Sunday, 31 January 2010

On the Bedside Table

Do you have several books on the go at once? I'm usually what you would consider a monogamous reader: a girl who is loyal to one book at a time; occasionally though I read a few books at once, especially longer classics and books that I am reading over an extended period of time. Books that I am slowly reading are kept on my bedside table (nightstand) as well as books that I plan to read next; my immediate to-be-read pile also lies in two stacks: one beside the bedside table and another in the living room, for ease of access wherever I happen to finish a book, depending on what I'm in the mood for reading.

Currently on my night-stand are two Japanese classics: I Am a Cat by Soseki Natsume and The Pillow Book by Sei Shonagon, both of which are In Spring it is the Dawn read-alongs, one of which is coming to an end and the other about to commence. The other titles, To Bed With Grand Music by Marghanita Laski and Foe by J. M. Coetzee, are two that I am looking forward to reading and have placed within easy reach to pick up and read when the time is right.

Do you keep books by your bedside? If so, what do you have there at the moment?


Anonymous said...

Like you, I'm normally a "monogamous" reader. However, as I'm doing the 2666 readalong, I have that sitting on my bedside table. Also, have Gravity's Rainbow sitting there, as I presume if I let it sit there long enough, I'll feel guilty enough to read it.

Finally, there's the book I'm presently reading, The Yellow House.

I want to read both, Foe (I love Coetzee) and To Bed With Grand Music (I've never read a Laski).

verity said...

I don't have a nightstand owing to the fact that I have to sleep against the wall, so whatever I'm reading in bed is shoved down the side!

Vivienne said...

I have a pile of four different books by my bed too. I have a real chunkster that I try to read a little at a time, a non fiction book, a library book and one of my own. I try to balance reading my books with my libray books and I need to read more non fiction.

kimbofo said...

I'm impressed at how tidy your bedside table is! Mine is shambolic -- overloaded with books, tissues, cough medicine, pens, paperwork, a coaster for my coffee mug, a lamp that needs a good dusting...

Once-upon-a-time I used to have three or four books on the go, now I tend to just have two books - a novel and a collection of short stories.

Anonymous said...

I have been doing the rare thing of reading a few books at once. Only one fiction novel though but alongside some non-fiction and a book of short stories and amazingly am gettig non of them confused which is most unlike me.

On the bedside at the moment are three books that are desperate to be read and so I had better be off and get reading...

P.S When si the exciting thing you hinted at a while back happening????

Frances said...

I idealize monogamy but occasionally have a roving eye. Right now that reading stack has four Virginia Woolf novels, her letters and diaries, and four offerings from the Bloomsbury Group. Now that I write it, that looks like a lot!

Jackie (Farm Lane Books) said...

LOL! I'm with Kim - there is no way I'd let anyone see my bedside table either - it is so messy!

I tend to read 2 books at once - neither get to go on my bedside table - there is too much risk they'd end up covered in old coffee!

Jenny said...

I try to be a monogamous reader, but early bedtimes are my downfall! Whenever I get myself all teeth-brushed and hair-washed before about nine in the evening, I feel like I have hours and hours to read in bed, and I fetch at least five books to read, imagining I will finish them all. What ends up happening of course is that I read just bits out of each of them, and then I'm interested in them all and it takes ages to finish any one.

So currently on my bedside table, and I consider that I am reading all of them: Daddy Long Legs, Clara Callan, Luck in the Shadows, the Aeneid, Aurora Leigh, All Creatures Great and Small, The Invention of Love, Never Let Me Go, and The Icarus Girl. Also a notebook with a story in it, a notebook that I try to keep as a journal, and my commonplace book. It's a mess.

Molly said...

I have been a monogamous reader in the past, but this year I am trying something new. I am listening to a series of audio books while walking the treadmill; I have the "one" book (usually fiction) that I am reading for pleasure; and then I am trying to keep a book on the nightstand that is either short stories or essays (can read one before turning out the light) OR a non-fiction book (that way I don't have to worry about keeping various plots in order).

claire said...

I used to be an extremely monogamous reader, but blogging has changed all that, what with the deadlines and everything. Currently, my bedside stack includes Orlando and The Waves, for Woolf in Winter; Young Hearts Crying and Disturbing the Peace and Cold Spring Harbor, for Rachel's Richard Yates season; Moby-Dick for Ti's Moby Dick mondays; a collection of short stories by Frances Hwang; and a poetry anthology.

I have read the introduction to Orlando, and will be dipping in and out of it beginning a few days from now. I've decided it is better to slowly read Woolf, and not rush through before the deadline.

I only read Moby-Dick once through the other weekend, but will read more of it next weekend.

As for Richard Yates, currently reading Young Hearts Crying, and intend to finish this before going back to Orlando.

Frances Hwang's stories and the poetry anthology I dip in occasionally, when I don't really feel like taking too long with a novel.

Darlene said...

There's usually a magazine to be found on my bedside table, to flip through during commercials if I'm watching tv there. I read one book at a time so it travels from the bedside table to the coffee table during the day. Any other titles that are tempting me are kept waiting on a bookcase. If I lived alone, there would be piles of books all over the place (very neatly stacked, of course!).

