I don’t actually have a nightstand. What I have is a box of books by the bed. And now the books have spilled out of the box on to the floor, so the nightstand takes up about three feet of the floor. My nighttime reading lately has been The Romanovs: 1613-1918, a fascinating 744- page history by Simon Sebag Montefiore. But, alas, my reading of The Romanovs has been interrupted by a SPORTS INJURY.
This sounds impossible, but I hurt my wrist by my two favorite low-impact activities. During a week of reading hefty classics by Trollope while lying down, my wrist began to hurt from holding up the books. Then over the weekend, I went on a very long bike ride with my speedy husband and it was a point of honor to keep up with him (well, sort of, since he slows down for me). Anyway, my wrist hurt like hell while pedaling up a hill and pressing down on the handlebars.
And so I’ve been icing my wrist, slinging ice into a ziplock bag and balancing it on top of or under the wrist.
Meanwhile, I am reading paperbacks so as not to irritate the muscles, tendons, what they may be. Here are three of the books on the nightstand.
1 The Stately Home Murder by Catherine Aird. I love Catherine Aird’s Inspector Sloane mysteries, and though I may or may not have read this one, published in 1970, I certainly like rereading as well as reading. Here is the Goodreads description:
On a stately home public tour, mischievous boy lifts the visor from a suit of armor – and finds corpse. Inspector Sloan and inadvertent joker Constable Crosby must sort out who stashed the body and why. Key is tea served to batty great-aunts. Clues also are in ne’er-do-well nephew and attempted blackmail.
2 Simenon’s The Shadow Puppet. It’s Simenon. Everyone loves Simenon. I don’t dislike Simenon, but I don’t love him. I prefer English cozies to police procedurals, and my experience has been the translations of Simenon are not always elegant. Still, this new Penguin series, with new translations, has been praised, so perhaps I’ll really like it. What we do with our Simenons is pass them around to cousins e in Nevada, Iowa (pronounced Ne-vay-da ),What Cheer, Washington, or Muscatine. And they pass it on to friends in Davenport, or Riverside.
3 Thomas McGuane’s The Bushwacked Piano. Thomas McGuane is a literary writer, a wild writer, and I love this very nice Contemporary American Fiction original paperback, known as a yuppieback in the ’80s. McGuane is wild, he is really out there, and he is much praised. Here’s the Goodreads description.
As a citizen, Nicholas Payne is not in the least solid. As a boyfriend, he is nothing short of disastrous, and his latest flame, the patrician Ann Fitzgerald, has done a whose thing by dropping him. But Ann isn’t counting on Nicholas’s would persistence, or on the slapstick lyricism of Thomas McGuane, who in The Bushwhacked Piano sends his hero from Michigan to Montana on a demented mission of courtship whose highlights include a ride on a homicidal bronco and apprenticeship to the inventor of the world’s first highrise for bats. The result is a tour de force of American dubious.
Okay! These are my choices. I’m starting with a mystery. And I hope I’ll be done with it before I go to bed.