Thursday, 23 October 2008

Dusting off the bedside table

It is my job to turn off the alarm clock every morning at 5:45 am.

Despite the fact that the bell tolls for Sigmund, and not for me, our Bose alarm "system" is on my side of the bed. Although it might seem nonsensical and arbitrary, since Sigmund wakes before me at least 98% of the time, nevertheless it is a fixed feature of our domestic arrangements. I get to turn off the alarm, and then lie awake -- repeatedly nudging my comatose husband until he finally arises. Like clearing off the kitchen table, that neverending challenge, it is a task that seems to belongs to me.

For some time now, I've been aware (as much as my sleepy semi-consciousness will allow) that I have to make a stretching, lunging, arching motion to actually reach the alarm clock. Despite having a modestly sized bedside table, which also holds a large blue Chinese lamp in addition to the aforementioned Bose system, my arm must get past several towers of books.

I have mentioned before that I have a predilection for creating book piles around my sleeping space. I'm aware of these piles in a vague sort of way, and yet I also don't really notice them . . . if you know what I mean. It does make it difficult to dust; but then, I've never been one to actually move objects if I can just dust around them. I'm definitely a yielding force when it comes to an unmovable object.

Yesterday, I had my biannual urge to tackle at least some of my most notorious areas of clutter. To my surprise and dismay, I discovered that my bedside table was harboring the following twenty books. There were also several cards that I meant to send, numerous bookmarks, some correspondence, my husband's new American ATM card, some matches, and three coasters. It occurred to me, as I was performing the book-cull, that these piles serve as a sort of record of my reading life. Although I've read many, many books in the last six months that haven't got mired in bedside table purgatory, my piles are still a telling -- if incomplete -- collection of artifacts.

So, in no particular order:

Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
I started reading this one about a week ago -- mostly because of enjoying the recent BBC production. I haven't read any Hardy in almost 20 years and it seemed time to visit him again. (stays on bedside table)

An Imaginative Experience, Mary Wesley
I'm not sure why this one is even here, but my best guess is that I wanted to look at Wesley's writing again after reading the Wesley biography, Wild Mary, last spring/winter? When I first moved to England, not long married and pregnant, I read the entire contents of my neighbor's bookshelves. I remember there being a lot of Mary Wesley and Joanna Trollope. It was my first introduction to the publishing concept of an "Aga saga." (remove to bookshelf)

Mr. Bridge, Evan Connell
This is so shaming. I've had this on my to-read bookshelf for years, and finally motivated to start it last spring. I only made it halfway through, sadly, before abandoning it. The first line is totally arresting, but it gets a big draggy in places. I just ordered the Merchant Ivory film made from this book (and its companion, Mrs. Bridge), because I'm really in the mood for a Paul Newman tribute. Hopefully, it will inspire me to -- finally! -- finish this book. (stays on bedside table)

West Coast, Kate Muir
This was on a good special at WH Smith's. I enjoyed her previous novel, Left Bank, but I haven't even cracked the cover on this one yet. (stays on bedside table)

So Many Books, So Little Time, Sara Nelson
A memoir of a reading year. Words like "fairly" and "moderately" are immediately coming to mind, which means that I will inevitably damn with faint praise. It's pleasant. I've read about half, and skimmed the rest. (remove to bookshelf)

Ghost at the Table, Suzanne Burns
My friend Jenni, always a source of good books, loaned me this one. It takes place at Thanksgiving, so November seems like the right time to read it. (stays on bedside table)

The German Bride, Joanna Hershon
My friend Michelle loaned/gave me this one after I cajoled her into it. It was written by a friend of hers. This one got lost in the gardening/Moonwalking haze that was May and June. Must resolve to read it soon. (stays on bedside table)

Jane Austen, A Life, Claire Tomalin
Periodically, I go through a Jane Austen phase. I was in one of these phases in late May, partly because of the movie Miss Austen Regrets, and partly because my daughter had Emma on a constant loop, and partly because Jenni and I went to The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. By the way, I'm not sure who the JAC caters for -- because if you are a fan, you already know everything they are going to tell/show you; and if you are not a fan, you certainly won't become one by visiting this very poor tribute to one of England's finest and most famous writers. We did get to see the costumes from Miss Austen Regrets -- and a documentary on the lace-making industry in Sri Lanka. For what it's worth. (remove to bookshelf)

