December 17, 2008

What's On Your Nightstand?

This is my nightstand. Sounds like the making of a thrilling post. Tomorrow maybe I'll show you a chair or maybe even one of our fine toilets. But, no, I have a point. If you look, you'll notice that the typical contents of a nightstand - a clock, a lamp - are dwarfed by a gigantic stack of books. This, ladies and gentlemen, is my near-term to-read pile.

  • Broken Prey (John Sandford) - John Sandford is like the north star of writers - you can always count on his stuff to be there and be good.
  • The Chicago Way (Michael Harvey) - Word of mouth, plain and simple.
  • American Visa (Juan De Recacoechea) - The blurb on the cover from George Pelecanos sold me. I'm a sucker for George Pelecanos.
  • Rant (Chuck Palahniuk) - What can you say about Chuck.
  • The Power Of The Dog (Don Winslow) - Winslow is probably one of the best writers I've had the pleasure of stumbling on in the last five years.
  • Manhattan Nocturne (Colin Harrison) - I forget what I read by Harrison a few years back but whatever it was left enough of an impression that I picked this one up.
  • Boy Toy (Barry Lyga) - I got an advance reader copy. Of the selections available to me, this was the most interesting sounding.
  • Prodigy (Dave Kalstein) - This one has been on my to-read list for years though I'm dubious about it since Beth recently read it and described it as "readable". That's not a hell of an endorsement. The back of a cereal box is "readable."
  • The Hunger Games (Suzanne Collins) - Again, advance copy.
  • The Sand Cafe (Neil MacFarquhar) - I heard MacFarquhar on NPR a while back talking about this fictionalized account of being a reporter in the Middle East during the first Gulf War. I was intrigued. Intrigued enough to buy it but apparently not enough to read it yet.
  • Tsar (Ted Bell) - Bell's hero is an over the top James Bond figure that makes for a fun, trashy read requiring very little brain power.
  • The Army Of The Republic (Stuart Archer Cohen) - Advance copy.
  • Nothing To Lose (Lee Child) - Child and his hero Jack Reacher rock.
  • Heat Lightning (John Sandford) - Yeah, another Sandford. Like I said, you can't go wrong.
  • Magical Thinking (Augusten Burroughs) - The Burroughs speaks for itself.
  • The Dark League King (Keith Lee Morris) - I stumbled on this novel set in Idaho. When do you see a book set in Idaho?
  • 361 (Donald Westlake) - Hardboiled noir crime fiction. Goodness.

I feel somewhat threatened by this pile, like if I don't make some kind of headway soon, it'll collapse on me in the middle of the night and leave me bruised, with paper cuts. I'd like to tell you that this represents the extent of my book-buying obsession but that would make me a liar and my pants would likely burst into flames. There's a limit to how hot I want my ass to be.

I've got four nice bookcases in the basement totally devoted to storing a mob of unread books, just waiting for me to pay attention to them. I've got at least a half dozen bookcases dedicated to storing books I have actually read. It's clear that I have a problem. In fact, I might as well come clean and show you the inside of my nightstand too.

What's on your nightstand? And what do you collect or just plain have too much of?

Posted by Chris at December 17, 2008 6:35 AM

i'm in the middle of About a Boy, which basically is nearly the movie word for word. which i find surprising because movies usually leave out a lot of stuff.

and i have White Oleander to read.

i tried to read Choke but couldn't it was just too, i don't know. too much. at least for me, right now.

and oy, i think i'm the first comment. i feel kinda special.

Posted by: Cri at December 17, 2008 7:30 AM

Lamp, tissues, fluffy rabbit toy, lip balm, hand cream, anti-snoring spray, coaster and drink of water.

We have a lot of books too but these days we tend to get them from the library rather than buy them, unless we really love the book and want to read it again.

Posted by: Katherine at December 17, 2008 7:31 AM

Well, at least yours are stacked nicely on the nightstand. Mine are just sort of all thrown around the floor as I poke through trying to find the next read. And maybe a few dirty socks find their way between the pages ;-)

Posted by: Tera at December 17, 2008 7:33 AM

Oh, and to answer your question. I collect paper and art supplies. I have boxes upon boxes of it. I could seriously supply an elemetary school. And ask me what I want for a gift? I'll be sure to remind you I need construction paper! Just can't get enough!!!

