what’s on your nightstand?

I was lucky to spend a lot of time this Thanksgiving weekend reading. I’m not really sure how I managed it, but I pulled off reading an astonishing 5 books between Wednesday and Sunday night, plus there are two more that I’m about halfway through.

One of the things I read this weekend was a kind of creepy Japanese thriller called Out, which features a bunch of women who work part-time in a boxed lunch factory and operate a side business cutting up dead people for the yakuza, which they start after one of them murders her husband. Somehow, not quite in the holiday spirit, I know.

I also read The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, which is the sequel to 84 Charing Cross Road, a truly charming book that was recommended by one of my readers last year.

I’ve still got a great bunch of books on my nightstand, including Don DeLillo’s Falling Man, Marisha Pessi’s Special Topics in Calamity Physics, and Gary Shteyngart’s Absurdistan. But at this rate, my night stand will be empty by Christmas!

What are you looking forward to reading this holiday season? Is there a book that you read at this time every year? Are there new releases that you’ve got on your wishlist?


November 26, 2007. books for grown-ups.


  1. Suzanne replied:

    My nightstand is packed with books I have either read and not reshelved or tried reading, abandoned, and not reshelved.

    I am looking forward to new books by Richard Russo and Ann Patchett, and The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman.

    I never knew there was a sequel to 84 Charing Cross Road! Must check it out.

  2. Anjali replied:

    Oh, I just finished up Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki. It was delicious. And I just got back from the library with the new Ha Jin book, A Free Life and The Last Chinese Chef by Nicole Mones. And I’m in the middle of Eat, Pray, Love.

  3. Procrastamom replied:

    I keep all of my unread books on my nightstand and with school and work eating up all of my time this fall that pile is growing because I still buy books all the time. Hopefully this holiday season I can finally crack open Middlesex, The Birth House, or My Friend Leonard. I’d like to find time to read at least one good book. The other thing that’s kind of blocking me right now is that I started reading the Memory Keeper’s Daughter in the summer and put it down halfway because I really wasn’t enjoying it. But now I feel guilty about starting something else without finishing that first…I guess somewhere in my deep, dark conciense unread books are a sin!

  4. landismom replied:

    PM–I have the hardest time not finishing a book too (though that’s never stopped me from starting a new one–just means I have half-read books lying around for months). The most recent one that I abandoned was “Half-Broken Things.” I gave it two or three good shots, and then I finally decided, eh, I can move on with my life without knowing how this book ends. It’s a rare book that bores me that much.

  5. Becky replied:

    Five books? I’m jealous. I FINALLY finished All the King’s Men. Urgh. Lots of slogging through that one. Now I’m off to read about journalists in Iraq. Maybe. Or maybe I’ll read something fun.

  6. penguinunearthed replied:

    I’m in the middle of the Yiddish Policeman’s Union – enjoying it, but it doesn’t need to be finished right away. I’ve got a Patrick Gale ready for a big chunk of time, a history of Australia in WWII to finish, and a book called Flow, which is a book by a psychological researcher into happiness. Oh and Status Anxiety, which I’ve had unfinished for months.

    I’m going to reread Fooled by Randomness and Black Swan (by Nassim Taleeb) over the holidays so that I can do them justice with a really good review on my blog.

    I don’t read much fiction these days, I realise, notwithstanding the two books above, most of the fiction I read is adequate but not literary detective stuff.

  7. MetroDad replied:

    Wasn’t “Out” completely bizarre and weird? I felt like I needed a shower after that book. Anyway, I’ve read all the books on your night stand. I’d start with Special Topics. I really like that one. I think you will too. Absuridistan was great. There will be a point in the book where you’ll want to give up but stick with it. Gets better at the end. Falling Man was disappointing.

    Me? I’m trying to simultaneously read the latest Ha Jin, Junot Diaz, and Murakami books. It’s confusing the hell out of me. I think I need to pick just one and go from there.

  8. Library Lady replied:

    I have piles and piles and piles of young adult novels to read for work AND because they are some of the best written literature out there!

    I also just read “The Perfect Summer” about the English summer of 1910–great for anyone who is a fan of “The Forsyte Saga” or “Upstairs Downstairs” and “The Iambics Of Newfoundland” which is about the people and environment of that island. Especially interesting if you’ve read “The Shipping News”, one of my all time faves, and not a bad film either!

    None of it’s on my nightstand though. And I think you’ve come up with a great meme, or a blog post topic at the very least!

  9. landismom replied:

    MD: I totally agree about needing a shower after reading “Out.” I’m in the middle of Absurdistan right now, so I’ll stick with it. So far, I haven’t felt compelled to drop out, though.

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