Doug reports on his overburdened nightstand: Lucius Shepard’s The Jaguar Hunter; Nabokov’s Ada; The Ascent of Money by Niall Ferguson; Kafka, The Collected Stories (Everyman’s Library from Knopf—Love that sewn-in, satin-ribbon bookmark); The Story of My Life by Clarence Darrow; David Ferry’s wonderful translation of The Odes of Horace; The Vintage Book of Contemporary American Short Stories—some fine stories here from Workshop folks. About Ron Hansen’s “Wickedness,” all I can say is “Wow.”
So a preponderance of short fiction. The more good short stories I read, the harder it is for me to remember why the novel is considered “better” or “more serious” or anything else other than simply longer and different.
Then there’s the nightstand ephemera, which flit through like the ectoplasmic insects in time-lapse segments of nature films: The New Yorker.
But there is more: Candide, The Confessions of St. Augustine, The Good Soldier, seven or so volumes by Ambrose Bierce, some Kipling, most of Shaw’s plays, several volumes of Twain, Burton’s translation of The Book of the Thousand Nights and a Night (all 16 volumes), Sean Carroll’s From Eternity to Here, a couple of Baum’s Oz stories, The Federalist Papers, some Chandler, including The Long Goodbye, and The Simple Art of Murder. To keep Chandler company, Hammett’s Red Harvest. And Dickens—pretty much all of Dickens. Plays by Euripides and Aristophanes, Aeschylus and Sophocles. History according to David Kennedy as well as Thucydides, Plutarch, Dio, and Herodotus. Some Hawthorne, and Conan Doyle, and Conrad, with Verloc rubbing shoulders with A Perfect Spy. And on and on.
Well, yes, I have an eBook reader. Everything in the last paragraph is just bits and bytes—some purchased, some out-of-copyright and downloaded free. More about my adventures in a post-Gutenberg wonderland in my next blog post.