I’m a compulsive before-bed reader. When I finish a book, I love to think about it and reread a few pages, so I leave it on my bedside table. Other books get stationed there to be read next. And very occasionally I set one aside partway through because I absolutely have to read something else for a while.
This has led to a rather extensive pile-up on what, quite frankly, is a very small piece of furniture. Today I counted 23 novels–not including the stack of recent reads that has migrated to the hat-box corner.
It’s time to dismantle the stacks–and perhaps to buy another bookcase.
Before I do so, though, here’s my list of titles, in excavation order, starting with the pile closest to the bed. While the first three titles are my most-recent reads, the others are more or less random–and some are still waiting for my full attention.
Let the Great World Spin — Colum McCann
A Visit from the Goon Squad — Jennifer Egan
The Great Stink — Clare Clark
Divided Houses: Gender and the Civil War — Edited by Catherine Clinton and Nina Silber
The Ladies of Grace Adieu — Susanna Clarke
The Widower’s Tale — Julia Glass
A Family Daughter — Maile Meloy
Nine Simple Patterns for Complicated Women — Mary Rechner
How to Write a Damn Good Novel — James N. Frey
Both Ways Is the Only Way I Want It — Maile Meloy
When All Is Said and Done — Robert Hill
The Jane Austen Book Club — Karen Joy Fowler
Digging to America — Anne Tyler
Tinkers — Paul Harding
Trask — Don Berry
Away — Amy Bloom
Finding Beauty in a Broken World — Terry Tempest Williams
Then We Came to the End — Joshua Ferris
Eventide — Kent Haruf
The Forest for the Trees: An Editor’s Advice to Writers — Betsy Lerner
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson
The House on Fortune Street — Margot Livesey
The Lace Reader — Brunonia Barry
Yes, those books equal 7,069 pages. Stacked together, that’s 3-plus feet of reading material that has inspired me, encouraged me and kept me awake far too late in the night. Thanks to all the writers who worked like crazy to bring their own thoughts, characters and visions into the world for people like me to devour, love and keep close at hand.