On my bedside table...

Usually, I read one book at a time. Right now, I find myself dabbling in five at once, all very different, very satisfying in their own way. Three are ebooks on my cellphone, constantly available for a quick few pages wherever I am. Two are paperbacks so I can indulge in the feel and smell of an actual book. Here are the titles I’m juggling right now:

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo. I read through this megalith of a novel for the first time about 15 years ago. Since then, my DH and I have seen the musical in London and the wonderful movie adaptation with Liam Neeson and Geoffrey Rush came out. The musical version is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. I enjoyed a concert version on PBS last week. The style of a 19th century novel is still pretty sluggish compared to the lightning fast reads of today, but the themes in this story are so monumental, so deep, a more leisurely pace is warranted.

His at Night by Sherry Thomas. This is another re-read for me–a candy read. I’m not trying to dissect or study it. Sherry’s fresh prose always washes over me like warm rain. The bones of this story remind me of The Scarlet Pimpernel. Her hero acts the fool in order to hide the fact that he’s part of a secret crime investigative unit on behalf of the Crown. Looking forward to her next book, which according to her website won’t be out till 2012 when we’ll have 3 new titles to savor. In the meantime, I heartily recommend every book this talented author has written.

How Should We Then Live? by Francis Schaeffer. This is my current non-fiction title. It’s part Western Civ survey, part Christian apologetics, part philosophy primer. Since I’m always interested in how people thought about themselves and their place in the world at different times in history, this book is fascinating on so many levels. I really appreciate Dr. Schaeffer’s clarity of thought.

Dies the Fire by S. M. Stirling. This post-apocalyptic tale was my daughter’s recommendation. The premise is that something happens to cause all electrical and mechanical technology to stop working. Planes fall from the sky. Internal combustion engines won’t turn over. And most importantly, guns won’t fire. Food becomes the new currency and mankind is tossed back to an age when brute force determines who survives. The beginning, in which a small plane crash lands in the Idaho wilderness, really grabbed me. My DH is a private pilot and we’ve logged plenty of hours in a Cessna 182, flying from Salt Lake City through Pocatello and up the corridor through the mountains where West Yellowstone sits at the convergence of two passes. Riveting. This story has captured my imagination big time.

And lastly, my new book club selection The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. I have high hopes for this story. Last month’s book (The Corrections) was a depressing disaster, and the women in my book club and I universally despised  it. However, we found enough in the story to talk about it for an hour and a half. That may have been because of the wine and cheese, or perhaps just being in the company of well-read kindred souls.  I’m really enjoying making reading a communal activity. When I run into other members of the group in my building, we have an instant connection.

American novelist Henry Miller was right when he said “A book lying idle on a shelf is wasted ammunition. Like money, books must be kept in constant circulation. Lend and borrow to the maximum — of both books and money! But especially books, for books represent infinitely more than money. A book is not only a friend, it makes friends for you. When you have possessed a book with mind and spirit, you are enriched. But when you pass it on you are enriched threefold.”

So what book will you share with others this week?

7 thoughts on “On my bedside table…

  1. librarypat says:

    I love the Henry Miller quote. Thank you for sharing. I have just finished Jennifer Blake’s Master of Arms 6 book series. They are historical romance set in 1840’s New Orleans. I like the way she writes. Lots of historical detail. The current events of the time are brought into the story. Her characters are well developed. She has had an unexpected twist towards the end of the books.
    I grabbed 2 Harlequin Intrigues for the ride on a unexpected trip this past weekend. I’ve almost finished the second one. I will be starting Leslie Carroll’s ROYAL PAINS: A ROGUES GALLERY OF BRATS, BRUTES, AND BAD SEEDS. and a Louis L’Amour’s THE DAYBREAKERS next.

    When I was working, I had 3 or 4 books going at the same time. Now I tend to read just one at a time. My TBR pile isn’t getting any smaller.

  2. Barbara Britton says:

    Hi Mia,
    I am currently reading Self Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King and An Abundance of Katherines by John Green. Mixing a little work with my leisure.

    1. Mia says:

      The self-editing book sounds very helpful. Once the story is written, revising is the fun part. My problem is silencing my internal editor long enough to get the story out.

  3. Marcy W says:

    I’m currently reading “The Wise Man’s Fear” by Patrick Rothfuss aloud to my husband. It’s the second in what I hope will be a long series; fantasy, but SO well written and imaginative (the first is “The Name of the Wind”). It’s being so good that when another of our drop-everything-to-read-now list, the new Maisie Dobbs by Jaqueline Winspear, arrived last week, we passed it on to another read-aloud couple to enjoy while we finish this nearly-thousand-page tome.
    For my “silent” reading, I’m catching up with Mia on the Deanna Raybourn series I introduced her to … she just ripped through them, but I still have a couple to go. And my non-fiction recently is not as high-tone, but necessary: low-carb cookbooks, as I look for both info and inspiration. I’m just not interested in cooking much these days, but if I don’t I tend to grab easy stuff, which often turns out to be carb-laden, then my blood sugar numbers aren’t what they need to be, then I feel badly about myself … it’s one of those vicious circles I’d like to avoid. I did find a really good carrot-ginger-coconut milk soup slow-cooker recipe last week — maybe I’ll make that again. Great thing about slow-cookers is that it leaves lots of good reading time :-)

    1. Mia Marlowe says:

      Hmmmm… I wonder if that carrot/ginger/coconut milk soup would be good enough to fool the DH into eating something healthy without realizing it. I still need to tick that item off on my bucket list.

  4. Mia Marlowe says:

    Oh! My friend Marcy turned me on to the talented Ms. Raybourn and I burned through her 4 Lady Julia Grey novels in short order. Absolutely delicious writing!

    I’m having trouble imagining Honest Abe skulking about with a wooden stake, but I’m not a vampire fan. I also had difficulty with the idea of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Some things just don’t fit together in my mind.

    But it’s good we don’t all like the same things. Otherwise, you’d all be after my DH! ;-)

  5. Mia, your current five are very diverse! I love to switch back and forth between genres too–different books for different moods.

    I just finished Deanna Raybourn’s SILENT IN THE GRAVE and absolutely loved it. Her writing is lovely, the characters are smart and true to the Victorian era, and the mystery plot is so clever. I have her next two on my shelf already!

    I also have a biography of a 1920s stage star (a gift from my mother-in-law, who knows I really like that time period in history) and a copy of ABRAHAM LINCOLN, VAMPIRE HUNTER, strongly recommended by a friend. I was cracking myself up last night looking at all the pics in there. Who knew John Wilkes Booth was secretly a vampire? :)

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