Andrea Miles is a graduate of the Master’s of Professional Writing program at the University of Southern California. Her debut novel, Trespassers, will be published in October 2014. Originally from a small town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, she lives in Birmingham, AL with her husband, three sons and one old cat. She can be found on her website, on Facebook, and on Twitter.
Usually the books on my nightstand can be separated into four categories: books chosen for my role as mother, as homeschooler, as reader, as writer. This makes for a pretty crowded area and a precarious jumping off point for my cat in the middle of the night, but I refuse to shelve a book on the overflowing and, I admit, alphabetically organized bookshelves until I have read it.
But here are the current titles occupying the space, in random order:
The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander — I recently joined a book club and this book is February’s assigned reading. I was never a huge fan of history so it is a book I probably never would’ve picked up. But I’m really enjoying it. (I think homeschooling my children has helped me appreciate that history can be fascinating and not boring.)
The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison — This is actually my husband’s book, a Christmas gift from me. But here’s a little secret: I gave it to him hoping he’d just give it to me and buy the e-book for himself. I love the way the story unfolds, love the pacing of the details revealing the tragedy that derailed the narrator’s life. I wouldn’t have thought to write it that way, which is why it would have been a lesser book had I written it.
Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro — I’m kind of funny about books. I don’t like to bend the pages or mark them up, but less than halfway through reading this I had to break out the highlighter all because of the sentence: “No writer I know is confident in her work.” Really? Also, does anyone know where I can get a chaise lounge like the one Dani mentions?
A Mouthful of Air by Amy Koppelman — This is one of those books that appear effortless in the writing and it took my breath away. So I’m rereading it with the hope that some of that magic will soak into my subconscious.
Red Sails to Capri by Ann Weil — I’m reading this to my oldest son, who is in the second grade. We are both enjoying the story and I love reading it aloud. I’m pretty sure my Italian accent is getting better each day! This past year I’ve noticed my son’s understanding of sarcasm and inside jokes really take off so it’s been fun to laugh with him as we experience the subtle humor within this book.
Girls Like Us: Fighting for a World Where Girls Are Not For Sale: A Memoir by Rachel Lloyd — I’m actually working on a novel about trafficking so this is one of several books I’m reading for research.
Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin — As the mother of three boys under the age of eight, this one will probably be on my nightstand for a long time.
The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald by F. Scott Fitzgerald — I’ve never been one to write short stories, preferring the longer length of novels, but lately I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a book of short stories. Maybe some of Fitzgerald’s finesse will rub off on me. Or maybe not.
The Bible — I must admit I don’t often open this book because I have a convenient app, but I love the delicateness of the silver-tipped pages.
Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett — My best friend gave me this book many years ago. She’d written a note inside about our friendship being one that will last the test of time. (I love when people give me books, especially when they write something inside about why they chose it for me!) I haven’t seen her in probably a year and when I was browsing my shelves, I thought of her and decided to reread it.
Which categories do your books fit into?