So Many Books, So Little Time

This is the table by my bed right now. This precarious tower of books are just the ones I am actively working on right now. There are many more piled on the shelves underneath. I think this is the worst it has ever been. I love to read, but I am finding it so difficult right now. I am clearly having a bit of literary ADD. I also suffer from an annoying loyalty that makes me finish every book I have ever started, even if I don't like it. Which really means I just get stuck in the middle of too many books and then end up overwhelmed and reading a magazine instead. Hence, my list:
Midnight's Children - This was a book club selection that I didn't finish. I have been a very bad pupil in book club this season. I am only halfway through. I really want to finish it, but once the story shifted to mindreading and other fantastical elements, I started feeling like I was trapped in a very cerebral episode of LOST. With much better writing. Yet still annoying.

Three Cups of Tea - I've not started this one, but I really want to. It's an inspirational story about a man who tries to address poverty and education in Pakistan.

Dance of the Dissident Daughter - This is a memoir from Sue Monk Kidd about losing her religion, and finding it again. I think I've read half a chapter. It sounds so interesting, but for some reason I can't motivate.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close - This is a great book that I'm looking forward to finishing. It's a really poignant tale about a young boy who is trying to find out more about his recently deceased father. I set it aside to finish our current book club selection, and now it's been a few weeks. I'm worried that I'm gonna have to do some back-reading to remember everything that is going on. So I just keep thinking that I need to finish it, and don't.

Nickel and Dimed: On Not Getting By in America - this is a memoir about the difficult economic conditions for the poor in American and how keruw0ortueirkjdvnw,EK RJWOERGJEFDKXVMCFNDJlksjdflskjfpwaejfrq poiefjvdcvlkx kadsfjlksgfhksdvfjsldkjfawsfldkjarelkwsfdjlkjlkea wjf;lekrjoelkrfdvlkszdjflskdjflskdfjlskdjfksdf

***Oh, I'm sorry. I just fell asleep at my keyboard. Not because it's a bad book. But because apparently, if there is not a muscular, fair-skinned vampire involved, I can't stay awake.***

What Everyone Should Know about Islam and Muslims - I can't remember where I picked this up, but I'm really interested to read it. I think that it's so important to know the truth behind this misunderstood religion, and seperate the faith from the fanatics. I'm actually finding the true tenets of Islam to be very much in line with Christianity. Clearly, a crazy few have distorted this religion into something feared. I can't imagine how I would feel if my own religion was misrepresented by a couple of outspoken lunatics. (Oh wait, yes I can).

The Brothers K - this received great reviews, and I was excited to read it. I was also thinking, for some reason, that the name was maybe a throwback to Dostoyevsky's classic, which is one of my favorites. I'm halfway through, and so far, no paralles to the Karamosov bros that I can find, but lots and lots of baseball references. Have I mentioned they talk about baseball A LOT? Yeah, no thanks.

How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents - Okay, I actually finished this one. I had high hopes but I was underwhelmed. This author is one of my favorites, and I love reading about the historial and cultural aspects of the Domincan Republic. But this didn't feel like a cohesive story, and the story and characters were too fragmented. I
The Book Thief - I actually finished this last night!! It was a great read, and easy, too. Although technically it is considered young adult fiction. So, maybe I shouldn't be bragging that of my entire list, this is the one I was able to tackle. . . .

Waiting for Snow in Havana - a historical and sociopolitical memoir about growing up in Cuba. All the elements I like in a book. Haven't even started.

Inside Transracial Adoption - I've been "working" on this book for three years now. I've pretty well skimmed the whole thing, but there are chapters I want to go back to now that some of the issues are more of a reality.

Look Me In The Eye - this is a memoir by Augusten Burrough's brother. Augusten is one of my favorite writers, and their childhood story is fascinating. This is written by his older brother, who has Asperger's Disorder. I thought it would be fascinating to read about an adult's perspective of this unique condition, but I think I was also hoping for some of Augusten's razor-sharp wit and social commentary. You know, because people with Asperger's are known for their sarcasm and social observation. Hello?? Why would I expect that?

Everything is Illuminated - maybe it's because I just read Safran's other novel, and his wife Nicole Krauss's first book, but I became bored with this one pretty quickly. What seemed so quirky and ingenious about these other two books now seems a bit gimmicky and a little too precious in this one. I wanted to like this book, too. I'm about 3/4 of the way done and I'm feeling doubtful I will actually finish.
Blindness - it was my goal to read this before the movie came out in theatres. I think it's already on DVD. Oops.