Jane Austen, Carol Shields
I'm very fond of Carol Shields' work, and I'm still cross that she died too young. I had no idea she was a Jane Austen fanatic until I came across this book in The Jane Austen Centre in Bath. I've only skimmed this one, but I will return to it when I'm next in a Jane Austen phase. (remove to bookshelf)

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
This is my mother's childhood copy, and the cover is completely threadbare -- but the pages have a lovely dense feel. I've read it more times than I can possibly trace. My youngest daughter went through a Little Women movie phase at the beginning of the summer, and knowing me, I was probably rereading some of the scenes from the book. (remove to bookshelf)

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs, Jeremy Mercer
A memoir from a Canadian journalist who takes refuge in the Shakespeare & Company Bookstore in Paris. I was moderately entertained by it, but I got distracted by something more enticing and abandoned it about halfway through. I bought this one at the Travel Bookshop in Notting Hill when my mom was visiting in September. (undecided; remove to bookshelf for now)

The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion
I bought this one days after seeing Vanessa Redgrave's tour de force show. I gobbled the book up, and found it thoughtful and not too depressing. But I have a high tolerance for the morbid. (mail to grieving friend)

Grace (Eventually), Anne Lamott
I don't share Lamott's religious faith, but I like reading her take on the world. She is a funny, irreverent, clever writer -- although some might call her self-absorbed. I bought this in Texas in April and I still haven't gotten around to reading it. (remove to bookshelf)

Without Reservations, Alice Steinbach
A memoir from a journalist who decides to go travelling for a year to see what she can find. Visits Paris, London, Oxford and Milan. There is some nice writing in it -- with some gentle humor and insights -- but I lost steam about 3/4 of the way through. Memorable for her interesting liason with a Japanese man while in Paris. I never made it to Milan, but I assume that she did. I have a feeling that this came from an independent bookstore, but I can't remember which one. (remove to bookshelf)

Texas Women, (anthology from Texas Monthly magazine)
I bought this at the LBJ Ranch gift shop when I was in Texas -- mostly because I was lonesome for some Molly Ivins. Haven't read it yet. (remove to bookshelf)

Mrs. Woolf and the Servants, Alison Light
I'm a huge Woolf fan, and I love the domestic detail of a writer's (or anyone's, actually) private life. A gift from Sigmund for Valentine's Day (maybe?). I haven't even started it. (remove to bookshelf)

The Gathering, Anne Enright
The 2007 Booker Prize winner. Irish, miserable. Dysfunctional family saga. Sigmund gave it to me for my birthday last winter. I struggled to like it, but ended up abandoning it halfway through. (remove to bookshelf)

I Feel Bad About My Neck, Nora Ephron
Even though my neck is still holding up okay, Ephron's precision humor had me totally identifying with her plight. A book of essays -- all of them about being a woman; most of them about being a woman of a certain age. I've skipped around in it, but I think I've read most of it. This is the kind of book I will reread in 5 years -- and then again 5 years after that. (remove to bookshelf)

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver
When I manage to become totally evolved I hope that I end up something like Barbara Kingsolver. I was fascinated with this book -- although informational, it was as entertaining and warm as her fiction. (remove to bookshelf)

Home, Marilynne Robinson
I just bought this one: the fact that it is a hardcover reveals just how much I want to read it!
(stays on bedside table)

I have a poor memory and have never bothered to keep any kind of journal for long -- despite frequent vows to do so and the purchase of attractively bound books for the purpose.

It occurs to me that these piles of books I keep are the strata of my life -- not as permanent as rocks, but horizontal layers of memory all the same.


Debski Beat said...

Well Bee, this is a first, I am actually first beating BSR !!
I have just returned from a Brit game of Bridge with a wide open brain. As I read your blog tonight I look about my own clutter, sadly not quite so impressive ... 'Hello' 'Ok', Knitting fashions of The 1940's (yes, really) also numerous cooking magazines. The Bearded One is next to me reading a cooking mag as I write, but I also have to maintain my dignity within the realms of your readers therefore I report a pile in progress .. Eleanor of Aquitane, The Mango Season, The Medici, Sea of Poppies and The Power of Art all yet to read. Yoga DVD's galore, some unopened (!)

