Thursday, March 09, 2006

On My Nightstand....

...or the computer desk, on the top of the bookcase by the door, the kitchen table, and the windowsill in the bathroom are books I'm reading or have just finished reading or thinking about reading or need for some other reason.

I stole this idea whole hog from Mental Multivitamin, who explains her monthly (more or less) "On My Nightstand" posts like this:

I will discuss only what is on my nightstand, under my pillow, in my knapsack, on my desk, under the car seat, etc. right now, today. As before, then, it's not the month in review, just a snapshot of one day's worth of books in various angles of repose -- being read, waiting to be read, being evaluated, being rejected. And again, I'll turn to page seventeen of each of the books, locate the fifth complete sentence on that page, and include it (or its reasonable approximation) with the title, author, and brief note on how it ended up on the stack.

I love peeking at what other people are reading, and thought I'd reciprocate and see what insights pop up from the fifth sentence of the seventeenth pages of:

Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood, by Steven Mintz:

Children suffered burns from candles or open hearths, fell into rivers and wells, ingested poisons, broke bones, swallowed pins, and stuffed nutshells up their noses.

This book was mentioned on a Mothers & More e-mail loop that I'm on - I saw this review, read some articles on the history of private life by Steven Mintz, and was hooked. I must have my own copy of this book. Go read it, it's amazing.


From Ordinary Wolves, by Seth Kantner:

He was all that, and had black hair - things that I thought should come to him with smiles.

I ran across this by accident on my library's online catalogue. Now I can't even remember what I went looking for. Just finished it, loved it, another one I must buy.


From The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined Women, by Susan J. Douglas and Meredith W. Michaels:

The following summer, under the headline "PREGNANT AT LAST!" we had the pleasure of reading about the sperm motility rate of Celine Dion's husband, information that some of us, at least, could have lived without.

I'm supposed to lead a discussion of this book after we watch a video of the author at an upcoming meeting of my local Mothers & More group. Guess I'd better re-read it. I recommend it, but not without a few reservations. I should do a blog review. Maybe after the meeting.


From Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides:

For the first minute, the spoon didn't move at all.

Everyone keeps telling me to read this, and I have a copy that I got for 75 cents. I'm going to read it soon. Really.


From Garbage Land: On The Secret Trail of Trash, by Elizabeth Royte:

I tried to write on both sides, then recycled the larger pieces.

I pulled this off the new release shelf at my library. Looks interesting.


From 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Charles C. Mann:

Deloria is the author of many books, including Red Earth, White Lies, a critique of mainstream archaeology.

I read most of this last fall, and just need to finish the last few chapters. Since Mann popularizes a lot of the ideas and work that I studied or did myself as an archaeologist, I read it very critically (checking all the endnotes), and I'm pretty impressed with how well he presents the material. I'm a little dismayed at how many reviewers are just blown away by this book, though. Obviously archaeologists themselves are doing a piss poor job of making their work accessible to the public.


From Dark Road Home, by Karen Harper:

As the tape went on to the next dance, the four young people frowned as they concentrated on the more complicated Tush Push steps.

I enjoy a lot of popular books, like mysteries and romances, for relaxing reading, and got this one for free (minus postage) on Paperbackswap. I've never read anything by Harper, but this mystery set in the Amish country in Ohio looks promising. The writing isn't terribly impressive, but after reading Ordinary Wolves, my standards are much higher than usual.


Jennifer (ponderosa) said...

Oh, I've been dying to read 1491. When can I expect your review? : )

Can you believe I made it through four years of Ivy League college w/o hearing about the mound-builders of the midwest? In my mid-20s a work colleague lent me Roger Kennedy's "Hidden Cities" and it completely changed my thoughts about American history & the natural history of this continent. I kept saying, "Why didn't I know this? Why did no one teach me this?"

Sandy said...

Don't wait for my review, go read it right now :-)

If you want a really mind-blowing experience, visit Cahokia Mds. State Park near E. St. Louis. Their museum is very good, and climbing Monk's Mound and looking out over the plaza is very cool. I should do a blog about Cahokia.

Devra said...

Where is my book? wahhhhh! ;)

Devra said...

oops, also must add recommendation for the Cahokia Mounds! We used to live very close to them. Middlesex is also on my nightstand.