On My Nightstand

I used to read for fun. And then I became a college student. When reading for classes tops 600 pages a week, reading for fun becomes a luxury. Most weeks my personal reading is limited to skimming The New Yorker at the gym and maybe reading a chapter of a novel as I’m falling asleep or eating breakfast before class.

My reading list is a growing problem, in that it is growing at a rate faster than I could ever possibly hope to read. I need to read those canonical classics- Anna Karenina, Moby Dick, and how have I not read The Scarlet Letter yet? But at the same time, I want to read all sorts of contemporary fiction- The Tiger’s Wife (Tea Obreht), This is How You Lose Her (Junot Diaz), and even The Casual Vacancy (J.K. Rowling).

As such, my nightstand is always precariously stacked. This is what’s in my current pile:

 Nowhere Man by Aleksandar Hemon: I haven’t started this yet, but it’s on the list for my immigrant fiction class, so I’ll be reading it soon. As an added incentive, Alexander is coming to the University on November 29th for a roundtable and reading. I’ve heard great things about his work, and I love the opportunity to ask authors questions about their craft.

My Father’s Daughter by Gwyneth Paltrow: I have a slight cookbook obsession. I’m a vegetarian, and as such I’m always looking easy and appetizing veggie options. While this cookbook isn’t strictly vegetarian, almost all of the recipes have adapted versions that are vegetarian or vegan. I’m very intrigued by the vegan brownie recipe and the homemade black bean burgers.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan: I read two chapters of this in September and haven’t touched it since. I like John Green’s fiction and I’m a regular watcher of his weekly vlogs on YouTube, however I’ve only read David Leviathan’s most recent book The Lover’s Dictionary. The book centers on a straight teen and a gay teen that share the same name and the resulting overlap of their two lives.

 My Antonia by Willa Cather: If I’m being honest, this has been on my nightstand since June. I’m a fan of Willa Cather generally, and I especially love her short stories and novel Death Comes for the Archbishop. It’s amazing to me that I haven’t read this, probably her best-known publication. I started the first chapter and I’m intrigued, but I haven’t really had the time I’d like to devote to this. Maybe over Thanksgiving break?

 The rest of the stack:

Percival’s Planet Michael Byers

Shadow of the Wind Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Unaccustomed Earth Jhumpa Lahiri

On Writing Well William Zinsser

The Swan Thieves Elizabeth Kostova

Lord of the Flies William Golding


~ Emma Kruse (Junior, English major, Xylem’s Advertising Manager)


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