Nightstand: November 2013

my nightstand

Seriously guys, is someone messing with me? Did someone change the date on my computer (and cell phone, tablet, and page  a day calender)? HOW is it the 4th week of November already? It should NOT be possible, but since the impossible seems to have happened once again, let’s talk about the books on my nightstand, linking up with the lovely ladies at 5 Minutes For Books yet again.

Last month I read 5 books :

a classic, a book on writing, a YA dystopian book, a short memoir on potty training and a romance novel by an author I adore


  1. Franny and Zooey by J.D. Salinger – Finished October 22, 2013 – I was on the fence about how many stars to give this one. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. It made me think (a little bit) but also nothing really happens. In a nutshell, this is a book about two siblings who are so smart that they can barely function in normal society – they are just incapacitated by their own cleverness. 2/3rds of the book is literally the world’s longest lecture. Then there is a phone call and both Too Smart For Their Own Good characters seem to come momentarily to their senses and then it ends. It’s a short story, so it’s not a big time commitment and there were definitely interesting moments and thoughts. But it isn’t one I’d jump up and down to recommend.
  2. Short Story: From First Draft to Final Product by Michael Milton – Finished October 26, 2013 – I found this book to be very helpful. He has a lot of great tips and ideas and I love the concept of showing one of his stories through several stages of editing and giving examples of some great feedback that he got during the editing process. A useful, informative quick read. I made a lot of highlights to look back at later.
  3. Allegiant (Divergent #3) by Veronica Roth – Finished November 8, 2013 – I almost don’t even know what to say about this final book in the Divergent trilogy. It was fascinating, painful, daring, occasionally flawed, occasionally brilliant. A fitting end to her series all in all, though I imagine many readers take issue with a lot of Roth’s choices in this book, especially the ending, I do think it was the best ending for the story. My one real complaint is just that her decision to write from both Tris’s point of view and Four’s was not exceptionally executed. The two characters’ voices are not very distinct and it was easy to forget who was talking which made the first half of the book at least a little difficult to get lost in. All in all though, I did really enjoy it.
  4. Over My Dead Potty by Amy Sprenger – Finished November 10, 2013 – A nice short read with no shortage of laughs – great for anyone who is potty training, has potty trained or anticipates potty training a child. This is less a how to manual and more of a hilarious mini-memoir.
  5. Take Me, Cowboy by Jane Porter – Finished November 13, 2013 – I’ve come to trust Jane Porter to be one of those authors that will always deliver a good story and this book is no exception – it was a nice quick love story that definitely falls further into the line of “passionate romance novel” than most of the books that I read, but it was written so well that I didn’t mind one bit!

currently readingRight now I am reading two books:

This month my book club is reading Life After Life by Kate Atkinson. We’ll be discussing it in just two weeks and I’m only about 1/4 of the way through it according to my Kindle.

This book is intense and complex, with a plot and writing style that take a little getting used to. So for the first 25% of the book I couldn’t tell if I liked it or not and had a hard time committing to it, causing me to “cheat on it” with a lot of other books (read: the two books you see above after Allegiant and the book below that I’ll talk more about in a minute).

“What if you had the chance to live your life again and again, until you finally got it right?

During a snowstorm in England in 1910, a baby is born and dies before she can take her first breath. During a snowstorm in England in 1910, the same baby is born and lives to tell the tale.

What if there were second chances? And third chances? In fact an infinite number of chances to live your life? Would you eventually be able to save the world from its own inevitable destiny? And would you even want to?”

Somewhere around that 1/4 mark though the book started to settle into a rhythm or I got used to the rhythm it had been in all along. Either way, the book got better for me and I’m not longer quite so quick to put it down for a lighter read every night. Only some nights.

I’m also reading As You Do… by Richard Hammond, who you may know from Top Gear, a show that my husband adores and I occasionally enjoy watching with him, mostly for the antics of Richard Hammond. This book reads as though Hammond is actually standing next to you talking. His writing style is VERY similar to his talking style which I suppose could be a good thing or a bad thing but I consider it a good thing.

I’m not super far into the story but I am really enjoying it so far. It’s a collection of stories from his adventures on Top Gear and other ventures. I actually bought this book for my husband and he LOVED it so much that I felt inclined to read it myself. So far so good…

“The wry, honest and often hilarious chronicles of a very brave and clever TV presenter, Arctic explorer, and general drawer of the Short Straw..