On alarm clocks, I am so so glad that The Bearded One is retired, he now requires alarm clocks for golf. I think they are terrible things I really do, can you imagine that there are actually alarm clocks that have the audacity to make tea and toast, as if that is an apology or compensation for causing a near heart attack with such din.

Perhaps the need to dust off the bedside table comes from spending a few days in bed, I am always shocked at how I need to tidy personal space after a dose of flu or the like.

Bee, glad to hear you are back in the land of the living. By the way, we have not heard about Ralph and Lauren lately are they ok ?

Bitty said...

All I have time for now is to say that my daughter's name is Amy. When I first met my now best friend and we were exchanging life histories, her reaction to this info was, "Delightful! Like in Little Women!"

Actually, exactly like in LW. That's where I first heard the name, was charmed by it, and never let it go.

I too have books all about the bedroom -- and every other room.

I know some who are completely non-book, non-reading people. What empty lives they must lead!

Kate said...

I very much enjoyed this post, Bee. Your reading sounds quite intellectual; I feel like a dolt. And I'm an English teacher? Oh. My.
Check out some of my reading material, located, primarily, within arm's reach of "my" chair in the hearth room.
1) Vanity Fair, Jan. 2008 (Fascinating article, "The New York Art World's Bizarre Double Suicide." I've read this twice. Feel compelled to do research.)
2) Home (An itty-bitty book subtitled "A Little Book of Comfort." One of my fave lines: "Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful. Thanks, William Morris)
3) Neris and India's Idiot-Proof Diet, A Weight Loss Plan for Real Women (Oh-so-snappy writing by U.K. women. Very funny in parts. I read this while noshing on Cheez-Its or Wheat Thins.)
4) O At Home, An Oprah Magazine, issue Fall 2008, featuring Oprah's Private Library!
5) November 2008 issue of Country Sampler magazine (Festive displays for every room!)
6) O, the Oprah Magazine, Nov. 2008
7) Instructor magazine, featuring an article about helping boys to succeed academically; also, how to teach ELLs with confidence.
8) Nights in Rodanthe (Nicholas Sparks) I'd seen the movie. Wanted to read the book. Just can't get into Sparks's sappy prose style. He annoys me. Quit on page 9. Blechh.
9) Hometown Appetites, The Story of Clementine Paddleford, the Forgotten Food Writer Who Chronicled How America Ate (Kelly Alexander and Cynthia Harris)
Now, here's a book I'm enjoying, savoring. I love to read books about how people eat. I am especially fond of books that have black and white, back-in-the-day pictures of people eating. This book is engaging and biographic-ish and features recipes I'm excited to try, in particular a cornmeal/milk fried batter concoction called "Kornettes," a treat of fame aboard the mid-century Katy railroad ... serving Missouri, Kansas, and Texas.

Amazingly, it is my adult ADD that allows me to read all these books and magazines simultaneously. Except for the Sparks book, which I'll go ahead and put on my bookshelves. Daughter #2 has expressed some interest!

On a separate note, has your barbecue package arrived? I mailed it last Wednesday ... .

Enjoy the remainder of your week, Bee!


Cindy said...

I know where to come when I am looking for a book recommendation. You would have one for any mood I may be in.
I go through Jane Austen phases as well, usually after catching one of the movies on tv at which point I must reread everything she wrote.
I'm glad you're feeling better. Make sure to get sunshine (if available) every day. It does wonders for the blues. I know England is like Pittsburgh - more cloudy than sunny but take advantage of the sun when it shines :)

JaneyV said...

My bed-side tab;e has become a health hazard and I fear a purge is imminent. Mostly on it right now are notebooks with ideas and scenes for the book I'm supposed to be writing, a stack of magazines, the junk that fell out of several magazines, lots of books and scraps of paper that the children have given me to sign for several school-related activities. I know there are at least 2 coasters under there but my tea-cup is sitting on top of the piles.

Don't even get me started on the dust - it's far too humiliating.

Your reading list is amazing. You should do a best reads of 2008 post so the less prolific of us can be lazy and just chose the good ones!

