Lynne Perednia is sysop and book reviewer at CompuServe Books & Writers Community, the oldest continually operating book forum on the net, and a middle school librarian in a Title I school. Her book reviews are archived at Lynne’s Book Notes, and she writes a weekly column on Contemporary Fiction Views at a well-known political website. She is active in the Washington Library Media Association and her local union, and occasionally fleshes out segments of the short story ideas in her chapbook.
Evening reading is a full third of my day and keeps me inspired for the other hours. Reading is a solace and more rejuvenating than half a pot of three-day old coffee, sometimes as bitter but more often a way to look at the day’s challenges from a different perspective and know that there is a greater world out there waiting for all of us to discover. I have tried, but literally cannot sleep in a room without books.
The headboard is a bookcase, and is filled with mysteries (to review or just because) such as The Confession by Charles Todd (set in post WWI Britain as part of a favorite series), The Darkest Room by Johan Theorin (one of the brooding Scandinavian crime authors I adore) and Raylan by Elmore Leonard, and older novels I meant to read or finish earlier, such as Stone Arabia by Dana Spiotta (which, with its theme of memory is proving a good follow-up to Julian Barnes’s The Sense of an Ending), Swamplandia! by Karen Russell (moved closer to the top because of the Pulitzer snub) and Skippy Dies by Paul Murray (which I was enjoying in a mild way but which also was abandoned for a shiny new object, aka another new book).
Also residing there are books by the wisest women I would wish to know, Flannery O’Connor’s collected works, Gilead and Home by Marilynne Robinson and George Eliot’s Middlemarch. These are the books I dip into the way other readers sample the Psalms and other poetry.
An occasional table beside the bed has the most immediate reading, including YA novels to review—The Rock of Ivanore by Laurisa White Reyes, Roddy Doyle’s A Greyhound of a Girl, and Cynthia Leitich Smith’s Diabolical—and the top layer of other books to review. These include A.S. Byatt’s Ragnarok (which I will treat as a companion piece to The Children’s Hour, which was abandoned for some newly arrived shiny object), The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D. by Nichole Bernier, The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq, Gregg Allman’s memoir, My Cross to Bear, Christopher Moore’s Sacre Bleu!, Hari Kunzru’s Gods Without Men and Edward St. Aubyn’s At Last.
The bottom shelf of the table is filled with back issues of The New Yorker, Times Literary Supplement and New York Review of Books that I promise to recycle when read.
And if I ever go through all of these, there are six six-shelf bookcases of double-stacked mysteries in the room.
Do you have more than one stack of TBRs? How do you prioritize your reading?