Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bedside

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.

34 comments:

mago said...

deSade was one crazy fucker, that's for sure. I accidently stumbled upon Foucault on youtube, seriously - he talks about "Discipline and Punish".

Leah said...

He really was a nutter.

I must find the Foucault! I've never seen him in the flesh, and he's one of my heroes.

Brian Miller said...

nice. i will have to check out that ghost story book...twilight series was not really well written...

savannah said...

the MITM has given up on my bedside table! i finally just stacked the books on the floor. now only the 3 i'm reading reside on the table. xoxoxo

Ronda Laveen said...

Your collection definitely reveals a lot about YOU! Love the ecclectic range of material. From alpah to omega.

Leah said...

Brian: Twilight is seriously some of the worst writing I've ever come across. Staggeringly bad. Le Fanu, however, I cannot recommend highly enough.

Savannah: I'm trying to decide whether to clear things out a little...

Ronda: I am nothing if not eclectic! Although I suppose there are a few themes running through it all...

Baino said...

Very eclectic selection there! I have four books on my bedside table all in stages of un'read' ness to my shame. Actually Twilight series may not be well written but I know a few people who wished they'd written it!

xl said...

Thank you for the de Sade recommendation!

Leah said...

Baino: I know that Stephanie Meyer is sooooo rich from those characters...

xl: de Sade actually shocked me, and it's really hard to shock me. I mean, really really hard. So let me add that.

Everyday Goddess said...

love your last paragraph!

does it say too much about me that my bedside table is crowded with esther hicks and abraham, and eckhart tolle?

i should add in the far side. loved that guy.

nick said...

A fascinatingly varied selection. To my shame, I haven't read any of them, though no doubt the reverse would apply to my own favourites. My bedside table is tiny and only includes my current read (Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri). The rest are sprinkled around the house.

One very trivial question - how comes there seems to be a mirror image of the De Sade book?

mago said...

"Wisconsin Death Trip reflects the 120 Days of Sodom."
One of the most interesting seminars of my life ...

The Unbearable Banishment said...

The covers of the "Twilight" series are a brilliant coup of graphic design. I'll miss dust jackets when e-readers take over.

Man, I love Mencken. Best thing that ever came out of Baltimore.

I bought a tattered copy of "The Days of Sodom" years ago and peek occasionally. It reminds me of a Randy Newman's "A Few Words in Defense of our Country":

Spanish Inquisition
That's a good one
Put people in a terrible position
I don't even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it


Do you know that song? You should YouTube it. And since when is YouTube a verb?

What's better than crazy Glenn Gould digging into the Goldberg Variations? Not much, I'd say.

Madame DeFarge said...

I have nothing like this on display. I have several nail files, some foam ear plugs and an assortment of pens. I think some radical rethinking is called for.

Leah said...

Goddess: I had to look up both of those, and am now the wiser! Tolle sounds interesting. I could use a bit of inner direction, I think.

I really like the Far Side too, and in fact just recently reshelved two volumes of Gary Larson, from my bedside table!

nick: I would love to hear about some of your favorites! The de Sade is reflecting in the black glossy cover of "Wisconsin Death Trip," hence mago's witticism!

Leah said...

mago: you are such a wit. We're still cracking the mole foot joke at our house.

UB: awesome comment. I agree with everything you said. And although I had never heard that Randy Newman song, it so perfectly captures how I feel about de Sade (and certain other things, for that matter...)

Mme: I do have some pens as well! For drawing dirty pictures in the margins of de Sade. Just kidding. They're for my word seeks, which also make an appearance on the table at times...

nick said...

My favourites? Actually I tend to read new books more than I reread old ones, but Zola's Therese Raquin is a favourite, I've read that several times. Also Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami and Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter by Mario Vargas Llosa.

Many books unfortunately don't bear rereading, they're too flawed the first time round.

Leah said...

Nick, the only Zola I've read was "Nana," and I really enjoyed it (of course, that was nearly 25 years ago, so who knows whether I understood it). I haven't read the others, so I'm intrigued.

kylie said...

my bedside is covered in hair elastics and assorted childrens paintings and unpaid bills

Leah said...

Okay, I'll admit to the occasional hair elastic. The unpaid bills are hidden in a drawer.

Leah said...

Notice how I took the photo strategically so that you can't see the front of the table, nor what's under it...

kylie said...

*grin of recognition*

just bob said...

Snoopy rocks

Subby said...

I still have me old copy of "Sandlot Peanuts", tho' the dust jacket was lost long ago. My current reading pile won't fit in the camera lens!

Leah said...

Kylie, some day I'll post a photo of the worst and scariest place in our house: the storage room. I think we could be arrested for that room.

bob: totally.

Subby:
: )

Actually, to be honest, the only truly current reading (as in haven't totally finished it but probably will) is the le Fanu and "The Pity of it All."

Pat said...

Oh to have a beside table that held so many books. Two pairs of specs, two books at most, a lamp, pencils and the odd pill is my lot.

Megan said...

I can't have anything on the bedside table because the cat jumps up there and has fun pushing it all onto the floor at four in the morning.

But anyways, enough about me. This is an utterly fabulous little insight you're giving us, here. Says I.

J'adore Le Fanu. La Stephenie, not so much. I tried the first one. I REALLY tried. We just didn't work.

Nana Jo said...

What a marvellous idea for a blog post! I think I shall probably steal your idea and follow suit soon. My daughter (age 27) is presently enamoured of the Twilight saga. Me, not so much. I haven't read any of your bedside companions other than Snoopy, whom I adore. You've placed a 'feast of fat things' before me ...

Snowbrush said...

You have Snoopy, and I have the Hardy Boys. Other than that, I'm glad to see that we're both heavy intellectuals. Ha.

Putz said...

i really really enjoyed the reliable wife, and alos did a book review on it>>>>i tink relationships and stories of relationships are so cooooool

Leah said...

Pat: sometimes I feel as if I'm drowning in books, though...

Megan: first may I say, thank you for the gift of le Fanu! second, I am still marveling over the utterly terrible writing perpetrated by that Stephenie chick. However, I do sort of understand the appeal of Edward and Bella, I think. It worries me, but I understand it.

Nana Jo: I hope you do this; I would love to check yours out! And yes, that Snoopy fellow is timeless isn't he.

Snowbrush: Hey, I like the Hardy Boys too! We intellectuals need something to deconstruct, right? ; )

Putz: I would be very interested to read your review of this book. I'll go check your blog to find it--and/or leave me a link if you stop by again!

MJ said...

Fascinating selection!

Last time I moved I gave away 150 books.

By the looks of things, they've replicated themselves since then.

Leah said...

MJ, that's what happens to us too...although rarely can we bring ourselves to give any away...

muralimanohar said...

I'm going to be embarrassed FOR you about the Twilight swill. Gah. I read them, cause a friend loved them so much she shipped them all the way to Australia to entice me, and by the end my eyes were bleeding. Or they should have been, anyway. And Edward and Bella? Crack any Harlequin romance (Mills and Boon to anyone over an ocean), and there they are, with different names. (My teen years were dominated by them. My spelling and grammar benefited...not much else did. :p)

Oh, yeah..I met Gary Larson once. Actually, my friend and I stalked him through the museum he had an exhibit in, and FORCED him to meet us. lol