Bee said...

Debski - I've missed you! I was starting to wonder if you were stuck in bed, too. (And yes, I know exactly what you mean about tissue and dirty mug wreckage left after a prolonged sickbed experience.)

Have you dipped into your book reading pile at all? I haven't read a single one of those titles. "The Mango Season" intrigues me.

As for Ralph and Lauren, they are feeling the children's neglect more than ever these days. Although C did take three of her little friends into the hen pen yesterday -- which they probably found rather alarming! On the upside, they are benefiting from my bread baking mania. They particularly enjoyed my zucchini bread, I'm happy to report.

One of my dearest, oldest friends is named Amy. An excellent name, for sure. Amy, arguably, had the most pleasant fate of the four sisters.

As you say, a house without books is a sterile place indeed.

The barbeque sauces have arrived! Rejoicing in Berkshire! When I started blogging it never occurred to me that I'd get gifts. :) I'd love your favorite bbq recipe, though. Would you consider this as a blog post request?

And that takes me straight into one of my favorite topics: food. I really like the sound of the Hometown Appetites book. I'm going to Amazon that one for sure. Do check out Homesick Texan, as she recently chronicled the Texas State Fair and corn dogs. Do you realize what kind of wacky stuff they are capable of deep-frying? (I got a chuckle out of the thought of you snacking as you read the diet book.) I come across India Knight occasionally in the newspapers.

Oh, and I read food/home/Vanity Fair magazines, too. But I keep my magazines under the bed.! (another story)

I find it necessary to read "Persuasion" every year! A film adaptation almost always leads me straight to the book -- whether I've read it before or not!
As for that fickle sun, it is shining today and I really should venture out and get some fresh air.

You always make me laugh! There is no point in overprioritizing tidyness, I think.

Thanks for the suggestion for a Best Reads of 2008 list. Bad weather always makes me step up my reading rate.

Sarah Laurence said...

Bee, that’s an impressive pile! I love your last line. This post is quite an excavation, uncovering gems.

Your youngest daughter might like The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogal Federick. My sixth grade daughter read it for her English class book independent project and really liked it as did several of her classmates. In the book club they read Little Women. Do your daughters have book piles too?

Brave Sir Robin said...

Well Bee, this is a first, I am actually first beating BSR !!

Hey, a guy has to actually work occasionally!

Bee - That is an impressive list! I cleaned mine last week, it is down to three:

Midnight's Children - I'm working on it. I plan to finish soon.

Birthday Letters - I've been back into this one a lot lately. I often wake before I have to get up, and it is nice to turn on the lamp and read a poem before rising. Even if I wasn't reading it, this one will stay right were it is.

Ulysses - Some day, some, day.

I don't want to talk about the magazine stack in the other room. I am probably a combined three years behind in total magazines received / magazines read ratio.

Elizabeth said...

Your comments seem to have very small writing.
Yes, your book collection is impressive indeed and I think you were right to return a few to the shelf.
Little but good is my motto - only to be denied by reality.
So Paul Auster's Travels in the Scriptorium - which I'm dragging myself through. He used to be so wonderful and is now repeating himself horribly. A bit like poor Vonnegut - who still had flashes of wonderful.
Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet - sort of slow going but stunning - like his poetry
The Places in Between Rory Stewart about Afganistan
Two Cups of Tea
The New Yorker........McCain spent less than 3 hours with S.Palin before offering her the position of his running mate......and HE might get the nuclear codes......
Why no women writers when usually so many - no idea. You must read Mollie Panter-Down
Hope you are feeling better?

Bee said...

Sarah - I like the way you continue with the geological metaphor: "excavation," indeed! Some of those books had been buried for months! And yes, my girls are both readers and both book pilers. I've always wanted to do a mother-daughter book group with my oldest daughter. I mentioned it once and she just rolled her eyes. I will look for the book, though. I always need new titles for the 14 year old.

BSR - Your pile is slim, but weighty. Midnight's Children is in my study, btw. The magazine/newspaper pile tends to sit on the end of our kitchen table, except for the garden magazines which get decoratively grouped in the living room.

