10 Nightstand Reads (More Actually, but Who’s Counting?)

I enjoyed reading about David Macaulay’s nighttime reading in a PW post last week called nothing less than “On My Nightstand: David Macaulay’s Nighttime Reading.”  Mostly I loved that he has piles of books on his stand, not just one. Photo to prove it too, though not this one.

For this week’s TFCB post, I asked my editorial colleagues what’s on their nightstands these days. Here’s the amazing range, in alphabetical order by coworker’s initials:

1. AK falls asleep too quickly for much book reading in bed. He says: “I read through my Instapaper and The New Yorker before bed. There is generally a print book there, too. Probably Nabokov.

2. BC is reading: It Chooses You by Miranda July.
I have always wanted to be Miranda July’s friend. I  saw her for the premiere of her new movie at the Walker Art Center this summer and was standing right near her. I was too nervous to talk to her, so it will be hard for us to be friends. I have read all of her books and they are magical. I just got this book for my birthday. The book was created after Miranda July read the PennySaver classifieds and visited the people that were posting the ads, along with a photographer.
Diane Arbus: Revelations
My favorite art photographer of all time. If I had a day (any kind of day, a rough day, a long day…) I know I can always pick up this book and remember what I enjoy. It’s a hugely heavy book that includes hundreds of full-page photographs, quotes, and stories from people who worked with her along with other excepts from Diane’s notebooks and letters.

3. CB says: “Well, for one thing, an iPad with dozens of Kindle books in it, fiction and nonfiction and all genres. How many? Not sure. Over a hundred. Under a thousand. Recent additions include:

OK: The Improbable Story of America’s Greatest Word by Allan Metcalf

Trouble at the Zoo by Bindi Irwin

The “Leviathan” trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Five Children and It by E. Nesbit (to reread)

The Sign of the Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

An awful lot of sample chapters including In the Land of Invisible Women by Qanta Ahmed and Barefoot in Baghdad by Manal M. Omar

And for actual, physical, made-out-of-trees books: the three volumes of Pamela Dean’s YA trilogy “The Secret Country,” which have been on my nightstands since about 1985.

4. CH says her nightstand pairing looks far more sinister than it actually is. (She’s the mom of a toddler.)

Toddler 411 by Denise Fields and Ari Brown

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

5. GH–in preparation for the film adaptation of John le Carre’s Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy–is reading The Spy Who Came in from the Cold by John le Carre as well as Ganges #4 by Kevin Huizenga.

6. JF reads short stories. He likes to read an entire story before bed rather than just a chapter or two of a novel.

The Living Dead and The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald

7. JG says: 

Dreams From My Father by Barack Obama. I have been meaning to read it forever. But still haven’t gotten around to it. Maybe before the next election…

Explosive Eighteen by Janet Evanovich. Her newest Stephanie Plum mystery, and next on my list to read. I have read all her books, and started way back when Four to Score came out. So we have spent a lot of years together, Janet and I.

Last Breath by Rachel Caine. I love the YA novels, and am reading this one now.

A couple of mysteries by Mary Janice Davidson, a writer from Hastings, MN. A friend (also J) loaned them to me, and she is my favorite reading buddy. Together we have what we call the “J Lending Library.” It is full of YA paranormal novels, mysteries, and other fiction, and we trade them between the two of us, and with other friends as well.

8. JH has a bookshelf on her nightstand. She says: “There are more, but these are the two that I’ve picked up most recently and that I remember!”

Wildwood, a middle-grade novel written by Colin Meloy, the lead singer of the Decemberists (one of my favorite bands)

What to Expect the First Year by Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, and Sandee Hathaway. (JH is expecting her first baby—a boy!)

9. Like JF, KW is a Fitzgerald fan too. KW’s reading:

A collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories (can’t remember the exact title)

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney (curious what all the hoop-la was about)

10. MR says: I have an old iPhone (can’t take any calls) on which I play cribbage against an unknown intermediate player. My grandmother taught me to play when I was about 7 and used to play against her (and sometimes my dad). It’s amazing how much I’ve forgotten about the game!

11. And Yours Truly has stacks of French-language novels on her nightstand these days. Not to mention dust bunnies. La carte et le territoire by Michel Houellebecq is the one I’m reading right now. It won the prestigious French literary prize known as le prix Goncourt last year and is due to come out in English early next year under the (very literally translated) title “The Map and the Territory.” It’s a typical Houellebecq novel; he’s obsessed with death, the moral corruption of capitalist society and consumerism, the difficulties of connecting with other people. Dark stuff on the face of it, but very humorous (to my mind), amazingly hopeful (in a dark sort of way), and very very imaginative. As an aside, I learned how to say “hoodie” in French from this novel. Any guesses?

Check in next week for more from TFCB and for the answer to the French Language Quiz!