23 January 2008

25 Books, part one

One of the other things I managed to get done last weekend was to organize the books, that is, my unread books. They'd gotten scattered hither and yon around the house, and some were (gasp!) commingling with the already read books. There are now 25 books on my bedside table - six in progress, and the rest waiting patiently.

The books I'm in the middle of - the left hand pile - run the gamut from things that have been kicking around for a while (like since LAST Christmas) to stuff that arrived this past Christmas.

The Whore's Child (Richard Russo) is a book of short stories that I acquired mistakenly thinking I hadn't read it. Apparently, I can't remember a damned thing, because I have already read it, but I'm reading it again, because he's great, and slowly, because it's short stories.

Organic Housekeeping (Ellen Sandbeck) was a Christmas gift from my mother-in-law, who knows that I'm a slovenly housekeeper because she's seen the dustbunnies. It is actually quite amusing - besides what you might expect (use white vinegar to clean almost everything), it has practical wisdom like:

Rather than adding chemicals to the air to mask an unpleasant odor, try to hunt down the source of the odor and eliminate it. (This rule should not be applied to family members or pets. They may simply need to be bathed or have their socks or diapers changed.)

Stones from the River (Ursula Hegi) is a novel I bought a while ago on a friend's recommendation. For some reason, it's taking me a long time to get through it, even though I quite like it and I find it to be well-written.

Decca: The Letters of Jessica Mitford was a Christmas present last year. Oops. But it's letters, and therefore can be picked up and put down, which is my justification for not having finished it yet. She was a major character, the Communist branch of the Mitford clan and a muckraking writer who knew everyone. And her epistolary prose is rough and idiosyncratic and utterly charming, even when you have no idea what she's talking about:

Anyway I loved getting yrs of 18 Aug. Vive la "deep depression!" Serves her bloody well right: might be as salutary, if not more so, than Maya's knee-cap job?

The River Cottage Meat Book (Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall): yeah, I read cookbooks in bed - wanna make something of it? This one is fascinating - both a paean to good meat and good farming and good butchering, and a loving primer on how to cook that good meat.

Vegetable Harvest (Patricia Wells) is yes, another cookbook! It was a Christmas present, this year. She has a wonderful sensibility, and her recipes are generally spot on. In case you're wondering, this is not a vegetarian cookbook - rather, it's a vegetable-centric general cookbook.

17 comments:

Janet said...

I read Stones from the River years ago. I quite liked it, too.

And reading a book called, "The River Cottage Meat Book" in bed could lead people to think it's about something other than cooking. ;)

PS I like your bedside lamp! I'm the market for two new lamps, which is why I noticed. Not because I'm super nosy.

Life As I Know It said...

I really liked Stones from the River too!

Victoria said...

Love it! My end table looks like that too!

the dragonfly said...

This might seem weird, but I can only read in bed when my husband is gone (like when he's deployed). But my bedside table gets like that when he's gone! :)

bipolarlawyercook said...

I have a few recipes tabbed in Vegetable Harvest after having made a few good salads this summer. I'm actually going to get around to making her Beef Daube with Carrots this week.

I see the "Spice" book in your other pile-- I haven't started mine yet, but my husband really enjoyed it.

Whimsy said...

Wow - reading cookbooks in bed? I am now feeling like a total loser for NOT reading my cookbooks. I buy them, I thumb through them when I'm stumped for an idea, I end up cooking something else, I put the cookbook back on the shelf for another time - lather, rinse, repeat.

bubandpie said...

You're my hero. The unread books in my house defy organization. They've taken over - so much so that I actually instructed relatives NOT to buy me books for Christmas (I want to get through last Christmas's selections first.)

Anjali said...

Loved Stones from the River, but if I remember correctly, it took me a while to get through as well. All "heavy" books take me longer.

the mama bird diaries said...

I must must must read more books. Why don't I read more books? I must go read now. I want a bedside table that looks like that.

Julia said...

It's been a while since I've gone through my bedside table stack. I know there is Sabuda dinosaurs book buried at the bottom of it from early last winter, before shit hit the fan. I should excavate and see what else is in there I think.

painted maypole said...

6?!? wow. i've been known to have 2 or 3, but SIX?

flutter said...

I am totally digging your list so far!

dawn224 said...

heh. /i usually need to take out the trash w the dirty wipes

Ophelia Rising said...

I'm SO glad that someone else has a huge pile of unread books awaiting at her bedside, too. I love to look at them, there in that pile, to savor the moment of picking up the next one, casting a sideways glance at them, wondering what unspoken jewels lie beholden underneath each cover.

And I'm rawther compulsive about mixing them with ones I've already read, too. It's just easier that way, you know?

Lori said...

Every one of these is new to me. Thank you.

I'll add it to my mile-long queue. Wouldn't it be nice to have enough time to read all we want?

katiez said...

Really!!! You keep 25 unread books on your bedside table!?!?!? I can understand you m-i-l's opinion... I divide mine in half and keep half on the bedside table in the spare room...the other half on the floor. Much neater...
Oh, and the third half on the dresser and a few more just sitting on my favorite chair. Much neater than a stack!
I like your books - off to Amazon!

LAS said...

I have a whole shelf of books that are unread that I probably won't ever get to. I love reading - I used to read a lot but school kind of ruined it for me. I might start again!