Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What's on My Nightstand -- July

What's On Your Nightstand

I'm so happy to be participating in the first monthly "What's on Your Nightstand?" If you'd like to join in (either by linking up your own post, or just reading others' posts), click on over HERE.

I have to say that I'm a bit of an erratic reader. I am often reading more than one book at a time, and often leave perfectly good books unfinished in order to dip into another one. The deadlines that have been imposed upon me by my online reviewing gig(s) have made this worse.

So--I rounded up the books from my "nightstand" so that I could share them with you (in reality they were in a bookbag, on a bookshelf that I reserve for my to-be-reads, on another bookshelf in my bedroom where I park books that I hope to get to very soon, and in a magazine rack that I recently put beside my bed to avoid irritating my husband with the piles of books beside my bed, on the chest beside my bed and under my bed). For me, that means sharing what's in progress, and those juicy books enticing me to be read very very soon. You might deal with books in a normal one- or two-at-a-time fashion, and that's fine, too.

The Condition by Jennifer Haigh

I'm over halfway through this book now (it's a thick book, weighing in at 400 pages), and I'm really enjoying it. It's a well-written, character-driven, literary type novel. I haven't read that type of book in a while, so I'm really enjoying it. If you like books that give you a peek into the reality of family dynamics, you might want to check it out. Gwen is a 34-year-old adult who lives with Turner's Syndrome, which causes her to look a bit like an 11-year-old boy. The stress of her diagnosis precipitates her parents divorce. Her parents are dealing with the reality that they are getting older. Other "real" themes include ADD, tension and temptation in marriage, homosexuality, loneliness, and self-discovery. It's not depressing, but it is real. It's the kind of book that some people love, and others avoid. I don't like this kind of novel to be the only thing on my nightstand, but I am enjoying this one.

The Mercy Rule by Perri Klass

As I mentioned in my Bloggy Giveaways post yesterday (and if you click over, you can enter to win it and $100 worth of other stuff), I was drawn to this book because of the author. I read a memoir she wrote with her mother, Every Mother is a Daughter, and absolutely fell in love. When I saw that she had a new book out, I knew that I wanted to review it. In my weird reading fashion, I have read the first chapter of this one, and will finish it after I finish The Condition. A full review will be posted on 5 Minutes for Books.

Slummy Mummy by Fiona Neill

I'm halfway through this one, too. It's a review copy that was described to me as "a laugh-out-loud book on modern motherhood" and being "in the style of Bridget Jones." It is clever, and I have chuckled, but I am finding it to be much more insightful and thought-provoking than that blurb promised. A full review will be posted on 5 Minutes for Books.

Harry Potter #5 by J.K. Rowling

This book is beyond a "thick book," so I'm not sure if I can devote the time needed to it after reading two other thick books this month. However, Amanda is wild about Harry. This summer she wanted to read the Harry Potter books, and I told her that she could, but I had to read them first to make sure that they were still appropriate for her, and that if I thought they weren't, I could cut her off at any time and make her wait a year or two. She's read through number three, and so I need to get reading at some point. If the opportunity presents itself, I will dig into this one (I actually have read the first 100 pages of it, and my bookmark looks like I just dipped in. I think I put it aside because I couldn't handle a thick book at the time and the early setting in that old house didn't draw me in--but I have heard it gets better, and I think I'm right past that, although it's been a long while since I read that, so I might have to start over).

The Shack
by William P. Young

A non-booky friend of mine told me, "I just read the best book. I'm sure you've heard of it, because you're up on these things. It's called The Shack." I actually hadn't heard of it at all, so she said, "Promise me you'll read it." I looked into it, and saw that it's garnered a lot of attention (and some controversy). So, it's waiting to be tackled. A full review will be posted on 5 Minutes for Books.

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X
by James Patterson

I received an email asking me if I wanted to review this one. I was intrigued because it's written by James Patterson, but specifically because it is meant to conquer the problem of boys not reading because it is "boring," "there are other activities that they like better," and they can't "get into the stories." Patterson has a ten-year-old son and is determined to give boys what they will like. From what I've read of the plot, I don't think that it would be appropriate content for a ten-year-old, but I'm willing to find out. I love his motive. A full review will be posted on 5 Minutes for Books.


To add to the confusion, I love having an audiobook on my ipod. It's the perfect thing to keep me busy while I'm supposed to be doing chores, and I can "read" and extra book or two each month this way.

Merle's Door by Ted Kerasote

I'm halfway through this book, which I can only describe as a love story between a man and his dog. Reading it has made me think about my dog more and understand her more, as he shares his research and opinions on what is best for a dog, and digs into the relationship between dogs and humans. He does include a fair amount of evolutionary theory, but I just ignore that, and it doesn't bother me. If you are a dog lover with affection or tolerance for people who think that dogs are like people in their thoughts and emotions, you might enjoy this.

If you like audiobooks, audible.com is having a summer "Paperback sale" which ends TODAY. That's where I got this book, and the book that is on deck, My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult--both for under $9 (and one more--at 1/3 to 1/2 off, I could not resist).


Katrina said...

Thanks for the heads up about the Paperback Sale -- I will check that out today.

I'll be curious to hear about Daniel X -- I saw that at the bookstore and it intrigued me.

