I’m one of those whose reading nook is her bed, especially since the only time I get to read is at night after the kids are asleep. I’ve been told reading in bed and at night is a double-whammy for the eyes. For this, reading lamps are designed and mine is currently a very basic clip-on from IKEA which I attach to my headboard. But since baby arrived and we’ve been co-sleeping, Kindle has saved the day (actually, night). Out of modernity’s myriad inventions, one truly has to be thankful for a device whose brightness settings can be adjusted to a level that makes for comfortable reading in pitch black conditions.
On my “nightstand”: I was on a real English history binge for awhile, tearing through tomes on the Plantagenets and Tudors. And then I read Josephine Tey’s The Daughter of Time and she was so convincing in her sympathies for Richard III that I (almost) became a Ricardian. (What? They found his remains under a Leicester carpark and didn’t inter him in York?) I also adored Hilary Mantel’s Man Booker Prize-winning duo, Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies, even if I went through them in a transposed order. Now I am enjoying her very early work on the French Revolution, A Place of Greater Safety, and am probably a little too involved because last night I dreamed of Robespierre spouting one of his famous quotes: “Pity is treason.”
But I do try to mix it up a little, switching between genres to keep things interesting. Young Adult (YA) books are always very entertaining, and I admire the work of John Green and Rainbow Rowell. When I need a little spiritual nourishment, I love Jesuit authors like James Martin SJ and the late Anthony de Mello SJ. They’re light in tone yet perspective-filled, non-judgmental yet thought-provoking.
And there are times when my tastes seem very random and out of character. Currently unfinished on my “nightstand” is Antarctica: An Intimate Portrait of a Mysterious Continent by Gabrielle Walker. For some reason the South Pole fascinates me. And this book is such easy, informative reading about a place of which so little is known. Many people assume it’s all penguins and ice, but its landscape also comprises volcanoes, sand dunes, mountain ranges, lakes, and more. Perfectly mind-boggling reading.
All things said, when someone asks what I like to read, it can be a difficult question to answer. Most often, it’s whatever seizes my imagination at the time.
So what topics are tickling your fancy at the moment? What books are on your nightstand?