Tuesday, February 27, 2007

One Nightstand

Seriously, I need your help. Recently my wife commented how sad and depressing the nightstand on my side of the bed had become. You see, I’m ambitious in my plans to read everything I can to help me figure out my life situation. But I tend to read at night, and only make it through a handful of pages before I fall asleep. Books have been piling up for months. A list of what I say ‘good morning’ and ‘good night’ to lately:

• Rowing Without Oars: A Memoir of Living and Dying
• I Remember Running: The Year I Got Everything I Ever Wanted--and ALS
• The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness
• The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment
• Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness
• Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting
• How to use a Patient Lifter: A positioning and transfer guide
• A Father's Legacy: Your Life Story in Your Own Words
• The Alpha Course Manual: An Opportunity to Explore the Meaning of Life
• My journal
• The Cheerios Play Book
• Daddy Kisses

Talk about a buzz kill for daily living right? I mean, literally all books feel heavy to me now, but this is ridiculous. With the exception of those for Eva (and the occasional toy she leaves), having all of this on my nightstand has become a mental and emotional burden. I may still read them, but I can’t let them sit there like a pile of work anymore. I need a change of pace. I need to lighten my reading load.

And that’s where you come in. I’ve cleaned up my nightstand. Nothing but a lamp, my journal, one book, and a few pictures. I’m looking for something new to read and I’m asking for your suggestions. What have you read that was riveting, intriguing, and perhaps totally brainless? I only ask that it be fictional and not anything remotely resembling a Harlequin romance. Seriously, add a comment to this post or send me an email, and perhaps one day I’ll share the meaning of life with you. If I ever get around to reading it.


Jon Justin said...

Hey Scott, how about books on tape? Pick George Bush's autobiography (if it exists), I think this fits your requirements.

Katie said...

Hi Scott! Book recommendations I can do.
Riveting and intriguing, but not entirely brainless, and I think the most all around amazing book I've read in years is Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell.
Less literary is my favorite fantasy series (arg, fantasy, begin eye-rolling if you wish, but even Jonathan reads these) by George R.R. Martin. Start with Game of Thrones. All plot. Totally engrossing.
But kind of long. Freakonomics, on the other hand, took me about 3 days. It's full of fun bite-sized tidbits, and I think it was great bedtime reading. Not fiction, I know, but reads as quick as. It's funny, I promise.
And if you like mysteries, or are willing to give them a chance, I like Dorothy Sayers for classic older stuff, P.D. James for serious newer stuff, or Elizabeth Peters for kinda silly new-but-set-a-hundred-years-ago stuff.
My other favorites from the past couple years were The Time Traveler's Wife and Middlesex. And Life of Pi.
And I know at this point everyone's either already read these or never will, but I feel obligated to inject that Harry Potter's a great bedside choice.
And if you're willing to give graphic novels a try, you can't beat Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Which reminds me, American Gods and Neverwhere are great books by Neil Gaiman.
So, uh, there's a start, off the top of my head. Hope there's something in there that piques your curiosity.
Good luck with project nightstand. Love the skiing video. And now you've made me hungry for Cheerios...

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott!

When I was asked years ago to go down in grades and teach 1st grade instead of my high school classes, I made a fantastic discovery...children's literature has some of the best stuff out there...I would bring my favorites home and tell my husband to put down his economic books so he could read them...and he found them great too...but you gotta pick the BEST books...as I'm sure you know, many of them will never keep Eva's attention...So here is my list of great books for you and Eva to share...or for just you...(sorry I can't remember all the authors):
Just an Ordinary Day
The Giving Tree
No David!
Go Dog Go!
Are You My Mother?
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
Ten, Nine, Eight (Have Eva place her toes on the "toes" page)
A Fish Out of Water
Sylvester and The Magic Pebble
King Bigwood's in The Bathtub
Meanwhile, Back at the Ranch (Need a Texas accent for this one!)
Anyway, these should get you started on your road to reading pleasure! Trust me...I bet I've read them all at least 20 times or so during storytime over the years and I still enjoy them each time I read them...Hey, have you thought about creating a reading list for Eva, with a quick "review" from her Dad, since some of these books will be beyond her level...Ask any librarian for a list of favorites for different age levels...I bet Eva would enjoy reading books that you had read with short comments like, "Hey! How about that egg!!!" for the book "Just an Ordinary Day"..If you haven't already done so, I'm sure she would love to read someday your recommended list of your all time favorite adult books...and what each one meant to you...
Take care...Vanessa

kent said...

