Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On My Bedside Table: you asked, Randy

Prom dress in Chelsea.
Not relevant to this posting but I was
thinking about it this weekend. 
Randy Cauthen, Poet-in-Residence and Professor at Cal-State Dominguez Hills, and friend, challenged me and others to list ten books on our nightstands.

My nightstand is small.  There's a lamp, a pair of earrings, ten exotic postcards sent by my post card-sending poet-friend (they will join the three-inch stack on my storage book case), an adaptor for my portable DVD player (so I can plug it into a car cigarette lighter?), violet post-its, a fork and spoon (clean), three pens (some with ink), a pencil with a broken tip, my favorite necklace, a lavender-scented eye pillow, my checkbook, one multi-vitamin, a pomegranate Stila Lip Gloss, two straight pins (I finally hemmed a pair of jeans), fluff, and something from AARP for my damn neighbor (the one who's peed in front of the building) who still hasn't sent them his correct apartment number.

Two books have been living there for several months: The Pocket Rumi (Shambhala) and my black leather-bound journal in which I track poetry and fiction submissions (a gift from my niece).

The stack on the floor, by the bed, is more what Cauthen is interested in. Here goes.

The Perfect Man by Naeem Murr. When I read his essay My Poet: Why do poets spend more time waiting than writing, on the Poetry Foundation site, I fell into a state of awe 'n love. So far I am not disappointed with his fiction.

LAbryinth: A detective investigates the murders of Tupac Shakur and Notorious B.I.G., the implications of Death Row Records' Suge Knight, and the origins of the Los Angeles Police Scandal. By Randall Sullivan, who is a reporter for Rolling Stone. a) I'm interested. L.A., my homeland & people I love are affected by the L.A.P.D. b) Sullivan wrote The Miracle Detective: An Investigation of Holy Visions, a book I recommend over and over. Miracle Detective begins with an investigation of apparitions of Mary in Oregon, and how the Church handles same, moves to Medjugorje where there's a famous apparition, the telling of which necessitates a detailed history of the wars in Bosnia-Herzegovina. It's quite a book.

Underworld. Don DeLillo. Do I need to explain?

Versed by Rae Armantrout. Ditto.

John Donne: The Reformed Soul. A biography by John Stubbs. It's really well written; interesting—unsuual for a biography—but the book itself is so heavy, I am going to see if it's in paper. (My copy is from the library.)

The Man From Beijing by Henning Mankell. Mankell's Kurt Wallender mysteries were dark and great. Some of his freestanding book were darker. We'll see.

Water for Elephants, Sara Gruen.  I haven't read anything by her yet.

Henry James. A few weeks ago a playwright friend made a joke about Daisy Miller. I laughed but couldn't remember if I'd read it or not; most likely it's the latter as I haven't forgotten reading other stories (Washington Square, Turn of the Screw . . . ) in the paperback Turn of the Screw and Other Short Fiction by Henry James.

Selected Poems by Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin. I discovered her a few weeks ago when I came across the stunning poem The Second Voyage.

The Patron Saint of Plagues by Barth Anderson. I need suspense novels and mysteries. The blurbs on front and back cover are great.

That's it.

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