the year in books :: beside my bed


This post is in association with Argos.

My target this year has been to read a book a month, a target which- to my delight- I’ve been not just meeting, but exceeding. I’ve found that the more I read, the more I want to read, and I love the fact that piles of reading material are scattered throughout the house. I’ve always thought that the reading matter which you keep on your bedside table proves to be particularly revealing, and so, with this in mind, I’m sharing with you today, the books beside my bed.

As it happens, I don’t actually have a bedside table. We have a matching pair of old bentwood chairs that stand either side of the bed, serving the same purpose. Here is the stack which sits on mine today. Working from top to bottom of the pile, I’m currently reading Lena Dunham’s Not that Kind of Girl on Kindle. Having up until now been something of a luddite when it came to e-readers, I have recently had the opportunity to try out a Kindle for the first time. I’ve been using a Paperwhite- you can see the model over at Argos. It’s been a bit of a revelation, not least because I can use it to read IN THE DARK, which is pretty much like being a child again, and reading with a torch under the covers (which I absolutely did used to do, I was a total bookworm and was always desperate to get to the end of the book!). It’s very handy when the baby is asleep in our room, as I can finally read without disturbing him. I also love having instant access to almost any book I choose. From what I’ve read so far, Not That Kind of Girl is funny, but also brutally, even toe-curlingly honest, a sort of reflective autobiography in the form of essays.

Next on the pile is – of course – my November read, Flannery O’Connor’s short stories. I’ve spoken about the reasons for my choice here in my November post. I do find that, in my generally sleep-deprived state, short stories make for perfect bedtime reading. Moving down the pile, Pretty Honest, by Guardian beauty columnist Sali Hughes, has changed the way that I think about my face. When it came to make-up, I was always fairly clueless, and as a result often wore little, other than in my purple lipstick and stars-glued-to-my-cheekbones student days. I’ve long been a fan of Sali’s columns, and have bought many a product based on her recommendation. She not only de-mystifies skincare, she takes joy from it, and as result, Pretty Honest is more than a handy reference guide, it’s a transformative tome.

In Clover is my new favourite magazine. It’s a truly beautiful publication with a focus on slow living, offline pursuits and a passion for print. You can also peek into the lovely world of In Clover over on Instagram. It was a recommendation from Lou, as too was my final bedside book, the scrumptious and uber-healthy cookbook from Anna Jones, A Modern Way to Eat. I’ve yet to find a recipe in this book that doesn’t burst with flavour and, like all the best cookbooks, it makes for a soothing bedtime read.

I don’t think it that a Kindle could ever replace for me the pleasure of holding a new book in my hands and turning the crisp pages, but it’s a sleek and lovely piece of kit, and a welcome addition to my library. There are a number of different models available from Argos. Luckily, my husband already has one of his own to grace the bentwood chair on his side of the bed, whilst on my side, it perches atop an ever-growing stack of this year’s books.

What are the books beside your bed?

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  • The book on the top of my bedside cupboard is my current upstairs reading, ‘Mr. Penumbra’s Twenty Four Hour Bookstore’. I have a thing about novels set in bookstores, as well as non-fiction books about people who own bookstores… and one of my favourite films was set in a bookstore, ‘The Love Letter’. That bookstore is one I want to own! Set in a small New England town, beside the water and with Tom Selleck as the resident town’s fireman! But the bottom shelf of said beside cupboard holds a couple of dozen books waiting to be read… there’s another pile the same size on one of the bookshelves in my workroom here, and on my desk a pile of a dozen! Oh, and there’s a lot on my Kindle too.
    I love the designed, black and white look of your pile though!

  • I have piles *everywhere* much to my husband’s chagrin! On my night table, on my bureau in my bedroom, on my bookshelf (the shelves are all full, 2 deep, plus some sideways on top…) on my guest bed, on a chair…

  • I love the monochrome look! My bedside table tends to fill up quickly with the pile of books I intend to read next, only to find that one uncovered in the loft or sitting room (or book shop!) appeals to me more. But Island Years and Jamaica Inn are the ones in the pile that are demanding my attention soon!

  • I’m feeling inspired by your pile and that your success with your goal. I’ve been trying to read more lately but my pile isn’t quite as glorious as yours – you’ve given me a good goal to aim for 🙂

  • I am intrigued by what appeals to other readers. I nearly always have a few needlework books on my pile as I review them for the Auckland Embroiderer’s Guild newsletter. I recently read ‘Perfect” by Rachel Joyce – rather sad but exquisite writing. I am currently reading two books – ‘Misquoting Jesus’ which I am so enjoying, and ‘The colour of food: a memoir of life, love and dinner’ by Anne Else – sheer delight!