Elizabeth - Strange about the comment font size . . . it looks normal size font to me, but Blogger can be capricious.
Oh, I've meant to read the Rilke for a long time. I'm not acquainted with Mollie P-D; will have to do some research. As for the New Yorker article, I was actually reading it this morning! Also the David Sedaris article on undecided voters. (Do you think McCain regrets his hasty choice? The article implied that he did.)
And thank you, I'm feeling much better!

Alyson (New England Living) said...

I simply adore how you wrote this post - starting out talking about your job of turning off the alarm and having to manueuver around piles of books. I also was enchanted by the imagery of piles of beautiful books. I know I can always come to your blog to read beautifully written posts! Thank you!

I will look into some of these books from your list. I'm feeling an overwhelming desire to lose myself in a good book, as I had such a book draught this summer.

Nimble said...

Hi Bee, that was fun. Thank you for the glimpse of your book clutter. Currently I have two stale crossword puzzles by my bed. The NYT Sunday crossword is my favorite though I don’t always finish them. I look at one for a few minutes every night and so far each is about half filled. I’m hoping for fresh inspiration but I may give up and pitch them soon.

I am the alarm wielder in our house. I have it set to wake me up to NPR news every weekday. Last night Katy was arguing with me right before her bedtime about setting her alarm clock for 6am. She wants to be up early but she really needs a little more sleep. And I don’t need an alarm going off seven minutes earlier than my own. Why did we put a clock with an alarm in her room??? That was definitely a misstep.

I am still reeling from a weird wildlife sighting. Lexi and I saw either a beaver or a muskrat on a quiet sidewalk on campus on Wednesday evening in the rain. At first I thought it was a cat/rat/possum but then I saw the big rectangular orange teeth. There is no pond or stream near that end of campus so I don’t know where it came from.

Elizabeth said...

Go to the Persephone books web site.
This is a stunning collection of reprints of neglected 20th century writers - mostly women.
Quite a quirky collection.
There is a special deal where you can buy all 280 odd ALL AT ONCE.
I was verrrrry tempted.
Or you can get one sent to you each month - or you can just drool at the pretty end papers etc.
Have a good weekend.

Anonymous said...

Bee, Your list impressed me and reminded my of what a book worm you are. It also prompted me to check if my collection of bedside reading was intelectually stimulating in comparison. One things for sure they are all neatly piled with spines to attention.Not a coffe mug or snotty tissue insight. This is not because of my OCD but because I have a a dilegent "lady who does" and she always puts them in a neat line spines to attention. I am reading Jenna Blum "Those who Save Us" and it suits my current melancholy.Blum worked for the Shoah foundation and has obviuosly done a lot of research. I also have 2 back copies of Newsweek to cacth up on political news. Absurdistan which Roddy Doyle claims is " a wild exuberant funny book". Perhaps my current state does not permit me access this satire. I have only read a third so shall endeavour to finish it. Lastly Emotinally Intelligent Parenting.(How to rasie a Self disciplined responsible Socially skilled child). The title alone is enough to make one doubt their abilities to parent. I bought this in May to read with a Middle school book group and had to miss the final talk. I have not read it in depth only picked out the parts relevant to Middle and High school. It all makes me feel utterly inept at dealing with the emotional roller coaster of teenagers.Then there is Ruth Rendell who are like more for her mention of famliar London & Home County places than the actual writing style. Still it feels familiar which makes it easy reading. At the end of the day this is what we often need.

Bee said...

Alyson - You are very kind to me. You always manage to compliment some aspect of my writing; a very endearing trait! I know that you love history, so do you tend to like historical fiction and biographies? I look forward to hearing about your "rainmaker" book (ie, the one that ends your drought!).

Nimble - "Big rectangular orange teeth" makes your creature sound like a scary pumpkin!

Ah, Lexi's desire for her own early morning wake-up call sounds familiar. Luckily, my children quickly outgrew this notion/inclination. Whether it is genetics or environment or both, neither of the girls is what is usually described as a "morning" person.

Thank you for dropping by, cause I was starting to worry about the silence from Kansas.

Elizabeth - I actually bookmarked Persephone Books last time you mentioned it. Having spent a good 10 minutes perusing the site just now, I am resolved to visit there when I go to London next Thursday. In fact, I really want to work there! BTW, I googled Mollie P-D and the first thing that came up was your blog mentioning her! Funny.