He ranges widely over his life and times—a visit to Glastonbury with James May reminds of him of his early years of playing in a band and how and why he never quite made it as a rock star; the stunts and other perils that come his way like the Top Gear North Pole race (why is it Richard who is out in the howling elements in a dog sled while the others are in the heated cab of an all-terrain vehicle?), Africa where he falls in love with and repatriates a stray car, and the U.S. (once to be chased by rednecks in middle America, the other in pursuit of his hero Evel Knievel); his passion for cars, what he owns and why, and although he loves his wife why it is a toss-up whether he says hello to the wife or the cars first.

Balancing home and family with a crazy, peripatetic working life (or not, sometimes), the hamster is well and truly back on the wheel.”

So what’s next?
Some of the other books I’m considering reading before the end of the year are:

The Last Word by Lisa Lutz – the latest in a story about a zany family of private detectives – “Isabel Spellman is used to being followed, extorted, and questioned—all occupational hazards of working at her family’s firm, Spellman Investigations. Her little sister, Rae, once tailed Izzy for weeks on end to discover the identity of her boyfriend. Her mother, Olivia, once blackmailed Izzy with photographic evidence of Prom Night 1994. It seemed that the Spellmans would lay off after Izzy was fired for breaching client confidentiality, but then Izzy avenged her dismissal by staging a hostile takeover of the company. She should have known better than to think she could put such shenanigans behind her.”

Wish You Were Eyre by Heather Vogel Frederick – #6 in a series : “It’s a dream come true for Megan, who’s jet-setting to Paris for Fashion Week with Gigi. Meanwhile, back in Concord, Mrs. Wong decides to run for mayor, so Emma and Stewart team up to make her campaign a success. Jess and Cassidy are also hoping for victories, Jess in the a cappella finals with the MadriGals and Cassidy in the national hockey championships with her teammates. In the midst of it all, the girls—along with their Wyoming pen pals, who drop in for a visit over Spring Break—dive into Charlotte Bronte’s classic Jane Eyre. Some real life romance follows, as Becca may have found a Mr. Rochester of her own.”

Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle – After watching Sherlock on Netflix recently, I’m kind of obsessively looking forward to season 3 starting in the new year so it might be a good time to read some of his stories while I wait impatiently. My husband read a lot of them a year or two ago and I keep meaning to follow suit.

What’s on YOUR nightstand?

You can participate in What’s on Your Nightstand? in several ways. Choose what’s appealing to you:

  1. Take a picture or simply give a list of the stack of books that you are in the process of reading or planning to read (it might be on your nightstand, on a bookshelf, or like me, under your bed).
  2. Give short reviews of the book or books that you read this month.
  3. Tell about what you are reading and why. Did someone give it to you? Are you trying out a new genre at the recommendation of a friend (or website)? Did you stumble across a new author in a used bookstore?
  4. Write about your reading habits. When are you reading these books? Is one reserved for bedtime reading? Does one stay in your car to be read while you are waiting? Do you read just one book at a time?

However you choose to write about your nightstand this month, make sure you link up at 5 Minutes for Books!

What's On Your Nightstand

5 responses to “Nightstand: November 2013”

  1. Dinah Avatar

    Just desired to tell you Now i am grateful that
    i stumbled upon your web page!


  2. Jennifer Donovan Avatar

    Wish You Were Here was a great ending to that series as well. Did you know it’s the last?? But she wrapped it up well. My daughter and I really enjoyed reading those together, so we were sad, but I think it was time.

    I still haven’t read Divergent etc. but now that they are all out, I can just binge sometime.


  3. Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? Avatar
    Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious?

    I’m totally with you! It’s almost December! How did that happen?

    And, I haven’t broken down to read Allegiant yet. And every time I read a little more about it, I don’t want to!


    1. Jen E @ mommablogsalot Avatar

      I am glad I read it, but I hear you – the comments aren’t really encouraging.


  4. Tonia Avatar

    Nice list. I totally agree with your analysis of Allegiant. I too thought it was a fitting ending for the series but found the going back-and-forth between 2 narrators a bit confusing.