On My Nightstand

It takes a while for the pile to change, but this week I realized that it was almost all new stuff since my last "On My Nightstand" post. So, here we go:

Family Journal - A few months ago, I had a bee in my bonnet to start a family journal. I keep a personal journal that sometimes captures the day to day life of our family, but more often captures dreams, frustrations, and deep thoughts. I thought it might be fun to have a record of our family life. So, I bought a journal from Levenger and started writing in it from time to time (lately it has been less and less frequent). It is full of nothing much: "Today we went to the library" or "Read creation myths for bedtime book."

The Kitchen Detective by Christopher Kimball - Those of you who know Cook's Illustrated magazine will recognize Mr. Kimball as the magazine's editor. I was over at my friend S's house, reading her copy of Cook's, and mentioned how much I've always enjoyed Christopher Kimball's writing in the magazine. Oh, she said, then you should read this, and handed me the book. It is fully of meticulously researched recipes (and methods, and tips) for home-cooked meals that actually seem doable (example: his recipe for homemade chicken stock takes about 20 minutes, instead of all day). I have enjoyed reading it so far. But, being the good-enough mother that I am who has mostly scraped together leftovers and almost-meals for the last week, I have not actually tried any of the recipes yet.

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare - My high school English teacher always called Shakespeare "Billy Boy." Now I can't see or hear a Shakespeare title without thinking "Billy Boy." Anyway, I figured midsummer is a good time to revisit this one, as long as I also have the....

...Cliffs Notes to A Midsummer Night's Dream nearby. No, I still cannot get through Shakespeare without assistance. What I usually do, working section by section, is to read the Cliffs Notes first, then move on to the actual text. By the way, I recently discovered that Cliffs Notes are now available online for free; but I find I work better from words on the page, and so prefer the old-fashioned paper versions.

My journal - as always.

A Wedding in December by Anita Shreve - I have enjoyed many of Anita Shreve's novels, especially The Last Time They Met and Fortune's Rocks, so I thought I'd try a more recent one. So far, I am not crazy about this one, but I'll probably finish it anyway.

The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton - It seems almost a cliche to like Anne Sexton, but I really do love her work. I also love the foreword written by Ms. Sexton's friend and colleague, poet Maxine Kumin. Whether or not you like Anne Sexton's poetry, which many have criticized for being too confessional, I think her use of language, form, and rhyme is almost always fresh, interesting, and unexpected (this may be truest for her earlier work; less true for her later work). Regardless, I find that when my own writing needs some freshening, studying Anne Sexton's work seems to help. So, after several years of checking it out of the library a few times a year, last week I splurged and bought my very own copy! It's very exciting to finally own it.

We Were In Auschwitz by 6643 (Janusz Nel Siedlecki), 75817 (Krystyn Olszewski) and 119198 (Tadeusz Borowski) - Well. This book is extremely gripping, as I'm sure you can easily imagine. It was copyrighted in 1946. Auschwitz was liberated on January 27, 1945, so these three individuals wasted no time in writing about their harrowing experiences inside the prison camp. Makes me feel kind of wimpy for having a hard time writing on my experience of chronic illness. I am always just astounded by the fact that SIX MILLION or more people lost their lives in the ethnic cleansing orchestrated by Hitler.

Walden and Other Writings by Henry David Thoreau - An old stand-by for me. Comfort reading. Not sure why.

My little blue book used for catching little scraps of poems in the middle of the night.


A framed prayer card of Our Lady of Sorrows
A photo of My Sweetie
Cuticle cream that smells like lemon and beeswax
Foot cream - because, how old am I anyway? My feet look terrible.

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