Posted by: Tera at December 17, 2008 7:35 AM

I don't use a nightstand. The alarm clock is on the far side of the room, otherwise I turn it off and continue to sleep without even realizing. The book that I'm reading is in bed with me, since I have a big bed and sleep alone. The books that I've finished reading usually stay on the other side of my pillow until I get around to changing my sheets. And light? Umm... yeah. That's the trickiest bit. :)

Posted by: Hannah at December 17, 2008 7:35 AM

Your house is so clean!!!

My nightstand is my headboard, which is also a shelf. I have a bunch of books on mine too (not as many as you), a lanp, clock, iPod speakers,lotion, a statue of Athena, a picture of my daughter, a candle, and a used tissue or 2.

I thought I was bad about getting/having too many books. I don't have enough bookcases for mine so they just hang out wherever they happen to land. But you Chris, are far worse than me, I think. Congratulations.

Posted by: jessica at December 17, 2008 7:40 AM

Actually, I just cleaned my nightstand... It has a few magazines that I'm saving for various reasons (the latest RS with Obama on the cover is one), several notebooks with my creative writing, poetry and other assorted hoohaa I wrote in college (Not sure why I don't have a better place for it), a lamp, an alarm clock that doesn't have a functional alarm (which is fine because I have kids), and The Body Shop almond hand cream and chapstick I put on right before I go to sleep.

Posted by: Sarah at December 17, 2008 8:17 AM

I have a stand on the side of my bed that only has my radio/alarm clock. Anything else and I'd probably knock it over at sometime during the night or day.
There is a 1/2 wall right behind the bed that my husband keeps a variety of his books and there are pictures and a few fake plants (I think).
My stack of library books are on the radiator cover at the bottom of the stairs next to the bookcase on the wall where there is no more room. There's also a case at the top of the stairs, one on the other side of the 1/2 wall (the sitting/tv room), one in the LR for my knitting books, and hey! I think I'll take over the one in my son's room!

Posted by: NancyJak at December 17, 2008 8:38 AM

My cat is usually on the nightstand. He used to fight for space with his buddy...but his poor buddy is no longer there to fight.

Posted by: daisy at December 17, 2008 8:46 AM

Of the 100 or so books I own, I've read like 5 of them. Okay, that's not true. Of the fiction I own, I've not read at most 5. Of the non-fiction, however, there are a lot of I haven't read. I'm attempting to remedy that.

On my nightstand, so to speak, are library books. Land Laid Bare (don't remember who wrote/compiled it), about survivors of the Rwandan genocide. Giraffe by J.M...someone. Not Barrie :D It's really good. Absolutely poetic writing. And there's one other but I don't remember the name of it. It's fiction. Oh, and Half Blood Prince.

I am in awe of your book devouring.

Posted by: Sparkle Pants at December 17, 2008 8:47 AM

On the top:
A lamp, an alarm clock, a light dimmer, 2 power cables (to recharge my ear piece and phone - nerdy, right?), a coaster and my book (Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin).

In the drawers are:
3 remote controls, a channel guide because they just switched all of my stations around, ear plugs, lotion, and a wireless mouse.

Posted by: Emily at December 17, 2008 8:51 AM

I only keep three books on my bedside table at a time so I don't accidentally cause an avalanche of epic proportions. I collect books as well- through buying and raiding my family's personal book collections. I have a special bookshelf that's entirely devoted to books that I have, but still need to read.

Posted by: tutugirl1345 at December 17, 2008 8:58 AM

clock radio
CO Bigelow lip stuff (cinnamon)
BBW hand cream
A framed drawing from my son
Remotes for the TV
CD with a copy of Photoshop for Mac (? don't ask)

Posted by: Holly at December 17, 2008 9:04 AM

On my nightstand, I have a clock, lip balm, nail clipper, lamp, a lucite Michael Jordan figurine, and too many books. Inside my nightstand, I have photography books.

