Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What's On My Nightstand

Last week Common Household Mom shared a photo of an excellent stack of books on her bedside table, then asked the question:

"What's on your nightstand?"

Well.  I don't have a nightstand.  But I do have a house!  (Um, my house is my nightstand?  Never mind, that's an atrocious metaphor.)  I tend to sprinkle books throughout the house, depositing one or two in the places where I frequently find myself.  Although when I put it like that, I have to wonder why I don't have one in the laundry room.

This was the downstairs bathroom book a couple days ago (THAT'S RIGHT- I'm starting with the bathroom, and I refuse to be ashamed, because as J.K. Rowling puts it, "I never need to find time to read.  When people say to me, 'Oh, yeah, I love reading.  I would love to read, but I just don't have the time,' I'm thinking, 'How can you not have the time?'  I read when I'm drying my hair.  I read in the bath.  I read when I'm sitting in the bathroom.  Pretty much anywhere I can do the job one-handed, I read."), but it was so good it was quickly upgraded to a couch book:

I wrote a bit about this book a few days ago.  So lovingly funny.  I inhaled it in a single afternoon, so it's no longer on the couch.

The current downstairs bathroom book:

Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff.  Adelaide reads and loves an enormous amount of books, but she rarely goes out of her way to recommend one to me, telling me repeatedly how good it was.  This was one of those, and halfway through, I'm really pulling for the protagonist, a foster child trying to find her forever home.

Catch-22 is the current dining room table book.  It's one of those that's sharp and grimly funny and really quite appalling at times.  I'm finding it relatively funny, but I have a feeling you'd have to have been a soldier in a war to really get everything Heller is trying to comment and shed light upon.  This is reinforced by the 5-star rating Luis Carlos Montalvan (author of Until Tuesday, impressively decorated 17-year U.S. military veteran) gave it on Goodreads.  

Bedroom book:

The House I Loved by Tatiana de Rosnay.   I don't love it quite as much as Sarah's Key, one of her previous novels, but it's still a book that draws you in.  The setting is probably my favorite part:  1860's Paris, when Napoleon and Haussman are tearing huge sections of old Paris apart to make way for wide boulevards, modern water systems, and other much-needed improvements that nonetheless reduce centuries-old houses and cobblestone streets to rubble.  The protagonist has lived in one of these old sections slated for demolition her entire life, and can't let go of the house that holds so many memories of her late husband. The picture de Rosnay paints of old-world Paris is charming and beautiful, and so far she's doing a terrific job of describing the tug between letting go of the emotional attachments to architectural history and an old way of life and the need to modernize in order to reduce the risk of such diseases as cholera and to admit modes of transportation of the future.  

Traveling Companion:

I always try to have a book in my bag in case I get stuck waiting somewhere, and this one, Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, fulfills this function perfectly, as it's easy to pick up, read just a few pages, then put back down.  This is only the second book by Lamott I've read, but her nonfiction is definitely the type that needs to be savored, so a few pages at a time followed by long periods of noodling and mental digestion help me get the most out of her work.  She's funny.  She's smart.  She has a perspective on the Christian walk that is very Other to what I often encounter in my relatively safe, white bread world, and I love it.  I just read her book Traveling Mercies a couple weeks ago, which I also recommend.

There you have it.  My nightstand.


  1. I like the location of your nightstand, and I like the books that are on it. Clearly I need to expand the arenas in which I read. And I need to find more one-handed housework tasks. I wonder if I could do the dishes one-handed?

  2. I have to admit, I don't have books scattered. (Nor do I have them on my nightstand --and why is it called a "stand" anyway?) I have always been a read-one-book-at-a-time kind of person, so I usually just bring my book with me from place to place. The only exception is non-fiction, which I will often choose as my take-with-me book, because you can usually dip in and out of it without growling at whatever interrupts you.

    When I was pregnant with Emma, an older colleague recommended Anne Lamott's Operating Instructions. It was a wonderful read, and I should read more of her.


Studies show that that people who leave comments are kind, intelligent, generous, creative, and have really nice hair.