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At Any Given Time

I’m a bit of a philanderer when it comes to books. At any given time, my nightstand contains a multitude of texts, all at various stages of mid-read. A dog-eared corner there, a bookstore-issue book mark there. I’m all over the place. The subject matter, book length and tone are highly variable. And that’s just fine by me. That’s how my mind works, jumping from mental vine to mental vine, following the rabbit hole where it leads. 


Here’s what’s currently weighting down my nightstand: 
-Gardening at the Dragon’s Gate, by Wendy Johnson
-Intelligence in Nature, by Jeremy Narby
-The Spell of the Sensuous, by David Abram
-Interworld, by Neil Gaiman
-The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver
-The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, by Kathleen Flinn
-Food Inc., by Participant Media & Karl Weber
-The Good Life, by Scott and Helen Nearing
-Mindfully Green, by Stephanie Kaza
-The Edible Schoolyard, by Alice Waters
-The Sustainable Vegetable Garden, by John Jeavons & Carol Cox
-Will Write For Food, by Dianne Jacob
-The Sugar Queen, by Sarah Addison Allen 
-Second Nature, by Michael Pollan
-How to Cook a Wolf, by M.K. Fisher
-Sufficient, by Tom Petherick
-Easy Green Living, by Renee Loux
-Rodale’s Vegetable Garden Problem Solver, by Fern Marshall Bradley
-California’s New Green Revolution, by Desmond A. Jolly & Isabella Kenfield

What about you? Are you a book monogamist? Or do you wander, like me? And, more importantly, what are you reading? 

*Image from here. 

27 Responses to At Any Given Time

  • nicole says:

    What a great collection of books you've got there!

    I'm notoriously monogamous in my reading habits. I've got to read one book from start to finish before letting another demand my attention. I do admit quite freely to having a tower of books waiting in the wings. There's something comforting seeing that stack, knowing the company they'll bring through the months of winter.

    Right now I'm wrapping up Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri. After that it will a tough choice between The Enthusiast by Charlie Haas and In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore.

  • Cat W. says:

    I'm a terrible wanderer, and at the moment I'm not reading nearly as much as I should. Books surround my bed: on the dresser, on the nightstand, on the floor under the bed. They're everywhere. Right now I have one about workplace courage, Storey's Backyard Homestead, which I'm sure you would love if you haven't looked at, and Just Food by James McWilliams, which discusses many issues behind sustainable food and mostly takes a position opposite the “locavores.” Must read more.

  • Mark says:

    I'm with you all the way, I imagine I've read one book at a time once in my life… but not for a long time (I remember a copy of “The Wind in the Willows” that sat by my bed for a year or so while I read piles of others, before returning to it). Right now I have a number of embarrassing titles (I have a void that needs to be filled by trashy sci-fi and mystery paperbacks) as well as “Guns, Germs and Steel” (Jared Diamond), “The Penguin History of New Zealand” (Michael King), and a financial advice book I don't enjoy but feel like it would be good for me. Viva Variety.

  • Mark-feel no shame. I'm seriously contemplating “The Twilight Saga” books. Seriously. The life of a stay-at-home writer in the forest gets lonely sometimes, especially in the winter. A bit of benign escapism is sometimes just what's in order. I'm with ya.

  • kdilley says:

    How do you like 'how to cook a wolf'? It's definitely on my list!
    xo
    K

  • k-i love it. i really appreciate her candor. the writing is so evocative. so inspiring. go for it!

  • megan/mason says:

    I'm so all over the place!
    Right now, I've got:
    The Urban Homestead-Coyne and Knutzen
    Putting Food By-Janet C. Greene
    The Fruit Hunters-Adam Leith Gollner
    From The Ground Up-Amy Stewart
    Kitchen Literacy-Ann Vileisis
    Cookie Craft–Peterson and Fryer
    Vegan Soul Kitchen–Bryant Terry

    and, for fun, I just started rereading the Little House series.

  • megan/mason-i have a number of those books, as well. in fact, i actually profiled erik and kelly (the urban homestead) in my “canning & preserving” book and erik did a podcast of me back this past summer on home canning. small world!

  • Wander, wander wanderer. Wild Things, by David Eggers; What is the What, by David Eggers;a book on composting; One Thousand White Women; Patience with God, by Frank Schaeffler. This doesn't even count the magazines stacked up next to the books!
    I try to give each due attention, but sometimes I want a different tone in my reading from the previous day.

  • I'm so glad I'm not the only one who reads a dozen books at a time! Except you're reading way more books than I am right now! Sometimes I check out so many books from the library that I actually have trouble reading all of them before they're due back :)

  • Anjuli says:

    I tend to read one book like 90% of the way through, and then start another book! The end result is that I don't always finish the book… But at the moment I am trying to just read Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma. I don't have a lot of time to read so it will probably take me a couple months to get through it! Thanks for your list though, looks like some interesting ones to add to my “to-read” list…

  • Anna says:

    Books are so wonderful — thanks for bringing up the subject! I've always been a multiple book at a time reader and I can rarely resist rereading my favorites. That's what I have been doing lately but there are a number of books on my bedside table that need reading, especially some non-fiction garden and permaculture related ones. Sinking into a good book is one of the great pleasures of my life!

  • Beth says:

    I am definitely a multiple book reader– I have a similar style, with lots of books that caught my eye all at various stages of reading. Right now I'm in the middle of Year of Wonders, by Geraldine Brooks, Cheap, but Ellen Ruppel Shell, You Are Here, by Colin Ellard, Play, by Stuart Brown, Food Matters, by Mark Bittman, and Stumbling Toward Enlightenment by Geri Larkin. Slightly eclectic, but that's what I love about it.

