I decided to snap this picture recently, thinking it might be fun to share the books I currently have on my nightstand.
I confess that I cleaned everything up for this shot. It’s not normally so neat and tidy, but that’s what it would look like if we had company over and if you’re reading this you’re sort of like company so that’s the thinking.
Most of the books are ones which I have read. The bottom book (which may be a bit hard to see) is actually not “The Hobbit” by Tolkien, but a companion book for the Peter Jackson film featuring great artwork and background from the making of the movie.
Moving on up, “The Storyteller” is one of my all-time favorite books and one which I’ve read several times. It features the stories from the wonderful Jim Henson TV series of the same name. If you haven’t seen it, I can’t recommend it highly enough, especially to anyone who enjoys fairy tales.
“Charity and its Fruits” is a wonderful book that, alas, I have not been able to finish. In fact, I’ve started it on two separate occasions and found it so rich and so meaningful that it was hard to read more than a page at a time. I do hope to finish it one day soon and so its place on my nightstand is to encourage me to that end.
“The Monsters and the Critics” is another amazing book. It is a series of essays by J.R.R. Tolkien. If you enjoy his fiction or if you love literature, I’d say this is a must read. Not all of the essays are easy to get through. Some are decidedly more “academic” in nature. But his essay “On Fairy Stories” is an absolute masterpiece and has been extremely influential on me as a writer. I love to return to it from time to time to help me get my bearings.
“The Complete Fairy Tales” of George MacDonald occupies the next spot. Again, just a delightful volume with not a bad story in it, though my favorites are “The Lost Princess”, “The Light Princess” and “The History of Phtogen and Nycteris”. I would love to go more into depth about this book, but I’ll save it for a later post and move on for now.
Above MacDonald we have C.S. Lewis, perhaps appropriately so since Lewis had such high praise for MacDonald’s work. This is another series of essays, akin to the Tolkien volume though, on the whole much more readable. Quite simply, Lewis writing in his affable style is a master of the essay. The entry entitled “On Stories” holds a similar place in my literary development to Tolkien’s “Fairy Stories” essay. And yet beyond that there are essays on writing for children, reflections on The Lord of the Rings, and even an interview with Lewis and a few other authors taped by the BBC and transcribed for this volume which is an absolute delight. Really, you can’t go wrong with any of these essays. It’s just top notch all the way around.
I’ll move quickly through the last two, “The Princess and the Goblin” by MacDonald again, and “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. MacDonald I’ve already mentioned and this fairy tale, certainly one of his best known, is well worth a read. As for Dickens, I’m only half way through this book and am finding it both marvelous and taxing at the same time. Certainly Dickens’ way with words is incredible and yet the plot is at times hard to follow or seemingly non-existent. I’ll reserve judgement until I’ve finished, but so far it’s been tough going.
Finally, I’ll wrap up with that white stuff on the right. Hmm…how did that get there? And what could it be? Could it be the manuscript I’m currently working on? I wouldn’t leave something like that just lying around, would I? Well, how careless of me, but it does seem that yes, yes indeed that is in fact what it is—just in case you needed proof that I’m hard at work on book 2 of the Chronotrace Sequence! In fact, I’m hoping to get the first few chapters off to my editor next week and I’m very excited to get it out into the hands of the reading public, hopefully by the end of this year. We’ll see…
So what about you? Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them as much as I did? And what books are on your own nightstand (physical or virtual)? Let me know in the comments.