Bedside Manner: Anglophilia

Reading lists from Legeland's token Brit

"Write about the books on your bedside table," they said. "It'll give a fun insight into the inner workings and literary habits of a Chronicle writer," they said.

"Crikey," I replied, "Are you sure that's a good plan?"

Photo by Richard Whittaker


At the moment, there are only two books on my nightstand (and that's the most generous term possible for the wooden construct next to my bed.) First, a borrowed copy of The Giver (the mysterious charm of which still evades me) and a well-thumbed copy of Agenda Setting Dynamics in Canada. Yes, I have read that for pleasure. Do not judge me.

The reality is that my current reading material does not actually live next to the bed. Well, at least on nothing so structured as what you crazy kids call "a table." As anyone that has visited anywhere I have ever lived can testify, I am a firm believer in the joys of stacking books on the floor. And on shelves. And pretty much any flat space available. So the real reading material, and whatever psychological insight that might be provided, are currently resting on some off-gray carpeting.

And yes, it's nearly all graphic novels.

Photo by Richard Whittaker

In part, it's because I'm usually so zoned out by the time I navigate to my mattress, my brain so frazzled and my eyes still adjusting to having my contact lenses clawed out, that a text novel is just a misguided way to info-dump. Give me the latest volume of Hellboy (collecting the long-lost Batman/Starman and Ghost crossovers) or the Image-meets-EC vibe of Bad Kids Go To Hell and that will soothe me to the five to six hours of slumber that have become my trademark.

Of course, people say to me, "Why read comics? They never come to a resolution, what's the point?" However, for me that's why they're a great art form. At the bottom of the center stack is the collected edition of X-Men: Second Coming. That will come back to the top of the pile. You don't need to be up to speed with the ongoing tale of Marvel's mutant warriors, but this volume is like a highlight reel. When Nightcrawler sacrifices himself, or Wolverine laments his best friend's demise, or the dialogue-free splash pages of battle, that's some of the best. But the fact that Magneto, once the ultimate big bad within the ranks of Homo Superior, has become the redeemed warrior, well, I guess that speaks to me as a political writer. If you can't believe that even zealots and ideologues can be talked down from their craziest positions, then you're in the wrong business.

As for Twisted Toyfare Theatre, that's just hilarious.

So where, I hear you asking (the acoustics in this blog are fantastic), are the serious political books? Surely this scion of the punditocracy must have something that looks like a tome of great weight and chin-stroking somewhere?

Oh gentle reader, that's what the shelf is for. Guarded by characters from the web series Homestar Runner, that's where the heavy-hitters remain.

Photo by Richard Whittaker

Since we've come this far, you're probably emotionally involved enough in this travel through my woodpulp that you'll want to know what's next. Some time in the next few days, it'll be a coin toss between a re-read of Ted Sorensen's defining biography of JFK entitled simply Kennedy, and a long overdue trip through The Architect, the second book by Wayne Slater and James Moore on Karl Rove. Considering how much Turd Blossom's fingerprints seem to be over the corporate end of the Tea Party movement, I may have to consider this a refresher before a third volume appears.

Ah, who am I kidding? Is It Just Me, Or Is Everything Shit? here we come.

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Bedside Manner, graphic novels, X-Men: Second Coming, The Arcitect, Karl Rove, Wayne Slater, James Moore, The Giver, Agenda Setting Dynamics in Canada, Twisted Toyfare Theater, Is It Just Me, Or Is everything Shit?, Bad Kids Go To Hell

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