Also, Harry Potter is my exception to the "no super-thick books" guideline I usually live by. I don't know how you can read the first 100 pages and put it down. Once I start one of those, I usually ignore housework, children, errands, and the cat in order to finish it.

Lauren@Baseballs&Bows said...

I am the only person left who hasn't read ANY Harry books, but I am waiting to enjoy them with my son.

You have a fascinating list! I can't wait to read your reviews!

stephanie said...

I just read The Shack (and actually posted a review on my blog this morning). I'll look forward to your take on it as it is VERY different, and not what I expected. I couldn't put it down. :) And, I'm going to have to check out that memoir your mention ... sounds like something a daughter and a mom of 3 girls needs to read.

Anonymous said...

I have read a book before you!! It's a miracle! A friend gave me the Shack last week and I read it right away...I liked it and am trying to get Steve to read it. Will stay tuned! The Harry Potter will get better. I am reading them to the boys and we just finished that one. Keep it up! Martha

heather said...

Oh, my friend, you know this is one carnival I won't pass up. I'll put up my book reads tomorrow. (Although that means it'll probably change between now and then since I'm about 100 pages from being done of a really good book.)
The Condition looks good. I'll have to add it to my list.

Heather J. said...

Yeah! I'm not the only one with books everywhere!

Jen E said...

What great reviews - I don't know if I'll get around to reading any of these, but I loved reading about your reading them - I can see why you got a gig as a reviewer and I'm envious - it's a job, or even a hobby, that I'd love...

Carrie said...

Ha! I've been itching to get my hands on a copy of The Shack. Everyone I know is raving about it so I'm feeling the urge to actually read it for myself.

Great snippets on your books. I appreciated hearing what you were 'reading into' these days!

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I've been the same way lately- starting and stopping too many! I've got Simply Christian, Having A Baby Naturally, & The Girl Who Stopped Swimming needing me to finish them!


gail@more than a song said...

I've not read any of the Harry Potter books! But my 20 something year old daughter has been trying to catch up these last few weeks while she's on a school break & job hunting; she only lacks the last one & we're waiting for the library to get it. Some of our family has enjoyed The Shack & I'd heard of it but not read it yet.

Beth@Sportsmomma said...

Jennifer- our church reading group is currently reading The Shack. I'm reading it for the second time. A very intereting book- I can see both sides of the issue!!

Nancy said...

Thanks for the great reviews! I heard about The Condition from People Magazine, of all places (don't laugh - I need to read something while getting a pedicure and I forgot my book) so I wasn't sure how it would be.

I hadn't heard of The Shack, and my first thought was it's not really my thing. But I kept an open mind and read more about it, and now I'm definitely intrigued. I'll wait for your review before making a decision on whether to add it to the to-read list.

Lindsay said...

I loved the Harry Potter books, I hope you and your daughter enjoy them. I have seen The Shack on a lot of lists lately. I need to put that on my to be read soon list.

Iva said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog.

Wow! I am humbled by your book list. I typically read two or three books at a time, but this time around, I'm reading one book at a time. I need to finish, as they're library books, and will have to go back to the library soon (I also suspect they are in high demand, so renewing them will not be an option).

The Shack...wasn't that book reviewed in The Plain Truth ministries magazine?

Monica @ Paper Bridges said...

when do you sleep?? love this new feature at 5MFB. keep it comin'

Lisa (Morning Rose) said...

That's quite a stack of books you're tackling! We have books everywhere in our house too, from homeschooling books to library books to borrowed books from friends. So many books, so little time!

Jen said...

Just great...now I have even more to add to my "must read" list!

Debbie said...

oh boy, oh boy.....and I thought I read a lot!!
I pale in comparison. All this talk tho, it makes me want to go home and grab a book!
I'm glad I stumbled onto your site... your carnival... your invite.

Angie said...

I have tried to read two books at the same time...well, not actually at the same time but you know what I mean. ;) I can never do it...I always end up sticking with one until I finish it.

Much Ado said...

I had to smile when I read that your books weren't "exactly" on your nightstand either!

looking forward to hear what you think of The Shack. I haven't read it yet but I have read a lot "about" the book.

Sarah Mehrens said...

I enjoyed reading your comments on each of your current readings. I've even marked a couple to look into and possibly add to my own "To read" list.

I have read the Harry Potter series and I think you will enjoy them. The only drawback as you work through the series... the books get longer and longer... but they also get to be harder to put down. :)

Jennifer Bogart said...

I haven't read the Shack either, but it is controversial - looking forward to your review!

Trish said...

What a great list - I appreciate your description of each one. I was just happy to get a list together of all mine!

My to read list has definitely grown quite a bit today!

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

How old's Amanda? My 7 1/2 yo is on book 6 of HP right now, and I have real qualms about it, but too much sympathy for the reader to actually make her stop, and not enough energy to read it myself right now.

I've heard a lot of conflicting opinions on the books (6&7 esp) about how "dark" they are, etc.

Nise' said...

The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson looks like one I am going to have to get!

Gina Conroy said...

I'm packing up my books to move and there are so many file boxes of books, I lost count. They'll be in storage for about 6 weeks! But I have one whole box I'm keeping hidden in m closet so I still have something to read!

naida said...

Hi, wonderful blog!

you've got a great reading list there...I love the Harry Potter books.