Books on Our Nightstands, Unedited (Part 1)

by Holly Morse-Ellington

We called upon our editors to share the stacks of reading material on their nightstands with this directive: Please don't edit or weed out guilty pleasure books and beach reads—unless they're REALLY guilty reads. Here’s a compilation of what we’re actually reading, or at least dreaming of reading when the need for sleep wins out over our love of books.

From The Tao of Pooh to The Te of Piglet, with a bit of Oscar Wilde, Mary Carr, Dava Sobel, and George Orwell, this too-high stack reflects my eclectic reading habits—fiction, nonfiction, and children's lit. Some first-reads, some new-reads, some should-reads.           

- Joanne Cavanaugh Simpson


I'm a promiscuous reader. I'm usually in the middle of several books and have a hard time focusing on just one at a time.

 - Lisa Lance 


Like Lisa, I have to confess to some promiscuity. I have a crazy hodge-podge of books by my bedside. The two fattest ones are Biology, The Unity and Diversity of Life by Starr and Taggart and Exploring the Biomedical Revolution by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. I need these for inspiration, for what I unimaginatively call “my science poems.” Other poetry books are After by Jane Hirshfield, Can Poetry Matter? by Dana Gioia, and Words Under the Words, by Naomi Shihab Nye. And then there are the Collected Stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Annie Dillard Reader, and Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams. No novels, and very little fiction these days. I’m really into creative nonfiction and poetry, but that’ll change as I vacillate between my lovers.

 - Lalita Noronha

I'm halfway through several of these. If there's a common theme here, I guess it would be characters and people who live on the fringe of their world. Give me tales of outsiders and underdogs and I’m in love.

- Holly Morse-Ellington



It’s a relief to hear that others are halfway through many. What's depressing is the dust. There’s no common theme in this stack other than reader AADD, though The Shakespeare Wars has turned out to be remarkably much fun, the Le Carre is surprisingly awkwardly written, and I am determined to get through something by Peter Ackroyd (though he may defeat me again).

 - Lynn Stansbury


“How Fiction Works” by James Wood - looks like an interesting one. Going to check it out. Thanks.

- R. F. Grant

By R. F. Grant on Aug 18 2015