Waiting Room of Books

My dear friend Eleanor, who blogs at Stitches and Seeds, wrote a wonderfully delightful post late last year about her ‘waiting room of books’ – or more commonly referred to as the pile of books we all have sitting beside our bed patiently waiting their turn to be read. Eleanor introduced us to each of her books as if they are friends and explained why they are hanging out in the waiting room – it made for a charming read, and I’m now going to steal her idea!

So, without further ado here is my current waiting room …

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Let us start at one end …

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My Prudent Advice: Bought for me by mother right before I became a mother, she is a beautiful book in which I’m suppose to write my own ‘prudent advice’ on different subject matters for my own daughter to read when she is of age. As soon as I find my ‘prudent advice’ I will endeavor to fill her out!

The Tilted World: One of my most favourite reads in the last couple of years has been Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin and so I went out to find more of his work. I ordered Tilted World simply cause she is written by Tom – I want to get to her soon and lose my self in the beautiful language that I know she has within.

The Selected Levis: Poetry is the cool, artistic kid who is effortlessly gorgeous in an oversized Nirvana T, ripped jeans, and a slouch-hat even though it is sunny and 70F. She is the kid I’ve always wanted to hang out with but never felt creative enough. She is my girl crush. I’ve been taking tentative steps to introduce myself to her – forced to by her being required reading – and it is going ok. But, baby steps. I’ll keep flickering through Selected Levis to read her from one of the greats, and hope that by the end we’ll be firm friends & some of her artistic mojo will rub off on me!

The Silver Linings: Bought for $1 at the library sale, she has been lurking in the waiting room for a while now. She seems quiet content just kicking it, patiently waiting her turn. I suspect she is going to have to wait for a while yet cause if I’m honest she was only bought cause she was $1, and I’m not sure how committed I am to actually reading her.

Seating Arrangements: I throughly enjoyed Seating Arrangements’ sister, Astonish Me, largely because she is set in the world of professional ballet and once upon a time I had, extremely unrealistic, aspirations to be a ballerina (and perhaps rather embarrassingly I had aspirations when I was much older than the typical three-year-old girl). I have started Seating Arrangements and I’m afraid she didn’t capture me straight-away, but I have hope that she will when I give her another chance.

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Beautiful Ruins: Bought her when she was highly recommended by a very learned friend on Facebook AND she is partly set in the Edinburgh Fringe – which is extremely dear to my heart. I got half way through her, and I was loving her, but I dwindled in my commitment and she remains only half read. I will return to her soon – she won’t be in the lounge for too much longer.

Moth Smoke: Her author wrote one of those books that I’ve not been able to forget since I read it, The Reluctant Fundamentalist, and I picked her up as I wanted to see what else her author could offer me. I hate to say but, she is another book that has been half read then popped back into the waiting room – she wasn’t ‘bad’ but she wasn’t her sister either and I couldn’t quite get over my expectations for her. Perhaps when I’ve distanced myself from her sister a little more I can have a truer relationship with her.

Straight Man & That Old Cape Magic: These sisters were bought when I discovered their author was heading to my university to give a talk. I try to at least read some of the work of the authors I go to see speak, so I hopped on the intertubes and ordered this pair (cause if you haven’t realized by now, I am incapable of buying one book if I can buy two.) My toddler got sick and so, in the end, I wasn’t able to go hear their author speak, and these two remained untouched. Straight Man has been highly recommend to me by someone who is much better read than I, so I will get to her … but her sister … I fear she might be relegated from the waiting room to the living room bookshelves soon, and returned to in a few years time.

The no-cry sleep solution: I have a three-year old. She is like me – she likes ‘company’ when she is drifting off to sleep. I have crap I need to do so can’t sit for hours while she winds down. She is now ‘going to sleep like a big girl’ by herself but if I had taken this gal out of the waiting room and actually read her, perhaps we would have got to this point a couple of years ago!!!

The Falling Sky: This lady’s author has a similar path to me – PhD astronomer who left research to undertake her creative writing degree – except Pippa is further down the path and is a fully-fledged, published author. Falling Sky is a novel set in the world of the professional astronomy, which makes her pretty unusual. I’m excited to get time to sit with her and get to know both her, and her author, better.

The Clean House & other plays: My dear friend & neighbour, Brooke, has a ‘little free library’, and one Sunday morning I found this gem sitting waiting for me – as if it were fate. I’ve read Clean House but she is still in the waiting room as I need to find the time to read the other plays she has to offer. Soon though.