The Foreskin's Lament - okay, this is not in the picture above, because it just arrived. I am already about half-way through and I am loving it. It is putting all the other books on the back burner for now. It's a hysterical and poignant memoir of a man who was raised as an Orthodox Jew, and who is having a crisis of faith as an adult. It reads like David Sedaris, but with more existential angst. I think this author may just be more neurotic than I am. Which I'm finding very, very enjoyable.

So . . . what's on your nighstand? Any books you can't put down? Any books you are struggling to finish?
P.S. when I did a google image search to find a photo of the Foreskin's Lament, it came up with some, ahem, interesting images. Would not recommend googling that word combo.


  1. Well, my nightstand still looks like yours. But I just bought the new Kindle 2.0 for my birthday (w/ the fancy Oberon leather cover) and am absolutely addicted to it. My thumbs are a little sore from "clicking pages". I'm of an age where I need reading glasses, but they still give me headaches. With the Kindle, I just change the font size. I also like to carry a stack of books with me everywhere and read whatever I'm in the mood for. I can't tell you how much I love this stupid thing.
    BTW, I read Waiting for Snow in Havana and really liked it. I like David Sedaris too, so I'm going to download Foreskin's Lament. Right now I'm reading American Eve, also good. Got about 1/2 way through three Cups of Tea and just havent' finished it yet. I think you'll like it.


  2. Oh, and the best part, anything over 70 years old doesn't have copyright restrictions, so you can download most of the classics for free off the internet.

  3. Oh Kristen. We are book soul mates. I, too, have a nightstand full of half-finished books, a nasty habit that started when I was pregnant. I, too, apparently am now fundamentally incapable of finishing a book without a fair-skinned vampire. AND I, too, have an irrational need to finish every book I start no matter what. Lately I seem to get stuck in the middle (or, sometimes, the beginning) of the cerebral books I've always loved and move on to Entertainment Weekly or some young adult fluff novel.

    Current nightstand holdings:
    The Satanic Verses, Death by Church, 50 Great Short Stories, 100 Most Loved Poems, Oxford Book of English Poetry, Complete Works of George Herbert, Emma Brown, Your Baby's First Year Week by Week, What to Expect Your Baby's First Year, The Complete Idiot's Guide to World History, A People's History of the United States, and Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf. I also just recently put Connecticut Yankee back into the bookshelf for another day. I do not, however, feel like finishing any of these books right now. I might read The Otherworldlies (stupid YA book) instead. Eclectic much?

  4. I have read THREE CUPS OF TEA - liked it. kidna slow for me in the beginning, but good book overall. i recommend it to friends.

    EXTREMELY LOUD ... Aaron read it and loved it!

    NICKLE and DIMEd ... enjoyed it lots.

    FORESKIN book ... aaron read it and loved it!

    i just finished BECOMING A FAMILY about attachment with int adoptions - it was good, but very worst case scenerio type of book.

    i just finished CHARLOTTE'S WEB with the kids ... does that count as a book for me?

    okay i'm having a party in a few weeks called THE GREAT BOOK EXCHANGE OF 2009 - cheesy, right??!!

    you bring a book you love wrapped and we have a book exchange. everyone gets a new book and we enjoy girl time with food and wine. what fun!

    I think i'm about to tackle the #3 book in the twilight series ... i made myself finish this attachment book before i could move on.

    on my nightstand are MINISTRIES OF MERCY by Tim Keller and THE STRONG WILLED CHILD by James Dobson. :)
    both about half way through!

  5. My nightstand is book free but my MP3 is full with books just waiting for me to "listen" to. I listen in the car, while I'm cleaning house, grocery shopping. I could not live without my Insigna that I got from Best Buy. It is fabulous. It holds several books at one time and I feel like I am accomplishing a lot by "reading / listening" while doing my other jobs when the kids are at school, etc. And the best part is I can download the books for FREE from my local library. Its a win/win situation. And I have an adaptor for my car to plug my Insigna into so that I'm headphone free and safe while driving or can play kid books for Blaek and Rachel when they are with me.

  6. My nightstand...

    Bono;in conversation with Michka Assayas (barely started it)

    Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult (barely started it)

    Jesus for President by Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw (barely started it)

    Plan B;more thoughts on faith by Anne Lamott (she rocks)

    Obviously I just keep starting things and not fully reading them quickly.

    I love it that you read like mad. (:

  7. Most amazing book I've read this year - by far - "Same Kind of Different As Me" by Denver Moore and Ron Hall. Ridiculously beautiful and challenging, laughter and tears, remarkable story, quick read. And insiders tip - they're gonna make a movie with Samuel L. Jackson...


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