As I probably mentioned to you before, I collect books. I stopped counting my to-be-read pile when I reached 3,000. You can't have a problem because if you do then I do and I refuse to admit that. I also collect bad habits. :-)

I sympathize with your to-be-read anxiety. I've been a reading slump for months.

Posted by: Maria at December 17, 2008 9:08 AM

I with you on the shelves and shelves of unread books. I believe my total nears 600 now. I really need to stop the compulsion to gather these great stories! I'm pretty sure that's going to have to be my New Year's Resolution...

Speaking of ARCS, are you on LibraryThing? They have a really great Early Reviewers group.

Posted by: Jaime at December 17, 2008 9:17 AM

Hm. On my nightstand is the lamp, my thyroid medication and ye olde birth control pills. Some dust, but no alarm clock as that is on hubby's side.
Also, a Reader's Digest, a rogue sock, and sometimes Munch, one of our cats. :)

As for collecting stuff? I have WAY too much stuff for scrapbooking. It will never all get used in this lifetime...

Posted by: Jen at December 17, 2008 9:22 AM

Books as well. Electronic equipment. Bathroom supplies such as makeup and shampoos and crap like that. It is everywhere I have been working this past year to get rid of some of it! CHILDREN'S TOYS!

My nightstand is similar. Books, magazines, a clock, a lamp and some "decor" items as well as the only non cordless phone in the house for emergencies. OMG my nightstand is too small for all that crap!

Posted by: Christina at December 17, 2008 9:23 AM

A lamp that is purely decorative as we can't get the right type of light bulbs for it here in Europe.

An unplugged alarm clock because I just end up using my phone. I'll plug it in one of these days.

A glass of water.

My hair clip that I take off right before bed, much to my husband's chagrin as I think he now has hairballs.

Sometimes my laptop if we're watching a movie before bed.

Whatever book I happen to be reading. If I had a stack like yours, I'd come home and they'd all be back on the bookshelf. My husband is a little OCD. :)

Posted by: Holly Reynolds at December 17, 2008 9:26 AM

Haha, the inside of your nightstand cracked me up. Seriously though, you have motivated me to fit more time into my day for reading books. I think´"If he, a father of two with a fulltime job, can find the time, then so can I."

Also, I don't know if you've seen, but Pseudostoops ( is doing something similar to you in respect to donating to charity for each comment she receives. She is introducing a new cause each day this week. Just wanted to give anyone who might want to participate a heads up. Hope you don't mind me mentioning that here. Sorry I missed your charity call for comments!!!

Posted by: Catharina at December 17, 2008 9:36 AM

I used to collect books, too, to the point that I put myself on a moratorium a few years back. Now I'm only allowed to buy books I really, really, really want (or textbooks, which don't count). But, when we finally sell our house and move, there are boxes to be pulled out of storage full of books, both mine and hubby's.

I also have a decent collection of stationary, despite not having written a letter (besides the rare "thank you" card) in years.

And because I craft, I have been collecting yarn and fabric for a few years now. It scares my husband. I think he'd prefer I stuck to books. But, he collects DVDs and spare computer parts.

Posted by: Kelly at December 17, 2008 9:38 AM

JD Robb all the way baby! I love her books.
I laughed when I saw your bedside table cause mine looks exactly the same. I cannot get enough of books. I have this dream that one day, when the kiddos are gone, I can turn a room into a library. With big overstuffed chairs. Nice lights. A stereo that will play jazz softly in the background. A starbcks in there with a cute barista named Julio. sigh. One of these days. :) I wrote down some of the authors you had so I can check out a couple of new authors. :)

Posted by: dawn at December 17, 2008 9:39 AM

An alarm clock and the latest issue of Vogue is thrown on my nightstand. Not exactly comparable to what's on yours.