Anon - You mention several interesting titles, but I'm fixated on the emotionally intelligent teenager one. I am struggling hugely with having a teen. I think that I could definitely use some professional guidance. I've lingered on "Absurdistan" several times. Please tell me what you think -- if you get around to reading it.

Shauna said...

What a great collection to have atyour reach! Shove that alarm off the bedside table to make room formore books. :) said...

Not sure how or why my comment listed as Anon. As I've said before I am somewhat technically challenged. I do not feel the urge or calling to finish Absurdistan but will let you know if I do. The Emotionally Intelligent Parenting book offers many a dialogue and plethora of parenting techniques, non of which seem to work in our house. Maybe I need to be a little more confident in my attempts. You can check out their web page

Anne said...

That's quite a lot of books you have on your table! My bedside table also has a stack of books, but a much shorter one: Love In the Time of Cholera, Midnight's Children, Beowulf (dual-language edition!), The Time Traveler's Wife, and one other whose title escapes me at the moment. There are more books scattered elsewhere through the house that I've begun, or mean to have begun, and have put aside momentarily.

As for alarm clocks, I seem to be the designated alarm clock steward as well. The Suitor sometimes sets an alarm of his own, but in the rare event that he does, I'm still tasked with making sure he gets up on time. It strikes me as a little silly, but such are the idiosyncrasies of relationships.

I hope you're feeling better! And that perhaps all that baking is helping? I can never tell if getting up and doing something in the kitchen is going to help. Sometimes it makes me feel better (as it did on Thursday), but other times I wind up longing to crawl back in bed. Here's hoping that for you, it's done the former.

Barrie said...

Our TBR piles have nothing in common. Weird eh?

Dick said...

I feel your pain! My books (32 of them) are stacked inside the window alcove next to the bed. For months now they have acted as a sort of light-obscuring wall and we haven't needed to close the curtains! However, inspired by your resolve I shall be ruthless and return the bulk of them to the garden office, which is our library.

Anonymous said...

Now here's a blog I can identify with, although my bedside table is disappointingly sparse due to recent tidy-up... 2 Guardian Weeklies (essential reading for 3rd world dwellers). The Echo Makers, Richard Powers. Untold Stories, Alan Bennett (Excellent, but goes on a bit towards the end). The Mitfords, Letters between 6 sisters, Charlotte Mosley (explains some of the gaps in all the other books). The Mandarins, Simone De Beauvoir (Re-reading, surprisingly not too dated) 3 pens, 5 pencils and a note-pad, necessary for night-worriers...
doesn't anyone else read newspapers?

Lucy said...

Now this is the kind of book reviewing I might be able to manage - going through the dust-covered piles of half-finished reading matter and giving them a quick thumbs up or down!

Of course, from you it's somewhat more than that. I can see why you rejected 'So many books...'; the idea of reading a book about the books someone else has been reading seems something of a waste of precious reading time really!

'Tess' is in my to-read pile too.

Perhaps I'll do this as a kind of meme...

Bee said...

Shauna - Now that's an idea! Just get rid of the alarm clock and keep all of the books.

Bon Bon - I didn't realize that you were Anon! (I didn't recognize you from your reading material.)

Anne - I'm so glad that you wrote, as I've been wondering how you are getting on. V busy, obviously. (I like the way you used the word "tasked.") About Midnight's Children: I didn't even talk about the stack of books that is in my study!

Barrie - Are yours all Children's Lit or YA? Throw me a title. Now that I'm not teaching adolescents anymore I really don't stay too current with my YA reading. I will, of course, be making an exception for your book! :)

Dick - 32, huh? The funny thing is that when I actually went through the stack, I discovered that many of the books had already been read . . . or rejected for some reason. In other words, sometimes book "clutter" is merely that.

Anon - Actually, I didn't mention the many Guardian/Observer sections because they were all on the floor or shoved under the bed. I also have that Mitford book, but it is in one of the book piles on my bookshelf!

