On My Night Stand: A Bookish Anthropological Study

Ok, so this isn’t a lifting of the veil of all things going on behind the scenes in my home. Instead, it’s a study of all the books I have sitting on my nightstand and what that says about me and my current reading tastes and, in result, where I am in my writing. I even made the effort just now to go upstairs and take a photo of my night stand. It’s a bit dusty and disorganized right now and I’m not usually messy. So, first thing’s first. I’m currently reading on my Kindle, and while there are a number of books to be read on that device, I won’t spend a ton of time on it. I’ll just tell you about what I am actually reading right now. I came across an interesting novel, one whose title was intriguing enough that I wanted to pick up the book and read it before I even read the description or an excerpt. They Who Fell by Kevin Kneupper is something I came across thanks to my Kindle Unlimited subscription. Honestly, I haven’t found many Kindle only e-books that have sparked my interest, but this one did. It’s about an apocalyptic world where the angels have been cast out of heaven and have overtaken earth and enslaved the humans. So far, I’ve really enjoyed it and I can’t wait to find out what happens! Red Sky in Morning by Paul Lynch is a book I picked up a while ago at Barnes and Nobles. I haven’t read it yet, but it’s about a man who killed the wrong person and is now on the run from someone seeking vengeance. The prose promises to be lyrical, which of course is one of my big motivators in a book. The Guest Cottage by Nancy Thayer was a really fun and different read for me. I’d never read her before. The book is still on my nightstand because the author is coming to Kansas City next month and I am going to get her autograph. I’m very excited to attend the event. This book was a fun beachy read about rediscovering oneself. It takes place in Nantucket and I hope desperately that I will get to visit that amazing place some day. If I Stay by Gayle Forman was something I picked up at Half Priced Books a few months ago and I’ve read it. I just haven’t moved it from my nightstand yet. I was intrigued by the story and really wanted to read it. It was really well written and reading it was enjoyable, even though at times the story was difficult on an emotional level. I hope to read the subsequent pieces of the story sometime. The Quick by Lauren Owen was one of my more recent Gothic finds. It’s a vampire story written with the traditional storytelling mantra of a Gothic novel. this makes it difficult to get through at times simply because most stories these days are not nearly so dense. But it’s an interesting and twisting read. I must admit, I haven’t finished it yet, but I plan to get back on it sometime soon. The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater made it onto my nightstand for a few reasons. I picked up her first book of the series at Mysteryscape, a now defunct local bookstore. It was autographed so I bought it. I love picking up signed copies. My last visit to Mysteryscape led me to find the second book in the series which is also autographed. So I bought it. Also, I really enjoyed it. This is a southern story. It takes place in Virginia in a small town and it’s filled with magic and dreams and fortune-telling. It’s a really fun series to read and makes me want to return to writing Urban Fantasy! And, of course, I love Poe and Ravens, so something about Raven boys absolutely caught my eye. I’m not afraid to admit it! The Velveteen Rabbit and Shel Silverstein’s Everything On It are on my nightstand too because of my boyfriend’s little boy. I try to read him a variety of things during story time. He loved Silverstein’s poems, but wasn’t such a big fan of The Velveteen Rabbit which is one of my all-time favorite children’s books. The Silverstein book was an old Christmas present from my sister. Reading it reminded me of our childhood. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman is another book I have yet to read. I think it’s going to be another story featuring a unlikeable main character. But the back of cover copy made me laugh, so I’m looking forward to reading it. As you can see, I have a variety of styles and genres in my library. I’m not sure how to analyze me because, well, I am me and I know who I am. But perhaps this will give you an idea of who I am as a reader and maybe as a writer too. Somehow, all of these books come out to something uniquely me. Perhaps they say that I embrace stories of many kinds and that I like being exposed to new things. I revel in fiction though, so perhaps there is a need for escapism in my life. I don’t necessarily feel that way, but I imagine that people who analyze me might deduce that, especially if they take into consideration my love of writing fiction and living in the lives of my characters along with it. As a writer, what I read often gets regurgitated into my writing. There may not be overt evidence of this, but it certainly happens. I can give a direct example. I started drafting ideas for a Dystopian story after reading some Philippa Gregory and this is what came out: The world is full of desiccation and decay, much of the soil white with salt and chemicals and the sky thick with ash. Mankind has not cherished his home. He has destroyed her with the cheeky arrogance of spoiled entitlement. He has behaved like an errant king luxuriating in the spoils that he believes to be his and his alone. To my ears, it absolutely smacks of someone who has just finished reading a book about the luxurious courts of Europe! And that’s certainly not a bad thing. It gave my writing an interesting flavor for a time. 🙂 What is currently lounging on your night stand, both read and unread? Please share!