    I also have Twilight on my shelf under my nightstand, but haven't been able to bring myself to crack it yet. :-)

    http://www.remarkablydomestic.com

  • Cassie says:

    I am a wander too. My stack of yet to be started books is large enought I keep it in another room.

    I am in various stages of reading:
    “Cider: Making, Using and Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider” by Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols
    “The Complete Idiots Guide to Playing the Fiddle” By Ellery Klien
    “Weekend Sewing” by Heather Ross
    “Cross Bones” by Kathy Reichs ( I always am reading a good mystery). I acctually always carry a book around in my purse, just in case I can get a few minutes of reading in. By the way the Twilight books are good, you should give them a try.

  • Sharyl says:

    Is it tacky to call myself a “book slut?” Probably. :)

  • EcoGrrl says:

    i used to be a one book woman but this year the ADD kicked in…

    * 'ecopsychology' – i think i have five pages left. kinda pathetic since it's going on my list of classics.
    * 'the angel on the roof – stories of russell banks' – i have always liked his books, great voice
    * 'reading lolita in tehran' – this is my lunch hour book so it stays on my desk at work, great perspective
    * 'sanctuaries – peaceful havens for the city gardener' – great coffee table book and FULL of ideas i can actually relate to for next year's backyard & garden redesign.
    * 'on the road' – nope, never read kerouac. few believe me but it's true, so this was my airplane read this week (halfway through…)

    and i'm dying to get augusten burrough's new book!

    love hearing what books people are reading – great post!!

  • MaddyG says:

    I'm a multiple book reader too. I have a primary book that I read for my book club, and then I cheat on it by reading my own picks. It makes me feel a little guilty, but not too much.
    Currently reading:
    Prodigal Summer~ Barbara Kingsolver
    House of Leaves~ Mark Danielewski
    Easy Green Living~ Renee Loux
    Bird by Bird~ Anne Lamott
    And the National Geographic!

  • ms. oaktree says:

    i have a wandering eye, and i totally can't commit! a few in the bathroom, a few on the nightstand, one in the handbag…it's almost dangerous. i'm reading:
    To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
    Interpreter of Maladies- Jhumpa Lahiri
    The Monkey Wrench Gang-Edward Abbey
    I'm still trying to finish Omnivore's Dilemma, too

    and a few kids books…
    The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey
    Bloomability by Sharon Creech (i teach fifth grade)

    thanks for enabling me!

  • Anonymous says:

    Reading is such a wonderful way to loose yourself in the moment.
    Never enough time in my life to curl up with a good book.

  • For benign escapism (and sheer delight in the English language) check out Susanna Clark's Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell.

    I'm only unfaithful on occasion; usually I cannot put a book down for long until I've finished. Now that parenting anchors my attention to the “real world,” I have to avoid all but very short works of fiction because a good story pulls me entirely into another world and the mundane responsibilities often fall to the wayside until I'm ready to reemerge into our reality. Not appropriate or fair with a young child in the mix, and I'm lousy at moderation in this regard. With novels it is a swoony, swept up, passionate weekend affair or nothing.

    Nonfiction has proved more amenable to philandering and breaks to attend to domestic concerns.

    (And I do love being with my child more than reading a good book. But that is about the only thing that can pull me away!)

  • Danielle says:

    Depending on what I'm reading, my patterns vary.

    Right now I'm reading:
    – Goat Song by Brad Kessler
    – The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan
    – The Shack by William Young (book club pick)
    – Three Cups of Tea by Greg Mortenson (I just finished the Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns and can't stop reading about Afghanistan in my extra time)
    – Storey's Guide to Raising Dairy Goats

    :) http://www.cornbreadandchickens.wordpress.com

  • I'm a serial monogamous when it comes to books. Whatever book I'm reading takes all my time and attention, but as soon as I'm done, I'm on to the next. There are a few books I keep on the shelf for some late night book booty call action.

    I wish I was reading something erudite or at least relevant to homesteading, but I'm reading Mary Queen of Scots.

    I do love me some good historical fiction.

    I'm writing down all these book titles though.

  • petunia girl says:

    Reading some of the same books but here's my list: (my 3-legged kitty, Grace knocks the pile over each night when she jumps in bed with me)
    House of Rain, Craig Childs
    Jamie At Home, Jamie Oliver
    The Lacuna, Barbara Kingolver
    The Plague of Doves, Louise Erdrich
    My Life in France, Julia Child
    The New Agritourism, Barbara B. Adams
    Wild Fiber Magazine
    I love audio books when there is a powerful amount of knitting to be finished! Thanks for asking…

  • I tend to have three books going at all times.

    1) A work of fiction
    2) A piece of non-fiction.
    3) An audio book.

    Which means that right now I'm reading:

    1) Gossip Hound, by Wendy Holden
    2) Unplug The Christmas Machine, by Jo Robinson & Jean Coppock Staeheli
    3) The Other Boleyn Girl, by Phillipa Gregory

    I MUST have a book to read or I feel incomplete.

    Katy Wolk-Stanley
    “Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

  • Amber says:

    I'm more of a book or two kind of girl…something froofy and enjoyable, and something studious to balance my moods! :) I couldn't keep track of a list like that one.

    I just finished “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho, and am working through “The History of the Irish Race” by Seamus McManus.

  • Ann says:

    I am generally a monogamous reader, but I am currently partly through with Thoreau's Walden as well as The Contrary Farmer by Gene Logsdon. More wait in a stack as insurance against book deprivation, a condition which cannot be tolerated.

  • Turtle says:

    love your reading list! looks a lot like mine!