Friday, January 9, 2009

Are The Books By My Bed Who I Am?

Earlier today, on Backyard Inspirations, was a discussion of how the books on your bedside table say a lot about you (the spectre of the actual bedside table representing us was also raised). The final question asked by Eliza was "So what’s on your bedside table?" I started to leave a comment, but after the far more enviably spartan lives I glimpsed through other's words (one example, "Dust, my clock radio, and a lamp. And at night, my glasses..."), I thought I should stand up and let my profoundly cluttered and bookish soul be counted.

First of all, I have a small (two shelves, plus the top) bookcase on one side of the bed, a drawered chest on the other. Atop the chest of drawers, there's a lamp, a small crystal dish for earrings, a lovely little olive wood bowl from Spain that I use for hair ties, earplugs, and lip balm. There's a square box of tissues, a stoneware crock filled with a variety of pens and pencils, and a rock or two from the beach whose matte black smoothness appealed to my hand, then got carried around and finally dropped on the bedside table. And lastly, more often than not, my favourite 25 lbs of Norwegian Forest Cat perches atop the chest. His Grace, Big likes to survey his territory (me) from there, and repel all borders. Arrr...he's a bit of pirate, that one, and very proprietary when it comes to his woman. The bookshelf holds a lamp, some wonderful vulture feathers from Texas in a wood cup, a strange little tiger figure, and a pair of fur-lined "slave" eyeshades from a wonderfully odd period in my past. Dom or sub, you ask? I'll never tell...let's just say that experiment is finished.

Were I to list the many titles on, in, and around my bedside stands, it might cause a worldwide system overload and launch the much-feared blue screen of death. So instead, allow me to simply state a few facts and let them speak for themselves.

1. Earlier today, in an attempt to tidy the overflow, I removed thirty-nine books from around and under my bed. Plus magazines, a flop of loose papers containing a story I've begun writing, and a list of level codes for a game I play now and then in bed on my Gameboy.
2. In and on the bookcase are 95...yes, I said ninety-five books. Soft and hardback, all but three are books I plan to read by the time summer rolls around. As I blow through a book every couple of days (not through Finnegan's Wake, but certainly through Interview With a Vampire), that's an entirely reasonable goal.
3. The drawered unit holds a mere seven books, including my journal, a book on Buddhism and another on Hinduism, both of which I have find comforting when the nightly head noises start their Greek Chorus of complaints about me and my all-too-human behaviour.
4. IN the bed (*SIGH* yes, in) are six library books and two art books I'm currently reading.

The library books are as follows:
Ladies of Liberty: The Women Who Shaped Our Nation by Cokie Roberts
Blasphemy by Douglas Preston
Mirroring People; The New Science of How We Connect With Others by Marco Iacoboni
Operation Roswell by Kevin D. Randle
Patriot Hearts: A Novel of the Founding Mothers by Barbara Hambly
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
When You See The Emu In The Sky: My Journey of Self-Discovery In The Outback by Elizabeth Fuller

And what I've listed here's not everything in my current stack...not by a long shot. Most of the other stuff right now is source and/or inspirational stuff to help me with the layout and illustrations I'm currently hard at work on for a children's book I just finished writing.

Maybe all this will be a little easier to grasp if you know that there are at least 5K volumes in this house. Fiction, non-fiction, paperbacks, oversized...all of it. The genres barely represented are political intrigue/thrillers (*yawn*), Westerns (unless you count Tony Hillerman), and mysteries (unless Preston-Childs/James Rollins thrillers count). I grew up reading, not watching television, and last year's Writer's Strike just jarred me completely out of the habit of tv. I like to read, and having books nearby sooths my psyche as does little else. As my Edward Gorey book bag reads "Books. Cats. Life is Good."
Since writing this piece earlier this evening I've added another twenty books - all but three from our wonderful, well used library - to the pile on the bed. I am, utterly and completely, hopelessly and happily, head over heels in love with books.

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