Rochester Reader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rochester Reader said...

Hi Claire

My bedside table has an open shelf-like area beneath the drawer which is where I keep the bulk of my library loans.

On the top of the table, I have the books (library and my own) that I intend to read soon - or at least that's the idea. This includes my current read and I am largely a monogamous reader too unless I get bored with a book and move on.

My current read is 'The Eyre Affair' and beneath it are 'No Fond Return of Love', 'Shades of Grey', and a non-fiction work 'A Walk with Jane Austen'.

The last two are new library loans. The trouble is that any new books are perused in bed and added to the pile, making reading more than one book at a time a great temptation!

I have in the past managed two different fiction books at once but I prefer to keep my fictional worlds separate during each reading session, if that makes sense.

Non-fiction has no such rules though, as I find it easier to dip in and out of over a period of time.


Paperback Reader said...

anothercookie, I put books beside the bed to guilt me into reading them too! The book I am presently reading moves around with me depending where I am: from bedside table, to sofa, to bath, to bag, to bedside table...

Coetzee and Laski are both fabulous writers; I'm looking forward to reading more by them both this year.

Verity, haha! I loathe being closed in at the wall. On Gareth's bedside table he has one book as he is most definitely a monogamous reader.

Vivienne, I try to balance between reading my own books and library books too. I've been attracted to a number of nonfiction books recently so there will be a few reviews coming up and I hope to add to the tally through the year.

Kim, I have Vicks, a dusty lamp and a coaster (for water only) there too but intentionally out of focus!

I intend to have a volume of short stories by my bed soon as they are great for reading here and there on more tired nights.

Simon, glad you're not confusing them! I am becoming more au fait with reading several books and genres at one.

As for exciting things ... you should learn more this month. There are two different things I have planned, both behind schedule; one of them is only exciting to me and will probably be very much a let-down for you!

Frances, it is a lot but it sounds like a divine collection to read through! I too have a roving eye - I am always eying up the next thing before finished with the first (quite unfaithful of me!)

Jackie, I cut down my coffee consumption a couple of years ago but have been very lucky never to spill any on books!

Paperback Reader said...

Haha, Jenny, I also have book eyes bigger than my book stomach! At the weekend I always have big plans to read six books and then life and plans stop me from reading one!

I did have my notebook on my bedside table but it has now found its way into the drawer and I use my phone to take notes of quotes in bed!
I'm reading Daddy Long Legs too but an e-copy.

Molly, that sounds like a sensible and balanced approach to your reading this year; I am doing something similar myself this year (minus the audio book) but it's been more by accident that design.

Claire, it's blogging that has affected my monogamous reading too; deadlines just don't allow for it. The longer things I take, well, longer with and novels I am whizzing through and onto to the next. I do enjoy the balance between intense reading sessions and savouring the longer read-along material.

Darlene, I don't have a TV in the bedroom but there are magazines in the living room (bookish ones and lifestyle). Fortunately I don't live alone but the stacks of books that occasionally appear infuriate my boyfriend! I need to keep them under control :s The book or books that I am currently read move from the bedside table with me throughout the day as I always have a book with me!

Hi Cristina, thanks for commenting. Your current stack sounds great - I love Austen, Fforde and think I'll love Pym this year!

I completely understand about not mixing your fiction books; preferably I would be that way too but I chop and change sometimes between a few.

I am also finding non fiction easier to dip in and out of over time, which may increase my intake of them.

coops said...

I tend to have 2 books on the go, a work of fiction that I'll take on the train (and anywhere else I go), plus a non-fiction book and sometimes a magazine by the bed.
I can't read fiction at bedtime because I get too drawn into the story and stay up too late!

Anonymous said...

I'm a fairly monogamous reader, although allusions in new books have been known to send me in search of old favorites.

My bedroom table is a shameful jumble of books I recently bought but haven't added to LibraryThing yet, knitting, pieces of writing, hairbands I've rescued from the cats, and finally, the book I'm reading at the moment, A London Home in the 1890s.

Jodie said...

I'm monogamous about books too, guess I'm just old fashioned like that ;) Sadly they live on the floor by my bedside because my table is full of post its and batteries, so while I'm fathful I'm also neglectful.

verity said...

I did briefly have a nightstand for 4 days last week after we rearranged the bedroom but had to rearrange it back after I couldn't sleep for fear of falling out of bed and due to the drafts. I guess my equivalent is my coffee table, which currently holds the new Winnie The Pooh (I'm not sure why it's there as I haven't started it), my current book of short stories, and my current novel. I usually have about 4 books on the go at once!

Paperback Reader said...

coops, I tend to read for hours in bed at night! It's either only a few pages as too tired or too many pages ;).

makedo, I'm always influenced by allusions to old favourites in books! I love reading books that mention other books that I have or want to read and my reading often goes off at a tangent as a result.

Jodie, I have so many books lying around at the moment that I am feeling a little neglectful too!

Verity, four books is reasonable and can easily be the case (I'm occasionally distracted by a pretty book that I just have to pick up there and then to the detriment of the other books I'm reading). The arm of the sofa is where I keep little piles, much to Gareth's chagrin :S.