The bedside table blog

Cover of The Other HandWhat’s on your bedside table right now?

I ask because bedside tables and their offerings are the new profiling tool, their little worlds in microcosm giving us copious info about who we are, who we want to be and who we should be dating.

In Enough Said, the last film ever made by James Gandolfini and starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus,  Albert’s marriage breaks up partly because he has no bedside tables. When his ex discovers this she says:

Metaphorically speaking, he’s not
building a life for himself.
I mean, who would date
a person like that?

Cover of The Tao of PoohIn The End of Your Life Bookclub, when Will Schwalbe looks round the bedroom of his dying mother, whose bedside table and the floor (every surface actually) is covered with books, he asks himself how much bleaker the room would look had his mother’s night table supported a lone Kindle.

And in the September/October edition of the ever trendy Frankie magazine, five young artists have been commissioned to draw their bedside tables. Way to go, Frankie!

What about my bedside tables at home? My little bedside world currently has  three books stacked on it:

  • The Other Hand by Chris Cleave – this book is also sold under the title Little Bee and has been very popular in my Book Club. I love this book, it makes me want to speak in Jamaican patois. If you click on the link you will get the idea of the storyline.
  • Cover of The Sound of a Snail Eating There’s also The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. This is an unusual, quietly meditative book in which you will learn a lot (more than may be desirable, to be frank) about a little forest snail.
  • And The Tao of Pooh, which is my go-to book on those mornings when I can barely face the cone infested drive to a far-flung outpost of Library Land to get to a library that may or may not have stocked up on the full cream milk I require for my first cup of coffee.

In the parallel universe on the other side of the bed, my husband’s bedside table sports:

Italian Grammar for Dummies – bedtime discourse on the use of the subjunctive in Italian has entirely replaced any need for sedatives in our little world.

There’s also A History of Opera and a lone fiction work, The Panther, which he started reading seventeen months ago and hopes to complete when we travel again at the end of this year. I have to dust that book – often, and each time I wonder how on earth he is managing to remember the storyline.

How about you? Got any bedside books worth sharing?

11 thoughts on “The bedside table blog

  1. Robyn 25 September 2014 / 3:25 pm

    The Other Side of the Bridge by Mary Lawson. A book club choice. Not by me.Do we ever get a book that was chosen by me? it seems not. I am not bitter.
    Never Stop to Think Do I Have a Place for This? by Mary Randolph Carter. An enabler in book form. I can go to sleep with a clear conscience and continue my pursuit of the last three Little Shop miniatures.
    Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. A Playaway for when I can’t go to sleep but a less than soothing listen. What will happen to New Zealand if everyone in America buys local produce?

  2. robertafsmith 25 September 2014 / 5:22 pm

    Ah Robyn, you are ever a source of interesting sounding reads. I actually own Animal Vegetable Mineral because I like Kingsolver’s writing. But I never read it, moving straight on to Flight Behaviour, which I love. Why did I buy it when I could have borrowed it from the library? Honestly I do not know.

  3. Allison Broster 25 September 2014 / 9:38 pm

    Ok, Roberta, you asked for it! Confession time, then. On my bedside table currently are the Patricia Cornwell (doesn’t matter which, how could you tell them apart anyway) that I persuaded myself would be an indulgent public holiday let-everything-go read. When will I ever learn?! Next to it is The Blazing World by Siri Hustvedt about a woman artist adopting a male persona to get recognised in the art world. Loved it intermittently and then got tired of the constant change of perspective. And then there’s my new love, Proust. I promise. It’s like being led along a tightrope where you mustn’t look down or you’ll lose the thread of the page-long sentence. Addictive!

    • robertafsmith 27 September 2014 / 8:37 am

      This is impressive – whatever would Pooh have to say about that! Now, make my day, are you reading Proust in French or in translation?

      • Allison Broster 27 September 2014 / 8:29 pm

        Ah, you catch me out. I now confess that I’m reading Un Amour de Swann in French.

  4. purplerulz 26 September 2014 / 12:04 pm

    it is sad as presently there is; a box of tissues, a bottle of water and the charger for my phone…I am in a prolonged non-reading idea why, so there isn’t a single book to be found on my bedside cabinet!

    • robertafsmith 27 September 2014 / 8:38 am

      Yes, but all your musical cylinders are firing ….. I believe?

  5. Bibliobishi 27 September 2014 / 2:31 pm

    The usual stack that have been there, half read for several years. I tell myself I will come back and finish them. Janet Luke’s Backyard Bounty is responsible for my currently plotting how to fit in three chooks (or failing that Quail) somewhere on our townhouse section thats not already under a raised bed. Also Curious Words and Phrases, Max Cryer for those “Oh so thats where that expression comes from” moments. This weeks Listener for the articles of course.

  6. Ansa Liebenberg 30 September 2014 / 8:59 pm

    The best, best part of the blog is the reference to “The End of Your Life Book Club”… what would the bedside table look like with only a lone kindle… boring, boring! Book people are touch and feel people and wants to feel a kindle curled up in bed? Well, not me! My bedside table extends to the floor: a heap of gardening cut-outs, some “must-read-more-about…” articles of random content ranging from curriculum things to travel to food and writers…and yes, a bottle of water, pens, radio, an odd selection of books and journals… that is now in Joburg. In Durban, I lead a gypsy life and have many bedside tables, some shared with grand kids, toys, crayons, their drawings and art that they keep for ouma, books I think I’ll get time to read when “at home”…oh, and the reading glasses!! There is a whole book to be done with lots and lots of pictures on bedside tables… and yes, in the movie “Enough Said” I thought that I could really not be with the man with nothing next to the bed…

    • robertafsmith 1 October 2014 / 11:03 am

      I LOVE that your Durban gypsy life still involves bedside tables. I remember my art student days with a mattress on the floor, what I can’t remember is what did I do for bedside tables?

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