moment.02 || On the Nightstand

Beside my bed are nine books set up for night reading: every night for at least an hour I read to relax, center myself for sleep. Television only heightens a sense of stress in the bloodstream. Video triggers a caffeinated energy, removing any talent for falling into a strong embrace of slumber. Even late-night talk shows shift the brain into a different mode of thinking and take away potential rest.

There are always nine books. A number selected at random. Having a variety of texts available helps account for on the variety of moods that crowd in the head at nightfall —and of course it is important the material not relate to any courses I teach. Otherwise, my analytical skills would jolt a sudden awareness to take notes for future lectures.

Currently in random order:
  • Billy Collins, Sailing Alone Around the Room: New and Selected Poems
  • N. Scott Momaday, The Way to Rainy Mountain
  • Neil Gaiman, Fragile Things
  • Alan Lightman, Einstein's Dreams
  • Cyrus Cassells, Beautiful Signor
  • Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy
  • Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaasen, Ör
  • Anna Journey, If Birds Gather Your Hair for Nesting
Over the next few months I plan on keeping a strict record of reactions and quotes from the sources—a reading journal or Commonplace Book (locus communis) for poetry scraps and prose passages—a concept I should have formalized years ago, but only flirted with the idea.

My goal: keep a working digital log of books read and collected for future reference. This is yet another form of dialogue with myself, keeping a close bond with my thought processes, and offering a firmer sense of classification for the material collected in my personal library.


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