My Side of the Bed by Deb Kristy

I can’t do it.

Everyone else’s posts have been so eloquent, so persuasive and passionate in their offerings, and I find myself reaching, futilely, for something that hasn’t been said, some book that will prove my devotion to the form, or at least to a specific writer or genre.

But I cast back over the books I read in 2006 and cannot remember them properly, only fleeting impressions remain. I am a fickle, capricious lover, and I hop from genre to genre, author to author, poetry to fiction, biography to educational text. I read the back of a bottle of Pantene conditioner 365 times in 2006, and I loved every moment of it.

So instead I would like to beg your patience and ask you to allow me to tell you about some of the books I currently have on my nightstand, in the towering To Be Read pile we all seem to have and rarely get to the bottom of. I am passionate about these books, because they are still waiting for me, untouched, unknown, and therefore rich with possibility. In order the way I think I’m going to read them, and yet know I won’t:

1) Bel Canto by Ann Patchett – bought at The Vero Beach Book Center

2) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – also from Vero

3) Ian McEwan – borrowed from Janna Underhill too many months ago

4) The Abomination – also from Janna

5) Jesus Land – bought three weeks ago from my local Borders 3 For 2 Table

6) The Inheritance of Loss – bought at my local Borders on the recommendation of a bookseller from the Bal Harbour Books & Books

7) Anna Karenina by Tolstoy – Vero Beach, one I’ve always wanted to read

8) Three Junes by Julia Glass – Local Borders, 3 For 2 table

9) We Need To Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver – It will be my fourth reading, but my first from a copy I own, bought on a layover at the Atlanta airport returning from NYC

10) Collected Stories of William Faulkner – bought from indie bookstore in Apalachicola, meant to read on beach, fell asleep instead

11) The Midnight Disease by Alice W. Flaherty – kindly given to me by Mitchell Kaplan of Books & Books in Coral Gables

12) Gilead by Marilynne Robinson – Local Borders, 3 For 2 table

13) Lisey’s Story by Stephen King – given to me at Christmas by my husband

14) Eats Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss – Local Barnes and Noble

15) Labyrinth by Kate Mosse – given to me by my editor, Jackie Cantor, and edited by my first editor, Leona Nevler

16) Against the Day by Thomas Pynchon – Amazon purchase, made along with a pre-order of Good Things by our own Mia King

These are all important books to me, as much for their content as for the ways in which I received them. I am comforted by my TBR pile. It tells me that this is my home, this is my room, this is my side of the bed, and I am always welcome. I will always be comfortable there, so long as I have a book to read and a memory to go along with it.

12 Replies to “My Side of the Bed by Deb Kristy”

  1. I adore the Gilead cover (or at least the Canadian version). A few of your bedside books are in my pre-bedside list–the one in my head.

    Isn’t it a cozy feeling to have tons of books waiting for you? We actually bought bedside tables like actual grown-ups this year. They have deep drawers, but I cannot bring myself to stash books in drawers. It feels rude and I know I’ll forget they’re there. So the books lie in stacks on top and around the nighttable and the drawers remain empty, other than middle of the night pens and scraps of paper and the odd bookmark.

  2. Kristy, I have so many of the same books next to MY bed…Anna Karenina (I’ve read it 6 times) and have a copy by my bed, near my desk, in the living room. At the risk of sounding bossy here–READ THAT ONE FIRST. Ian McEwan…I read Saturday last year and it was one the THE BEST books I’d read in ages. (Also still by my bed since I like to dip into it to try to figure out how he manages those wonderfully complicated sentences.) Bel Canto has been on my bedside for a LONG time and also Gilead. Great list! You’ve given me more books to buy, more books to stack. Thanks for sharing. Gail

  3. I really like Stephen King and have been wanting to read Lisey’s Story. I just read Cell and really enjoyed it. I’ve added several others to my TBR list as well.

    I looked for your email/blog and couldn’t find it… your package got in and I love everything. I blogged about it and “showed off.” 🙂 Thanks so much.

  4. Anna Karenina is one of my favorite books. It’s a gripping tradgedy that you won’t be able to put down. I would love to hear your thoughts on it once you’ve had the chance to read it. It’s definitely a book that lingers in your mind long after you have finished reading it.

  5. I love Anna Karenina too! It was hard to get through when I read it for the first time as a 14-yr old, but the story is really beautiful .

  6. I have many of the same books on my shelves, Kristy! Just wait until you read Inheritance of Loss. It is the most beautiful writing I’ve ever read. Bel Canto is that rare book that melds lush writing with an exquisite story. Gilead too. I could go on and on.

    What I like to do when I sit down to do my own writing is choose a great book from my case, open to any page, and read several passages. It inspires me to reach higher. This morning it was One Hundred Years of Solitude. Oh, to be gifted.

  7. Ah to be among booklovers. I too, have piles of books beside my bed. You will love Anna Karenina, Inheritance of Loss, Anything by McEwan, and of course Bel Canto. Just have to find time to read them all!

  8. What an amazing collection in your pile, Kristy!

    I too am comforted by my to be read books, and sometimes, if there’s one I’m especially excited about, I find myself moving it further down the pile, wanting to enjoy the idea of it, the possibility it holds, for just a little longer.

  9. Someone once said: “There’s no better companion than a good book.” If this is true — and I think we’ll all agree it is — then, when we surround ourselves with books, we’re never alone.

  10. I am too tired and punchy to leave an intelligent comment, but I’ll leave one anyway because I enjoyed this post so much! But this is where my brain is at the moment – when I saw Lynee Truss’ EATS, SHOOTS AND LEAVES, it made me think of that spoof title, EATS, POOPS AND LEAVES, a book about baby etiquette. I never read it, but it made me laugh, and I have to admit that I love witty, fun books too (Nora Ephron, Anne Lamott …).

    Now I’m going to crawl into bed, nurse my cold, and read for as long as I can keep my eyes open …

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