I am, yes, exhausted by books.
Not by reading books, but buying books.
On the nightstand, just in case I feel like reading them, are 17 books. Do I plan to read all 17 at once? One wonders. The cats do not like the stack
at all. They are fond of jumping up on the nightstand . The nightstand is actually a chest of drawers. They jump up on the chest and nudge the books off the edge with their paws.
I am already in the middle of five other books. (Reviews to follow!) So do I have time for 17 more? Yes, I would dearly love to reread Doris Lessing’s Children of Violence series, but after looking at a few pages of A Proper Marriage , I realized that I should skip to her fourth novel, Landlocked, in which Martha Quest becomes disillusioned with the Communist movement in South Africa during World War II. Landlocked is a masterpiece. At my age, I need the masterpieces.
I cannot understand why I purchased Mary Renault’s The Charioteer, described on the Vintage edition as “a bold, unapologetic portrayal of male homosexuality during World War II.” I am not sure I need another gay classic: I already have two of Radclyffe Hall’s books on a “sub-nightstand.” After Virago reissued The Charioteer a few years ago, a reviewer at the TLS raved about it, and, if I remember correctly, considered it a classic. If I could get past the first chapter, maybe I’d agree. N.B. Doesn’t the guy on the cover look as though he’s wearing a Star Trek uniform? Is this a novel about a gay Trekkie?
I thought the former Washington Post critic Jonathan Yardley had recommended Shirley Ann Grau’s Pulitzer-winning The Keepers of the House, but it turns out he was lauding The House on Coliseum Street. Oh, damn, I bought the wrong book!
I discovered Sylvia Townsend Warner’s Lolly Willowes at a used bookstore when I was in grad school, and went on to enjoy many other of her books. I adore Kingdoms of Elfin, her dark collection of whimsical fairy tales. Somehow I have never read The Music at Long Verney, another collection of stories. Will I finally read it this summer?
Imagine 13 more…
Shall I shelve my 17 books? It gets ridiculous.
What do you have on your nightstand? Is yours as useful (ha ha) as mine?
It’s really hard to know where to put the books, isn’t it? I have no formal TBR – all my books are usually shelved together, read or unread, which is not the best way, but I would need a bookcase or two for the unread ones. However, piles of new ones have spread into another room. Really, the books are getting out of control……
The books DO get out of control. Putting away the books is a big part of housework. Yes, I need a TBR bookcase too. I should weed an entire bookcase and create one. It’s so hard.
Weed an entire bookcase and create one …. I like that idea!
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I have three library tables in my workroom, a table next to a comfy chair in the front room (where there is a lamp) and my nightstand. There’s another long table in the bedroom. On all these tables are different piles of TBR books. This way none of them gets too high. I like the idea that cats treat furniture as a trampoline — tables are also just floors higher up.
The point of books is not to read them all as you get them — as you well know, but to have them there as your world, part of your life, your journey and read as the spirit takes you, return to them when you want, peruse them. We read different books differently too. Some are for consulting.
Umberto Eco has written that when someone comes into your house and asks that common question: “Have
you read them all?” that such people do not understand a library is a working tool and life. His reply:
“No, these are just the ones I have to read by
the end of the month. I keep the others in my
I have to shelve the 17 books occasionally. Thank goodness the animals tell me! But I agree with Umberto Eco.
My nightstand is a stack of books with a small LED light on it!
LOL I love the LED lights. I guess that must balance all right!
Fortunately, the equivalent of a nightstand in my case would collapse if I tried to put seventeen books on it. At the moment it has a volume of Virginia Woolf’s journals and a collection of Penelope Fitzgerald’s letters on it. I read very little in bed because by the time I get there I am too tired to keep my eyes open. Consequently, a journal entry or a letter is about as much as I can manage.
Sounds like great nighttime reading to me! I have Fitzgerald’s letters and lover them.