What’s on my nightstand?

I was going to start this post with a picture of my nightstand and intersperse it with other shots of reading material around the house. I even dusted my nightstand before taking pictures! However, there have been yet more computer problems Chez Hartshorn, so that’s not happening. I’ll post pictures some other time; sorry, folks.

This first non-existent picture is the state of my nightstand as I write this. There are three different stacks of books, including paperbacks and hardbacks. There’s a lot there, to be sure — but it’s not really what I read before I go to bed at night (because by the time I get to bed, I just want to sleep, and if I don’t, I’m reading whatever I wandered into the bedroom holding) or what’s up next in my reading queue. There are a couple books here that I dip into for a page or two before sleep occasionally, and books that if we had a tub instead of a walk-in shower, I’d be happy to take with me while I indulged in a bubblebath. There are books that I have there because I should read them, and books that I put there because my husband was trying to clean up the living room and I had books all over the place.

What you don’t see is the hundreds of books that I have available if I want them when I go in there at night. I carry my iPod Touch with me everywhere, and on it I have apps to read with: Kindle, Nook, Stanza, Air Sharing (which lets me load up PDF and RTF files, so that’s where I’ve got the current Hugo nominees), but not Kobo (not compatible with my old iPod, sadly). Last time I checked, I had 126 downloads to my Kindle app. Some of those are samples, some are freebies, and some are books I’ve paid for, prices ranging from 99 cents to $6.99.

In addition to those, I have other piles of books around the house, including the table by the entryway, littered with library books and magazines (Fantasy & Science Fiction, Black Gate, Weird Tales, Locus, SFWA Bulletin, National Geographic, and a few different alumni mags). (Another non-existent picture goes here, of that table with my son’s books on the left, two piles of my books in the middle, plus the magazines, and my husband’s books on the right.)

All of which rather makes one ask two questions:

  1. How do I manage to read it all?
  2. How do I decide what to read next?

The first answer is easy — I don’t. *sigh* Try as I might, I don’t get to everything. Somehow, though, that doesn’t stop me from acquiring more. Because, you know, if the mood isn’t right for whatever’s in the pile, I still might find something else fascinating.

The second is trickier. Sometimes, it really depends on my mood — I want something light, or something familiar, or the book I’ve been waiting for months to come out. What I’ve been doing the past few weeks (and anticipate continuing through at least the rest of this month) is alternating — something from the Hugo nominations packet, something from the library, something from one of the authors I’m including in my A to Z tour (although that might also fall under one of the other categories). I’m also trying to make sure I’m reading some nonfiction — Jackie As Editor, The Influencing Machine, The Psychopath Test.

All of that said, what are some of the books I have in the TBR pile?Embassytown by China Miéville (hold request placed at library), The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss (borrowed from a friend, and should be read and returned), Hammerfall by C. J. Cherryh (Can you believe I’ve never read anything by her?), God’s War by Kameron Hurley, Witch-born by A. J. Maguire, and Starve Better by Nick Mamatas. I’ll probably also pick up Quantum Rose, Spherical Harmonic, and The Moon’s Shadow by Catherine Asaro since I enjoyed Ascendant Sun so much, but that might not be until fall — I don’t exactly have a shortage of things to read.

(Another non-existent photo here, with some of the books laid out to cover the surface of a card table, so you can actually see the titles and authors — The Courage to Write, A Forest of Stars, Miserere: An Autumn Tale, Half World, Passion Play, Jackie as Editor, Then Everything Changed, The Fat Man, The Copyright Handbook, Negotiating a Book Contract, Tracing the Shadow, Primal Branding, Bloodchild and other stories, Nylon Angel, Fire on the Deep, Quantum Rose, Seven Contemporary Chinese Women Writers, The Psychopath Test.)

So what are you reading right now?

(Today’s post was inspired by the topic “What Books are on Your Nightstand?” — the opening question in the inaugural cycle of the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour — an ongoing tour where you, the reader, travel around the world from author’s blog to author’s blog. We have all sorts of writers at all stages in their writing career, so there’s something for everyone to enjoy. The next post in the tour will be on the 4th, by D. M. Bonanno. Be sure to check it out.

If you want to get to know nearly twenty other writers and find out what’s on their nightstand, check out the Merry-Go-Round Blog Tour. You can find links to all of the posts on the tour by checking out the group site. Read and enjoy!)

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  1. This weekend I’m reading Inez Kelley’s Sweet as Sin. It’s delicious!

  2. Right now I have a bunch of samples downloaded for me to decide what next. I just finished the other day David’s Quarter Square (yes, the David above here).

    You didn’t need photos because you described perfectly what your book piles looks like. That’s why you’re a writer.

    • I loved Quarter Square!

      I don’t know that I described them perfectly, but thank you for the compliment. 🙂

  3. It’s uncanny how if you changed a few titles, this could be my post.

    I’m still reading State of Denial in hard back. On Kindle, I’m reading The Healing Touch for Cats: The Proven Massage Program. On GoodReader I just finished At His Mercy a novella by Alison Kent, which reminds me, I need to blog about that.

  4. I’m beginning to realize that I’m not the only one in the world who doesn’t keep books on shelves… When I walk into someone’s home, and see all these neatly stacked books collecting dust on a nice large shelf, it makes me feel sorry for the books… are they not loved? Does no one take them down and thumb through the pages; doggie ear their favorite passages? Anyway, my point is that I love that you have nice little pockets of knowledge stashed in the places where they are easiest to get to… Also, I’ve just come to the conclusion that I’ve gotta get an electronic book-reader-thingy… (are HUNDREDS of books really available?)

    Great post! I look foreward to reading more. 😀

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

      Yes, indeed, THOUSANDS of books are available electronically and can be carried about in your pocket or purse, weighing but ounces. I’ll never give up physical books, but it’s nice to have both.

  5. Good post!

    At the moment I’m reading Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt. I’m also slogging through Dune by Frank Herbert, but at a much slower rate.

    • Thank you!

      I love the Marla Mason books. Her cloak is really something else, isn’t it? 😉

      I need to reread Dune at some point, but making time is so hard.

  6. I am finishing up the latest Madelyn Alt, “Home for a Spell”. I don’t know what I’m going to read after this. I have about 20 in the queue. Choices… 🙂

  7. I’m reading right now K.M. Moning “Shadowfever”. Been with the series so far, can’t wait to find out the ending.

  8. I’m reading The Likeness by Tana French. It’s very uncanny. And about to get sad, so I stopped reading it. I will finish it, because I have to know what comes next, but I’m also fairly certain that whatever it is will involve heartbreak. I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet.

  9. Brett (aka Gilroy)

    Lots of books to read, so little time… Geez I know that pain.

    Presently, I have three books I’m reading:
    “Creating Unforgettable characters” by Linda Seger
    “Dead by Day” by Charlaine Harris (Omnibus of books 4 and 5 of Sookie Stackhouse)
    and “Lolita” by Nabokov. (I’ve been struggling with this one for almost six months.)

    Great post!

    • That sounds like a good selection of books. I recommend Pale Fire by Nabokov — it’s a poem with endnotes/commentary/editorial analysis — and it’s a marvelous example of an unreliable narrator, which is why it was recommended by David Hartwell as an enjoyable lead.

  10. I have to agree with the descriptions you gave! I can see the book (or my books) in just the same sort of layout.

    Deciding what to read is the hard part. So many choices! We live in a wonderful world.

    • And of course, we’re engaged in creating more choices for others — a wonderful world indeed!

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