Tuesday, November 9, 2010

My Nightstand

If you’re ever over at our house, you may notice that we keep our bedroom door shut. I love the room and the things in it, but it also tends to be Laundry Central, and that’s sort of embarrassing. A book I read during my first year of marriage said our bedroom should be the most beautiful place in our home—a sanctuary and symbol of our marriage and thus the place that gets the most loving care. Well, I’ve failed at that. It’s a great idea, but—well, this post isn’t about housekeeping.

If the door is ever open, it’s possible I’ve managed to tame the mess on my dresser and deal with the laundry (or hide it in the closet.) But I probably haven’t even noticed my nightstand. It rarely crosses my mind that it should look any different than it does. Come to think of it, that may explain why the area around each child’s bed looks the way it does. Because my nightstand holds most of the books I am currently reading, as well as a hefty line-up of the things I want to read. It contains many of my hopes and dreams as a reader and as a person, it reveals some of what I love, what I want to learn, what I want to emulate, what I want to absorb.

So here’s what is in that pile:

Four issues of Poets & Writers
A Bible
Parzival, Wolfram von Eschenbach
A Fine White Dust, Cynthia Rylant
Rules for the Dance, Mary Oliver
Teacher Man, Frank McCourt (actually finished this, but never re-shelved it)
Three issues of Books & Culture
Summer issue of The Classical Teacher, Memoria Press
A stack of letters and copies of my grandma’s sketches that I brought home from Lincoln last spring and don’t want to lose
The Good Earth, Pearl S. Buck
Shadow Baby, Alison McGhee
Into Thin Air, John Krakauer
Nathan Coulter, Wendell Berry
The Habit of Being, Flannery O’Connor
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Extraordinary Lives: The Art and Craft of American Biography, ed. William Zinsser

Then there’s what used to be on the floor under the nightstand, but has been moved by my ever-patient husband to the top of a CD tower in the hallway:

The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales
The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
The Life You Save May Be Your Own, Paul Elie
Death Comes for the Archbishop, Willa Cather
The Mabinogion, trans. Charlotte Guest

Finally, we mustn’t forget the headboard (it’s flat and makes a lovely shelf):

Orthodoxy, G. K. Chesterton
Memories of Sun: Stories of Africa and America, ed. Jane Kurtz
The Burning of Los Angeles: Poems, Samuel Maio

Remember, this post is not about housekeeping!


  1. I keep books in my nightstand too! They are either books I plan to read, books I've started, or books I finished while reading in bed...and my bookshelves are just too full to reshelve all books. I'll have to check out some of the books you've listed though, haven't read many of them.

  2. I can't imagine life without a "To be read" stack! What's next in line for you to read?

  3. Chuckle--I love it!!! Looks like you have some intriguing reads! I'm actually impressed you have them all in one place. I have some books on my table, some in a basket at the end of the couch, some in a big basket here next to my desk, and the two or three I'm determined to finish "soon" in my chocolate brown and pink tote bag that goes with me everywhere "just in case" I can steal a few minutes to read! :) This bag also has a highlighter and pencil in it too--of course!

    And about the bedroom decor and atmosphere--ba humbug! I had to chuckle at that as I literally have BOXES of books piled in mine. (Hey, I need a new bookshelf, where else am I supposed to put them?! lol)

  4. BTW, I shared the main ideas of this post with Alan. His response? "Sounds like home to me!" giggle

  5. Shonya, there are other places, too, where I have books waiting to be read. The nightstand is just the most obvious place. I have to say, I'm glad I'm not alone in this craziness!

  6. You are SO not alone! :) I have a bookshelf near my side of the bed but STILL have piles of books on my nightstand and the floor! I just can't seem to help it! And I, too, have the trusty tote bag with highlighter and pencil filled with yet another selection of books to carry with me. :) Nowadays, I even have books loaded on my iPad for when I can only carry something smaller in with me. yay! (If only my boys had some of my obsession with reading...) :/

    I will be checking out your titles, too. They aren't the same as mine!

    Finally, was that comment from a Sally Clarkson book? I LOVE SC but think I remember reading something about the bedroom thing long ago.... I blocked it. :)

  7. Laura, I don't remember what book it was from. I read several books in that first year in my search to be a "good" wife, and while I picked up some good things, I also picked up some very misplaced ideas (the bedroom thing being one of them) that Brian has assured me are not things to worry about. And yet perfectionism insists on rearing its head every once in a while...some of these things continue to haunt me.

    I love the saying, "Dull women have clean houses," or however it goes, and yet I can't quite shake the desire for a nice, tidy house. :)


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