Confession time: I sleep around.
Just around my house, that is. Our guest room doubles as my office/reading room, and contains a very comfy full sized bed where I retreat when the combined snoring of my middle-aged husband and our two snub-nosed dogs becomes unbearable.
But back to Books By the Bed* – beside each of my beds there is small table, and heaped on the table are stacks of books. One can never have too many books at hand, so I’m well prepared to read myself into dreamland wherever the need arises.
The books on my regular bedroom night table are always the most current volume (or volumes) on the go. Right now that includes an ancient pocket book edition of Dinner at the Homesick Restaurant, by Anne Tyler, which I pulled out the other day after finishing a re-read of Digging to America. I wasn’t sure if I was going to re-read Homesick Restaurant clear through, or just pick around in it, sampling juicy bites here and there as I reacquainted myself with the Tull family and all their dysfunctions. I’ve never put a bookmark in it, but just leave this yellowed and battered volume lying splayed open on its belly. I’m now 20 pages from the end, so I did end up munching my way through the whole book. Underneath lies Ninepins, a new book by Rosy Thornton, whose previous three novels I’ve loved. I’m waiting eagerly to start that..maybe tonight in fact.
On the table in my other bedroom are two journals – one where I write snippets of poems, quotes, or passages from novels that have particular meaning for me – sort of a Commonplace book, if you’re familiar with that concept. Also piled there are a couple of books about writing that I often poke through for inspiration: Bird by Bird and Writing Down the Bones are usually among them. Not the best bedtime reading, perhaps, because reading other writers on writing always makes me want to write myself, and that is an activity best left for the morning if you want to get any decent sleep.
I’ve always kept books by my bed, and even in my bed, hiding a paperback and a flashlight under my pillow when I was a little girl so I could read under the covers long after lights were meant to be out.
Nothing’s changed very much at all in the last 50 years.
What books are by YOUR bed?