Lucy - I find that readers always like to know what other readers are reading. (Hence the "So Many Books" book. I'm always worried that I'm missing out on something really good that I should be reading . . . even though I'm quite well-aware of how futile the effort to be "well-read" is.)
By all means, meme it! You correspond with such a well-read bunch, and we need some poetry in the mix.

Debski Beat said...


The clocks have changed, which means we are now only 4 hours ahead of the U.S, this will make the election easier on those of us on the 'other side of the pond', I wait with eager anticipation. In honour of this momentous event I will attempt to re-flick through my politico books, these will become part of the bedside pile for the next week or so including magazines with info of same.

I'm glad BRS had a good day at work and am truly glad to see he has great humour :)

As these winter nights close in I feel more encouraged to read read read, its one of the joys of winter along with frosty windows, fireworks (Guy Fawkes), falling leaves, hot toddies (cold toddies !!), crunchy gravel, casseroles and bright starry nights ... ah thats the perfect image.

Bee, when 'the North wind doth blow and we will shall have snow, then what will poor .....' Ralph and Lauren do then, do they come nearer to the house for TLC.

Next and last question, do you have any recommendation for a trick or treat goodie for my fav little neighbour aged 5 years and his little friends, cookies etc.

The Grandpa said...

I enjoyed your post immensely. I thought no one could have a taller stack of bedside books than S. But you have her beat. Actually, my bedside table is a small bookcase. I deliberately left the shelves vacant when we set up because my intenbt is to go through our books and pull out the ones I've been meaning to read and put them there where I'll see them. Big mistake, because when S quickly ran out of room on the top of her very large nightstand, she started stacking books she is, was, plans on reading on the empty shelves on my side of the bed.

I recently heard an interview with Barbara Kingsolver, and I couldn't agree more with your statement about becoming fully involved. I nice turn of phrase by the way.

I only read this one post, but I'll be back to read more.

Bee said...

Debski - What a lovely autumnal picture you conjure up for us! As for Halloween treats, I like to make gingerbread cookies in the shapes of bats and pumpkins and ghosts, but this calls for specialized equipment. I would also recommend pumpkin or sweet potato muffins. I also make a very rich chocolate cake called "Spider Cake," but that is more for a crowd. When R's crowd were wee ones, I used to have Halloween parties in Trinidad. Remind me to show you the pictures sometime. BTW, you've reminded me that I need to order candy corn from an American Sweets website that I found in one of Nigella's cookbooks.

Grandpa - It is always fun to meet new like-minded readers! Please do visit again. BTW, who was interviewing Barbara Kingsolver? I would really recommend her recent book to you . . . even if bookshelf space is scarce.

The Grandpa said...

There's a program on NPR here called Speaking of Faith. Krista Tippett is the host and interviewer. It's a fascinating program and she's an excellent journalist and interviewer who explores an extremely wide range of topics relating to human spirituality. A few weeks ago, she interviewed Barbara Kingsolver about her book. I found the conversation fascinating and plan to read the book. You can find the interview on the Speaking of faith Web site at

Bee said...

Thank you, G. I will look for that. I wrote a bit about her book -- just a few posts back.

CashmereLibrarian said...

Hi Bee! I just discovered your blog and wanted to share my own posting on the same subject. What I didn't show was my separate READING pile; I don't have 20 books but boy it stacks up faster than i can read them all!

Just a Plane Ride Away said...

Thanks for the warning about the JAC. I missed it (on purpose) last time I was in Bath and promised myself that I'd go back for it. However, after reading your brief review, maybe I'll just skip it.

Roxi did a major clean out of her bedside books on Sunday. She had two stacks that started on the floor and were towering precariously near her head! I tend to have stacks of books wherever I sit for more than 10 minutes. I think it's time to put some of them away as well. Thanks for the inspiration :-)

Bee said...

Cashmere - I am just leaving for Cambridge for two days, but I will definitely check out your post when I get back to my home computer. I can just imagine how many books you must get! I once worked in the office of a large education department, and the Children's/YA lit prof used to receive books by the ton.

JAPRA - Yes, JAC was such a disappointment! And of course Jane disliked Bath -- as much as she is associated with it. Perhaps we can visit her Hampshire home instead.
I love that Roxi is a book piler! I knew there was a reason that I felt an instant affinity with her.

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