting spastic about it. They have guest hosts, usually authors, so the show is sometimes a hit or miss. Some guest hosts are just better than the others, and the recording is not always good. You could sometimes hear robotic glitches, like a bad Skype or Viber call.

I wouldn’t include the New Yorker podcasts here since I consider them a different brand (fiction podcasts, and I’m also behind). How about you? What bookish podcasts do you listen to? Please let me know so that I can subscribe to them. Thanks!

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“How odd I can have all this inside me and to you it's just words.”

6 Comments

  1. Monique says

    I’ve never tried podcasts – ANY podcast at all, because I don’t have time. But now that I have some 2-3 hours of travel time every day (to and from work, that is) perhaps I could give them a try.

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  2. The only ones I listen to are The Readers which is hosted by Simon in England and Thomas in Washington. There’s a lot of banter in among the book talk. And The Guardian book club which is high quality always.

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  3. I admit that I can’t bring myself to listen to podcasts since I’m not much of a good listener. I wish I could do so ; it helps improve our listening skills. ^_^

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    • Try short podcasts like Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day. And of course you shouldn’t listen when you’re doing something mentally active. :)

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