Nightstand: November 2011

So it’s mere days before Thanksgiving, which is exciting in it’s own right, but it also means that it’s time for me to fill you in on my nightstand! Haven’t done this before? The fabulous ladies at 5 Minutes for Books ask us each month which books we are reading, read recently or plan to read soon – basically this amounts to “What’s on your nightstand right now?” Get it?

When we last nightstanded, I was reading The Heretic’s Daughter by Kathleen Kent – the story of Martha Carrier, one of the first women to be accused, tried and hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts. Like her mother, young Sarah Carrier is bright and willful, openly challenging the small, brutal world in which they live. Often at odds with one another, mother and daughter are forced to stand together against the escalating hysteria of the trials and the superstitious tyranny that led to the torture and imprisonment of more than 200 people accused of witchcraft. (description from goodreads.com)

I have to say I really kind of adored that book, although it was slow reading at times, it really kept me hooked and the story was just fascinating, though heart breaking. I definitely recommend it!

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen SimonsonAfter finishing The Heretic’s Daughter, I had planned to read our November book club pick, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simonson. This is the story of Major Ernest Pettigrew, retired, of Edgecombe St. Mary, England, [who] is more than a little dismayed by the sloppy manners, narcissism, and materialism of modern society. The decline of gentility is evident everywhere, from tea bags, to designer sweaters, to racism masquerading as tolerance…

But after about three chapters (or 40 pages or so) I honestly couldn’t read anymore. It is not often that I will put down a book after only a few chapters, but lately I have been thinking that my time is too precious to read books I’m not enjoying. And I wasn’t enjoying this one at all. The book was intended, I think, to be a fairly light-hearted satire, but I found the main character so annoyingly cynical that I couldn’t read it without rolling my eyes at him. I don’t know if the book would have gotten better or if I was being too hard on it. I’d guess there are people who loved it and would enjoy it. But I honestly don’t think I was going to be one of them.

My only reason for reading the book would have been because it was a book club pick and normally I’d give myself a harder time and make myself read it anyway, but I decided to go easy on myself this once because my nightstand is kind of overwhelming me at the moment with books to read and truthfully? There was one book in particular beckoning to me. It’s been sitting there patiently for months, picked up in between books just long enough to read a chapter or so, giggle to myself and then move on to my next mandatory read. Well this month it said, “Um, Jen, knock it off and read me already. You’re gonna love it!”

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen LancasterAnd I totally am! What book am I finally digging into and adoring something fierce? Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. It’s basically the funniest book about dieting that you’ll ever read and I think I especially love it because (especially when it comes to food and dieting) Jen Lancaster and I are kind of kindred spirits. It’s like reading my own thoughts on paper except then sometimes SHE goes to the gym or starts a diet or loses weight and I’m all, “Oh, hey, wait for me!”

I’m kind of hoping that this will be a book that motivates me to finally kick my ass and start eating better and exercising (I’m already trying) and that she doesn’t end the book with, “And then I gave up, who are we kidding, really?” We’ll see…. Either way, as far as book choices go, I’m glad I made this one because I now go to bed at night eager to read!!!!! Instead of “Oh yeah… that book….. Maybe I’m tired?”

So what am I going to read NEXT? Man, guys, I have no idea… There are kind of a million positions I’m being pulled in, but here are some of my ideas:

  • Attempting Wicked by Gregory Maguire again and then possibly reading the rest of the Oz series by him.
  • Little Bee by Chris Cleave which I keep hearing is some kind of fantastic
  • Some more funny books like Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin or Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner
  • Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi has also been waiting patiently for me for awhile…
  • Shades of Grey by Jasper Fforde looks really good – I love his Thursday Next series.
  • And then let’s not even talk about all the OTHER books I own but haven’t read yet and guys, what about the books I WANT to buy? What if I get books for Christmas? If you don’t hear from me for awhile, you’ll know that my TBR pile finally fell over and buried me.

What are you reading right now?

8 thoughts on “Nightstand: November 2011

  1. I finished Pettigrew, but I thought it moved SO slowly. I could see that it would appeal to others, but it wasn’t one of my favorites. Thanks for sharing your list this month.

    Lauren from 5M4B (I didn’t post a list this month, but I’m visiting around)

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  2. I’ve seen a lot of positive reviews for Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand. It’s nice to see a negative one for once! I haven’t yet decided it I will read it…

    Good luck with your TBR pile!

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  3. I tried reading “Wicked” when it first came out and absolutely HATED it. Ten years later I saw the musical, loved it, and picked the book up again. I got through it and even enjoyed it. Yes, it’s VERY different from the musical, but the basic personalities of the main characters are the same so it felt a bit like I was getting a backstory of the musical (which is itself supposed to be a backstory of The Wizard of Oz… and I’m pretty sure backstories of backstories are what creates black holes). “Son of a Witch,” the second book was pretty good, IMO. The third, written from the lion’s point of view, was a complete bore. I’m eager to read the last one, though, and hope it provides some closure on the story without making me hate the whole franchise. We shall see. Good luck! 🙂

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  4. I felt that way too with the print version of Major Pettigrew, but fell deeply, sweetly in love with it on audio. It’s now a life-long favorite. I highly recommend the unabridged audio.

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  5. @ Lisa : I have heard that the play and the book are very different (basically because the book is much longer and the play was adapted with a slightly different spin) but that both are wonderful. I started reading Wicked years ago and put it down because of a review book or some such thing and by the time I got back to it, I could barely remember what I’d read, which was substantial. I knew I needed to go back and reread it from the beginning but didn’t have the patience at the time. Now it’s been long enough I think I could do it.

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  6. Good for you in laying down a boring book. Yes, our time is too precious!

    I just saw the play “Wicked” and have thought about picking up the book now. I’ll wait and see what you think before I invest my time. 🙂

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