Saturday, July 4, 2009

What's on Your Nightstand? With a Comparison to What's in Your Underwear Drawer

That was the question, and I found it interesting, so here's my answer:

Vincent Bugliosi's Reclaiming History, which is a 1,600 plus door-stopper of a nonfiction book that tries to single-handedly settle the questions about the Kennedy assassination.

Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe. This book attempts to put string theory in digestible and coherent chunks. I am fascinated by Greene's writing, and every now and then I can take in a few more pages about how the universe was formed. This stuff blows a few circuits every time I pick it up.

Bernie Schein's If Holden Caulfield Were in My Classroom. Bernie is one of the most brilliant and eccentric people I know, and he was equally so in the classroom. This memoir of this thirty-plus years teaching English and writing in Atlanta is a compelling read for me as I return to teaching once again. He has also become my writing teacher.

Everything Scrabble by Joe Edley. I'm a closet Scrabble addict. I've managed to amass a competitive ranking (in theory) by battling my computer, and this book actually serves as a reference study guide. I'm a total geek, I know. Scrabble is a poisonous diversion for me when I should be writing.

Look Homeward, Angel by Thomas Wolfe. A gap in my classic reading that I hope to close by summer's end.

The Way It Is by William Stafford. He is my poet. My hero of verse. I read him constantly. I still remember the afternoon he died. We'd come to class to discuss one of his book when our professor, who was a good friend of Stafford's, came into the room, turned off the lights, and told us what'd happened. He then told Stafford stories for an hour as we listened enraptured, in shock. I'll remember it till I die.

I'm looking over this list, and I find myself a little embarrassed. What a wierdo. I liken this to sneaking a peek at someone's underwear drawer and feeling uneasy, not because there is underwear in there, but because your spare change, your spare glasses, your travel toothpaste (by mistake), some old love letters, a book light, a pistol, and an expired passport are also mixed in. You know, the unexpected stuff that says something about you, but you're not sure what.

I say it's still a good question, though. And for the record, only underwear is in my underwear drawer.

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