Lots of Books in My Bookcase, Eight on My Nightstand

by Mallary Tenore Tarpley

My little nightstand

My little nightstand

I’ve always read a lot, but lately I haven’t made as much time for books as I’d like.

Growing up, it was easy to find time to read — I read while walking two miles every day on my way to and from middle school. I read while climbing trees, while walking through the grocery aisles with my parents, while in the car.

Pretty much any spare time I had was spent reading, or writing. That was before I had a laptop that started to consume my life! Don’t get me wrong; I love my laptop, but sometimes I wish I were better at closing it and opening a book. A daily whiff of old, yellowish book pages is healthy for the mind.

I have a 70″x 29″ bookshelf full of books, as well as several on my little Ikea nightstand (which I managed to put together myself!).  The books that are currently on my nightstand are all reflective of the different types of books I like to read:

“Rabbit Is Rich” by John Updike — Got a copy of this book in the free book section of the Eugene Patterson Library at Poynter. I had always wanted to read an Updike book and, given his recent death, I thought it was as good a time as any to start reading it. I haven’t yet read the other two Rabbit books that came before it, but plan to at some point. The book’s opening passages are eerily reflective of today’s poor economy. “The f***ing world is running out of gas” is one line in particular that stuck out at me.

“Final Salute” by Jim Sheeler — I started reading this after The Rocky Mountain News ceased publication last month. Figured it was an appropriate time to remind myself of some of the great work done at the paper.

“The Craggy Hole in My Heart and the Cat Who Fixed It” by Geneen Roth — A colleague lent me this book last summer and I’ve been holding onto it ever since. (Note: If you lend me a book, it may take me a little while to get it back to you …) I didn’t read the book as thoroughly as I would have liked the first time around, and now that I have a cat, I want to read it again. Geneen Roth is wonderful at personal writing. She always writes about her experiences in a way that makes you feel as though you can relate to, and understand, what she is going through.

“Dewey” by Vicki Myron with Bret Witter — My grandmother was reading this book when she came to visit me in March. She forgot it here, so I’m saving it for her until I see her again in October. Clara, my cat, likes the big photo of Dewey, the cat pictured on the book’s cover. And I like having the book nearby because it reminds me of my grandma.

“Don’t Shoot the Messenger” by Bruce W. Sanford and “The Power to Write” Caroline Joy Adams — I ran out of space in my bookcase, so I’m basically keeping these media/writing-related books on my nightstand until I get enough books to start a second bookcase. I don’t plan to read them anytime soon, mainly because I read about the media at work all day, five days a week. I still like reading books about the media, but lately I’ve wanted a mental break from them, probably because media news has been so grim lately.

“It Hit Me Like a Ton of Bricks” by Catherine Lloyd Burns — I got this book from the free book section of Poynter’s library, too. The description on the back of this memoir about a mother and daugther starts off by saying: “Loss is a way of life for both Catherine and her mother. But where it made the daughter ravenous for contact, it made the mother lose her appetite for people. While the two have always had a fierce attachment, by turns and intimate tumultuous, mother and daughter found a reprieve from decades of fractious and contentious and frustrating interactions after the birth of Catherine’s daughter, Olive …” Sounds kind of interesting.

“Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora Neale Hurston — I’m reading this for a virtual book club that I’m in. We call it a “virtual” book club because there are five of us in it and we all live in different states — Massachusetts, Florida, Texas, Illinois and Pennsylvania. We e-mail each other about when we want to discuss a book and then we talk about the book using Skype.

It’s a pretty fun, laid-back system. We try to read a book a month but sometimes it’s a book every other month, depending on how busy we are. I suggested we read “Their Eyes Were Watching God” because it takes place in Florida and because the protagonist sounds appealing to me. On the back of the book she’s described as “a woman who refuses to live in sorrow, bitterness fear or foolish romantic dreams.” Just my kind of gal.

Oh, and I can’t forget the diary that’s also on my nightstand. I always like having a pen and paper near my bed to record those late-night thoughts I always seem to have.

What books are on your nightstand or to-read list?

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