Bedside Manner: Evening Escape

Anne Harris thumbs through current bedtime reading

Bedside Manner: Evening Escape

Misanthropes love summertime. It is a season spent outdoors, away from the static gloom and dim rooms of others.

With the right skills, one can delay the Evening Fraternal Hour until between rabbit dark and dark dark, or, that is, until everyone is having supper. Only after the last volleyball has hit the dust does one swoop right through the buffet,landing at table with a mouth already suitably full to avoid any questions with apologetic gesturing. One well-ventilated escape is camping on the porch, setting up as everyone goes inside for dessert and the cicadas are yelling, "One more time!" Alone again at last.

Until a few days ago, it's been cool enough most nights for late reading, and sometimes I spend the night, only to wake up sneezing, both myself and reading material creased in some manner. After dark, intruders risk the business end of the deafening, super tight raygun seen here, with a laser pointer in case they don't smell what I'm cooking. It is the most annoying device I have ever owned, and it really comes in handy when cabin fever sets in about mid-winter.

Tonight's stack is pretty typical for hot weather; nothing here requires running on too many electron paths at once. This kind of reading is a light bedtime refreshment; mainly fiction from friends, or nonfiction that been laying around on another stack. From left to right, Megan Mayhew Bergman brings our connection to the natural world to her stories of human truths and contradictions with her first collection, Birds of a Lesser Paradise (2012, Scribner). I like the barn owl on the jacket and the way that a spool of thread found on the floor is a perfect, minty match. Having chronicled lessons learned at the knee of a disastrous mother in Her Last Death (2007, Scribner), Susanna Sonnenberg returns with She Matters: A Life in Friendships (January 2013, Scribner). We gain new perspective on our own friendships as Sonnenberg canters along at a no-nonsense pace through significant relationships and what she attempts to learn from them. Moving quickly now to matters of the royal court of Iran circa 1576, we consider Anita Amirrezvani's Equal of the Sun (June 2012, Scribner). The adventures of Princess Pari Khan Khanoom and her savior, the eunuch Javaher, who can "navigate the harem as well as the world beyond palace walls" are re-imagined here, and we have high hopes for a bodice-ripper. For some much-needed oversimplification, we turn to the publisher of Success magazine, Darren Hardy. His talk-show hit this year is The Compound Effect: Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success. By focusing on our everyday decision-making and the rationales we employ, both against our best interests, and in support of them, we can get a better idea of how we merit our relative successes and failures. Finally, if you are really ready to go to sleep, read a sewing book. The Sewing Answer Book (2010, Storey Publishing) by Barbara Weiland Talbert delivers on its promise to provide "all the answers the home sewer will ever need" much better than we expected for such an audacious claim. In a readable, compact design are many answers to not-so-frequently asked questions, with shaded illustrations for reference.

Well, that's my stack. Now, scram.

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