My bedside table reveals a lot about who I am, I think--especially the books--it's crammed with books: the ones I'm in the middle of, the ones I fully intend to read but possibly won't, a few favorites for bedtime comfort. There are occasionally other things on that little table (my glasses, earrings, a cup of coffee, a glass of icewater), but mostly it's books.
Here's the current lineup:
You can see that it runs the gamut from "Twilight" to Snoopy. Hey, I'm not embarrassed! Or maybe a little bit. About the Twilight, not Snoopy...
Closeup #1: we won't even discuss the Stephenie Meyer. Or will we? My dear friend (you shall remain nameless) kindly sent me all four of these. In the final analysis, these are extremely peculiar and disturbing books. I keep them on the bedside because I'm as yet unwilling to pass them along to the next curious reader, and I like the glossy black covers and the heft and bulk of them. Oh Edward. Find someone your own age, won't you?
Also here is "History of Sexuality," which I've yet to get through. Foucault's "Discipline and Punish" is one of my favorite books, and if you're not familiar with it, don't be disappointed but it's not a sexy s&m manual, but rather a thoughtful historical/sociological treatise on schools, prisons, and sanitoriums, and the ways in which they are, disturbingly, similar.
"The Pity of it All," a beautifully written history of German Jews, on loan from my extremely well-read sister in an attempt to better me. Sissy, I promise I'm reading it...but slowly.
My favorite in this pile: Le Fanu's ghost stories, recommended by Megan, scrumptiously well-written and atmospheric. On a rainy night, it's pure magic.
Closeup #2: my red-leather-bound journal (no review necessary, anyone who reads the blog can guess at its maundering contents); "A Reliable Wife" (just finished its gothic overwroughtness), "The Difference Engine" (finished a year ago, but I treasure its little presence); the collected Robert Burns that I retrieved after hearing the beautiful rendition of "Ae fond kiss" over at Mapstew's (go have a listen; it is to weep); "So Innocent...," a self-published true crime masterwork found in a roadside Stuckey's on the Grand Tour road trip last summer. The Mencken belongs to Sarge, but there was no room on his bedside table.
Closeup #3: "World War Z" (you'll like it if you like zombies, which odds are you do); de Sade (I read every word of this, and can attest to the fact that he was mad sick; a hero of free speech; disgusting; re-readable); "Wisconsin Death Trip," my sine qua non, cause of more than a few nightmares when indulged in before sleep, as it is quite hard to digest and often results in psychic dyspepsia.
Tucked in there, hard to see, is my score to The Goldberg Variations, a gift from my mom. I must here stop to give some advice: if you read music, and you are obsessed with a complex piece of classical music, do yourself a favor and purchase or download the score so that you can follow along. It is great fun, highly illuminating, very satisfying. I'm serious!
Lastly, but hardly leastly, is my large Peanuts anthology, abandoned there by Hedgehog. But who among us can deny the lure and appeal of that strange little gang? So I keep it, for its gift of cheer amid the Gothic, the dead, the zombies, the sadism, and all that biting.