Posted by: La Petite Belle at December 17, 2008 9:47 AM

On The Road by Jack Kerouac is next in line, followed by Death With Interruptions by Jose Saramago and The Devil's Delusion by David Berlinski. The Ship Who Sang by Anne McCaffrey is there, too, because although I've never been a huge fan of the science fiction genre, I've heard so many people say so many glowing things about the book that I feel inclined to give it a go. Also, I listened to the unabridged version of Dune during a road trip last year and found it to be as terminally awesome as people had reported, so maybe I've been selling science fiction short all these years.

Posted by: You can call me, 'Sir' at December 17, 2008 9:47 AM

My nightstand WAS a cute old dresser that I painted and it WAS covered with a book or two, a lamp, a few what-not's, and an alarm clock. My dear interior-decorator-of-a-mother decided it belonged in the living room? and while I will admit it looks quite nice I no longer have a nightstand.

Posted by: mymilabean at December 17, 2008 9:50 AM

Bloody hell, that's a lot of books. On my nightstand: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, a certain self-help book, a stack of comics I haven't gotten around to reading (I think they're mostly House of Mystery), and a list of books on my (three) bookcases I haven't read yet. That way I don't have to worry about a giant stack toppling onto me in the middle of the night. :-) Unreadable items on my nightstand: skin cream, allergy meds, phone, lamp, and a couple of bottles of nail polish. I also keep my watch up there when I'm not wearing it.

Um, and in the interest of full disclosure: I've got a stack of magazines To Be Read sitting on one of my end tables in the living room. I try not to start collections, lest my hoarding instincts kick in and I end up a bunch of empty tissue boxes under the bed. (No, really.)

Posted by: Fraulein N at December 17, 2008 10:06 AM

why do you buy books before you are ready to read them? I understand maybe one or two ahead, but bookcases of them??? Seems like a waste of space, money, and to worried about it toppling over at night needless... Why???

Posted by: linda at December 17, 2008 11:03 AM

Okay I don't technically have a nightstand due to the fact my bed is right next to my closet door so it would get blocked so currently my hamper acts as my nightstand, so my nightstand is across the room by my chair and houses the phone and a lamp and tissues, but my hamper that sits next to my bed, houses my philosophy "kiss me" lip balm, the book "Outrage" by Dick Morris and an LED book light because the light switch is all the way across the room and hell if I'm going to get up once I'm comfy in bed and the remote control for the fan because I'm one of those weirdos in the middle of the winter that likes to sleep with a fan on but sometimes I get cold so I will have to shift it away from me in the middle of the night but again hell if I'm getting up. HAHA!

Posted by: Deirdre at December 17, 2008 11:05 AM

Good God. And I was feeling buried by my to read pile. Yowsa.

Currently on my night stand: A copy of the Shack that I am 3/4 of the way through but the book mark has been mysteriously removed by someone in my house under three feet tall, a remote for the TV and a pile of my sons laundry that needs to be put away. Exciting stuff, I know.

Posted by: Jen at December 17, 2008 11:09 AM

Sweet Baby Jesus! Your nightstand could be a stunt double for mine.

Posted by: apathy lounge at December 17, 2008 11:22 AM

With all the books you have that you might not go back to again, may I suggest :)

Posted by: oakley at December 17, 2008 11:32 AM

mine looks like that. only with added water bottles and lip balms ;)

Posted by: ali at December 17, 2008 11:47 AM

Looks just like MY nightstand. Only, mine are piled on both sides of the bed now.

Don't judge me! I live alone!

Posted by: k8 at December 17, 2008 11:48 AM

Well technically I don't have a bookcase is right next to my bed though so I guess I have lots of books on mine.

What do I collect? NASCAR stuff. :/

Posted by: Amy at December 17, 2008 12:04 PM

DOGS! Not on the night stand, but definitely there are days I feel like there are too many of them in this house! Like today. 7 inches of snow, four dogs and lots of wet!

Posted by: Maribeth at December 17, 2008 12:11 PM

I don't have time to read, except while I'm working out, so all my books are stored on my iPod (a great space-saver, that). So my nightstand is pretty clear - a clock and a baby monitor.

Things I have entirely too much of? Right now, poopy laundry. Darn the stomach bug going around. My washer can't keep up.