In the Time of Butterflies: A year or so ago I read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in which the legend of the Mirabal sisters of the Dominican Republic make a cameo appearance. Their story stuck with me and led me to discovering Butterflies – in which her author tells the tale of the ill-fated sisters. I’ve read so many wonderful reviews of her, I’m eager to get to her.

Are We Lucky Yet: A collection of short stories written by my professor/friend/mentor Jane Bradley. This little book really should be promoted from the waiting room to the bedside table – she will be a wonderful little respite from this semester’s required reading. Off to do that now!

Americanah: I fell in love with Americanah’s author when I read her debut novel, Purple Hibiscus. Americanah sings to me as it features an immigrant on American soil. I want to read her, I really do, but she 608 pages long – she is a commitment and I’ve yet to muster up the resolve – once I start her I won’t want to stop.

Things Fall Apart: Bought when I read an interview with Adichie and learned the author, a fellow Nigerian, had inspired Adichie to write. Things Fall Apart is on my hit list – she isn’t just loitering – she has places to go and she’ll be moving soon.

Faulks on Fiction: Sebastian Faulks – author extraordinaire – wrote this gem which has the subtitle: Great British Characters and the Secret Life of the Novel … doesn’t that just make her sound amazing? She has been lurking for a while but once I’ve cleared some other non-fiction that is on my bedside table she’ll be coming to join me for some bedtime sojourns.

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Salvation on Sand Mountain: She is required reading for my non-fiction workshop, and just between you and me, she isn’t a book I would have picked up under my own steam. But, she and I powered through 120 pages yesterday, and I’m hooked. My knowledge of snake-handling churches of the American south is increasing in leaps and bounds!

Caucasia: Another required reading, but this time I would have certainly picked her up if I were to have meet her randomly in the book store. Getting started on her tonight – can’t wait.

White Boy Shuffle: The last required reading for my African-American lit class, but as it would happen White Boy has been lurking on the living room book shelves for many years – untouched and unloved. Now is her time! Well, after Caucasia and three other books that I have to finish first!

Down By the River: The last required reading for my non-fiction workshop – again, not sure I would have had a meaningful encounter with her if she wasn’t on my ‘must buy for class’ list – time will tell if she and I get on, or not.

Instructions for a Heatwave: The other week I was having a rubbishy day and I had a 20% voucher for Barnes & Noble in hand – so in order to cheer myself up a little I went on a on-line shopping sesh – but not before I asked a couple of super-duper-reading-girlfriends what to buy. This little lady was what was recommended in record fast time. Looking forward to curling up with her soon.

Sunset Song: Along with my aforementioned super-duper-reading-girlfriends, I am undertaking a reading challenge this year which involves checking off books that fall into certain categories. One such category is ‘should have read at school’ – Sunset Song is the book I’ve picked for this. It’s not like I was suppose to read her in English Higher class but got lazy – instead she was a book that other classes were assigned but mine wasn’t. She is from a different era so may not be the quickest of reads, but I’m so looking forward to immersing myself in my home again, and reveling in all that I miss.

Between the World and Me: Desperate to read this gal but waiting for the perfect day where I can clear enough of my ‘stuff’ (and by stuff I mean daughter and husband!) out of the way and read her in one sitting.

Station Eleven: I have heard so many, many wonderful things about this book and I’m so eager to read her – in fact so eager to read her that I borrowed her donkey’s ages ago from a friend. And I’m not paying empty lip-service when I say I want to read her, I really do but you see, she is a hardback and every time I go to extract her from the waiting room and set her beside my bed I look at her longingly then think “but I’m going to have to hold her up.” Lame, I know. Utterly pathetic, even.

On Writing: I’m not a Stephen King fan per se, indeed, there is a high chance I’ve never read an entire book by him, but this book was recommended by a creative writing prof for all the great tips and hints contained in her. We’ve had a good few conversations – I just need to pour us a glass of wine one night, and finish up a few loose ends that we need to chat about.

Phew – did you make it all the way through with me? I’m equal parts impressed with your staying power and thinking you need to get out more! Seriously though, thank you for letting me introduce my waiting room of books to you. They are all loved books and will, one day, make it to the ‘read’ pile. But for now, I should probably buy some comfy seats for these ladies as some of them might have a bit of a wait yet …

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… and the current, actively reading pile!

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