Friday, August 01, 2014

Friday Reading Assignment: On the Nighstand

My nightstand is overflowing with good books!

Home by Marilyn Robinson.  A woman and her estranged brother return to their small rural town in Iowa to care for their dying father.  I am reading this now.  Lots of quiet, interpersonal drama.  Very sensitive writing.  Incidentally, I met Marilyn Robinson's brother at Jon's boss's Christmas party last year.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood by Charles Dickens.  For the fifty classics project and also because it is a prerequesite for reading Drood by Dan Simmons.  I'm reading this now as well, but it is not starting out very well.  Very different from the jolly Dickens of Pickwick Papers and David Copperfield.

The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins.  Like Edwin Drood, this is part of the fifty classics project and is a prerequisite for reading Drood.  (As were The Woman in White and David Copperfield.  I have never had to do so much preparation for reading a novel.  Drood had better be good.)

Something in Disguise by Elizabeth Jane Howard  Another novel about family drama, from one of my favorite authors.

The Nutmeg of Consolation by Patrick O'Brian.  Another installment in the nautical Jack Aubrey series.  The title refers to the sultan of somewhere-or-other on whose shores, at the conclusion of the previous book, their ship was wrecked.  One suspects that the sultan will not live up to his nickname.

Servants: A Downstairs View of Twentieth-century Britain by Lucy Lethbridge.  The whole upstairs/downstairs thing is so fascinating.  I'm hoping this won't turn out to be too dry and scholarly.

Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle.  For the fifty classics project.  Plus, I should read the originals before I start watching the Benedict Cumberbatch version.

The Sharpshooter Blues by Lewis Nordan.  I believe this is another coming-of-age-in-the-Delta novel.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.  For the fifty classics project, and also because I can't allow Crime and Punishment to be the one book I've read by Dostoyevsky.

The Message to the Planet by Iris Murdoch.  Because I set out to read all of Murdoch's novels, and this is where I am in the lineup.

Also, on their way from awesome used book sellers on Amazon.

Mary Russell Mitford and her Surroundings by Constance Hill.  The Alderman Library has this in its collection, but it has been checked out for something like two years, and I am tired of waiting.  If you are faculty at UVA, I believe your books become due on the day your coffin is nailed down.  I know I can recall it, but I feel like that's a mean thing to do.  Anyway, I added this to my list after reading Virginia Woolf's commentary on it in The Common Reader.  Mary Russell Mitford was a writer in the early 18th century.

Ankle Deep by Angela Thirkell.  Her first novel, that I haven't been able to find at any library here.  I want to read all of her books, and whenever I set out to read an author's entire body of work, I try to start at the beginning.

High Rising by Angela Thirkell.  Her second novel.

What's on your nighstand these days?


  1. I'm chugging through "In the Garden of Beasts" by Erik Larson. I've sort of read everything I had in the queue, so once I finish that, I'll be loading up again. I've been trying to take advantage of kid-free time to get things done around the house, which means I haven't spent as much time curled up with a book.

  2. The Woman in White and some Joan Didion.

  3. You read more than anyone I've met.
    I'm at the end of a Maisie Dobbs mystery and plucking in and out of a collection of PG Wodehouse stories and about to begin a memoir called A House in the Sky.

  4. I just finished "The Care and Management of Lies" - our library is encouraging people to read about WWI. I enjoyed reading it. It's by Jacqueline Winspear, who also wrote the Maisie Dobbs mysteries that Green Girl mentions. Now switching to non-fiction - "Lawrence in Arabia" by Scott Anderson. I'm reading it because my mother wants to have a book discussion about it.