Just a few more books I forgot to add: Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis; Grace Givers by David Jeremiah:(Powerful true stories of people who have touched their world through love and service to the lost, hurting and forgotten of society with both ordinary and extraordinary gifts of grace). A Short History of Nearly Everything: Special Illustrated Edition is an excellent science book that never fails to entertain, and reward with astonishing insights and droll humor. This tome is admittedly too weighty for protracted perusal, but amazon does have the slimmer(non-deluxe)nightstand version available. I'm sure all of these books can be had on CD.
Keep posting your thoughts they are always of interest.


kent said...

Minor oversight: The author of A Short History of Nearly Everything is Bill Bryson and I would recommend nearly everything else he has written: The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir; In a Sunburned Country; A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail (Official Guides to the Appalachian Trail); I'm a Stranger Here Myself: Notes on Returning to America After 20 Years Away; Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe; Made in America.

Ben said...

Allow me to add a few more to your pile...

Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Rushdie)
The Little Prince (Saint-Exupery)
His Dark Materials trilogy (Pullman)
Einstein's Dreams (forget author)
Pern books (McCaffrey - start w/Dragonflight)
Catch-22 (Heller, a classic)

I'd also like to second:
Harry Potter books
A Short History of Nearly Everything

On an unrelated note, I'd like to also recommend a CD: Rodrigo y Gabriela, self-titled release. So good it speaks for itself.

Rachel said...

Seriously, Scott! Reading some of those entries leads met to the conclusion that your friends are waaaaaay too highbrow. Good gravy! Turn off your brain and get the Enquirer! Cheap, trashy, hilarious. Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears keep me amused for hours on end. After reading it, I really feel like I have a good command of my life. I am waaay smarter and more togehter than those people, and heck, they're famous! I must be doing something right.

Sandy said...

Hey Scott,
I was going to suggest reading (or re-reading) the Narnia series. I listened to them on CD and it really pumped up the emotion!

Then I read Rachel's comment and did a little "yeah" in my head. Go for People magazine!

Sandy C

Anonymous said...


You continue to amaze and inspire me--I've been lurking around your site off and on for over a year now. Last March ('06), I left my job because of you (well, partly anyway). Thank you!!

Some reading recommendations:

1. "The Areas Of My Expertise" by John Hodgman. Hodgman is the nerdy guy in the Apple ads. Read the chapter where he describes his visit to the Mall of America first. Then read the rest of the book. Genius.

2. "The Zombie Survival Handbook: Complete Protection From The Living Dead" by Max Brooks.

Both very funny. Enjoy!

Looking forward to your next entry...

John M.

Tim said...


If you haven't read any Ernest Hemingway, I think a collection of his short stories would be a great fit. His writing is fairly sparse and his short stories can be consumed before the eyelids get too heavy. If you can find his collection called "The Nick Adams Stories" I would start there.

See you at the Riverview.

Tim Portz

Torial said...

Hi Scott,

I'd suggest Annals of the Black Company or the Riftware saga (by Glen Cook / Raymond E Feist respectively) if you like fantasy. Brothers Karamazov is good, but long. Lots of fun are the Thursday Next detective novels by Jasper Fforde -- where all sorts of genres are thrown together in a parallel earth. Otherwise, some really good religious fiction is Fire of Heaven trilogy by Bill Myers(sp?). If you wanted something non-fiction but also very interesting,, the letters of JRR Tolkein are an interesting view into his life and thoughts.

All the best,

Anonymous said...

I strongly suggest these two books...

The Case For Christ
The Bible

There you will find the true meaning of life!

Anonymous said...

I'd recommend Case for Christ to anyone - it's an easy read, but for light, humor, mystery, check out Alexander McCall Smith's books.

From a friend of Gae's