Posted by: Amy at December 17, 2008 12:33 PM

Just porn over here.

Posted by: Mr Lady at December 17, 2008 1:06 PM

I don't have a nightstand, because my bed didn't have a matching one available. So what I have is a pile of crap on the floor next to my bed. It used to be books that needed to be relocated to the bookcase, having been read; and magazines needing to be relocated to the recycling, having been read. However, we recently remodeled our house and everything is still in disarray, so what is in the-space-that-should-be-occupied-by-a-nightstand is a pile of books and magazines, a trunk containing 23 years of my handwritten journals, a fire extinguisher, and a breast pump. Yeah.

So, how can I get on a list where people will send me advance copies to read? Sure would save trips to the bookstore and me standing in front of the endless shelves wondering what to buy. As it is, I have only the Twilight series at the moment (and Middlemarch, which I'm really having trouble enjoying, and Jesus, I really just need my own blog, don't I?)


Posted by: Brooke Habecker at December 17, 2008 1:16 PM

Wow, that is a shitload of books and Mia never totes those things around the house?

Posted by: kami at December 17, 2008 1:59 PM

Love this post...shared it with my husband as proof that I am not the only insane one when it comes to the pile of books on the nighstand.

Posted by: Kristy at December 17, 2008 2:34 PM

Wow, you sure do like to read! Do you buy most of your books new or secondhand? I'm too cheap to buy a book new so I get most of mine from yardsales :)
I'm currently reading In the Company of the Courtesan and Taking Charge of Your Fertility. That's quite the contradiction, huh?!

Posted by: La Petite Chic at December 17, 2008 3:11 PM

I'm not reading anything right now, as I just got done studying for my teaching certification educational knowledge test, which has left me a little brain-fried, if you know what I mean. I do have the books that "True Blood" is based on for future reading and the "Bourne" trilogy there too, I just have to study and pass the Biology test in February then I can read with abandon!

I too collect books. I will read and re-read certain series' and authors, and when I decide I'm done with them, I take them to a used bookstore, where I get 1/3 of the price as a store credit, then I can buy other books there for 1/2 of the cover price. It's just an easy way to liquidate and restock books without the big-box store prices!

Posted by: Katie at December 17, 2008 3:57 PM

Add my night-guard, 3 glasses of Diet Sprite and way stupider books... and it's EXACTLY like that photo!

Posted by: Aimee Greeblemonkey at December 17, 2008 4:13 PM

FOUR bookcases of unread books? Me, oh my...

Posted by: Zandria at December 17, 2008 4:44 PM

Jack Reacher does kick some ass. I just gave the four that I had at home to my mother-in-law. I think I have about 3 more to read to be up to date.

I'm almost ashamed to admit that I started the Twilight series this past week and have finished the first two books. I got to page 288 in the third one last night before I was kicked out of barnes and noble.

Posted by: rex at December 17, 2008 5:08 PM

Wouldn't it be fun if I could say a near empty bottle of lubricant? That would be lying.

2 half started books. I have 22 unread books in total. I only read about 1 a month, so I'm just as behind as you.

2 half finished glasses of water.

It's very dry in the Prairies these days. But apparently not cold and dry enough for me to drink a whole glass of water!

Posted by: Heather at December 17, 2008 7:15 PM

A lamp, a clock radio and dust. I keep books in the library and/or laying around the living room. I have Lolita half finished and up next is The Tales of Beedle The Bard by J.K. Rowling.

You sound like my hubby, but I feel you easily have him beat with your book collection. He reads a great deal, but he doesn't have this many waiting to be read.

Posted by: One Mom's Opinion at December 17, 2008 8:22 PM

Book Thief by Markus Zusak (read)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini(read)
Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (part way)
Ventolin inhaler
Loccitane hand cream
Alarm clock
Glass of water

Posted by: Beth at December 18, 2008 2:37 AM

My nightstand (it's 36" wide, but crowded):
clock radio
Burt's Bees chapstick
Burt's Bees Carrot Cream (for hands)
Memoirs of a Spiritual Outsider (Clores)
Tree of Smoke (Johnson)
Straight Man (Russo)
N+1 Magazine, Winter 2008 issue
3 issues of the New Yorker
Northwestern alumni magazine, winter
Down East magazine, December
laptop containing my current novel

Posted by: Laura at December 18, 2008 12:16 PM

I love Chuck!
We just bought a house and I finally have bookcases, my husband freaked when he saw all the books I have, I finally unloaded all the boxes we have been hauling around for 3 years! Reading makes me happy!

Posted by: Alexandra at December 18, 2008 3:01 PM

I love Chuck!
We just bought a house and I finally have bookcases, my husband freaked when he saw all the books I have, I finally unloaded all the boxes we have been hauling around for 3 years! Reading makes me happy!

Posted by: Alexandra at December 18, 2008 3:01 PM

On my night table:

"Let it Bleed" by Ian Rankin (I heart Inspector Rebus)
"The Cruellest Month" by Louise Penny
alarm clock
reading glasses
small stuffed puppy-like Webkinz (Rachel's)
Holidays 2008 LCBO "Food and Drink" magazine

Posted by: alison at December 18, 2008 3:11 PM

I also have a slight book obsession, though not to the same extent. I've forever had a fantasy of having a library in my home - a room devoted to reading with nothing but walls lined with packed bookshelves and comfy, puffy leather armchairs. N.E.R.D.

My nightstand is populated by the requisite lamp and alarm clock, but also a minor stack of books read and to-be-read (including Son of a Witch, My Sister's Keeper, Grimm's Fairy Tales, and The Secret Garden). But, since I'm rarely in my bed with a newborn, my biggest displaced book stack is in the family room. :-)

Posted by: kate at December 18, 2008 3:27 PM

My nightstand is pretty much my window sill and it has a bottle of water, cell phone charger and both my and Andrew's books (him, the 2nd in the Twilight series, me the 3rd).

Posted by: Dianna at December 19, 2008 12:53 PM

A glass of water, a lamp and candles. My books are all in the book case. Ready to be read on my way to work :)

Posted by: Nadine at December 19, 2008 2:28 PM

Whatever I'm currently reading stays on the dining room table at night. I used to read in bed, but my hands get too cold holding the book. Plus, I fall asleep, and have whapped myself on the nose a couple of times by a heavy book.

I've got a thing about buying used books from the library; I must have at least four Trader Joe's bags full of unread books. Best thing? They're just 25 cents a piece, and get donated to a senior center when they've been read. I also started checking books out of the library; I love to do that with new recommends, but comes with a slight downer in that I have to finish it within 14 days. Depending on the state of my life, that can cause a little pressure.

My nightstand contents sound a heck of a lot similar to other commenters: alarm clock, lamp, kleenex, lip stuff, Olbas nose sniffer thingy, glass of water, hand/foot lotion. Yikes, I think I need to pare that down; it sounds messy!

Posted by: ie at December 19, 2008 4:07 PM

I can always count on THIS place for a good look at books. I was just thinking about loading up a cart with books for some winter reading and thought to myself, "huh? I wonder where I can find a some not-just-the-top-20-NYT books?" and immediately thought to come here. Thanks again, Chris!

Posted by: Keri at December 22, 2008 12:17 PM

If my son is awake, my nightstand is mostly empty, except for perhaps my clock and his morning bottle. The other items previously on my nightstand - baby monitor, hair ties, the occasional book - have been scattered around the house. He's getting more creative with the placement of said items. Yesterday we found the monitor in the Diaper Genie.

Posted by: Amy at September 24, 2009 12:02 PM

Lots of specialists tell that home loans aid a lot of people to live the way they want, because they can feel free to buy needed things. Moreover, different banks present short term loan for all people.

Posted by: PITTSTanya21 at June 5, 2011 9:10 AM

Set your life time easier get the loans and all you need.

Posted by: business loans at November 16, 2011 7:47 AM

Quelqu'un peut-il me dire comment obtenir les avatars peu à montrer dans ma section des commentaires? merci!sdafgasd

Posted by: Lancel at November 18, 2011 4:45 AM