Books on the nightstand

If eyes are considered ‘the windows to the soul’, surely the books we keep on our nightstands could be seen as ‘the doorways to the mind’. Or perhaps this is just something true of me.

I had to laugh the other day when I noticed which three books were currently stacked beside my bed. They certainly seem to accurately represent my current state of mind.

Books on the nightstand

It’s a little unusual for me to not have any fiction represented here, but perhaps that’s ‘mind revealing’ in itself. Anyway, enough of my ramble … here’s my current nightstand books:

  • The Anti 9 to 5 Guide: practical advice for women who think outside the cube (Michelle Goodman) – This is the book I’m currently reading, for inspiration, motivation and for a little directional help. I’m an anti nine-to-fiver from way back, but sometimes it’s a hard world to shift away from.
  • My Heart Wanders (Pia Jane Bijkerk) – While I’ve already finished reading this one, it’s a beautiful book I like to keep close by for ready and random page flicking. It’s a lovely way to remember that chasing dreams is important and can lead to the most wonderful of things.
  • The Joy of Less (Francine Jay) – I just finished reading this last week, but I’m not quite ready for it to move over to the bookshelf. I like to refer to it from time to time, especially if I find myself weakening on the whole ‘getting rid of unnecessary stuff’ front. Although I must say that I’m surprised at how well I’m adjusting to the minimalist mindset.

Do you want to share which books are currently on your bedside table too?
If so, that would be grand … I’d love to know what books are currently keeping you (and your mind) company.


  1. Erika Lee Sears

    I really loved the anti 9-5 book because I think it comes from an honest place. Since I don’t have a night stand- I keep books under my bed. šŸ™‚ I want to read Bethany Frankel’s book Naturally Thin. I have also been reading Augusten Burrough’s A Wolf at the Table and last I have been rereading parts of Million Pieces by James Frey. šŸ™‚

    I just love seeing what people are reading.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Erika – I love seeing what other people are reading too … it’s often a rich source of inspiration. I enjoyed the anti 9-5 book too, and I think that’s mainly due to what you said about the book, ‘that it comes from an honest place’ … I definitely get that genuine feel from the way it’s written.

      The books you’re reading and want to read sound interesting … I haven’t read James Frey’s book yet, but it’s one that I’ve picked up a few times here and there … there are so many books out there to get through! šŸ™‚

  2. Noodles and Waffles

    I have Charley Harper: An Illustrated Life on my night stand. I love looking at it before bed. It’s calming.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Noodles and Waffles – Gosh, that’s a wonderful book to have by your side at night … such beautiful art, I’m sure it inspires and fuels your dreams. šŸ™‚

  3. Michelle

    What an interesting collection. I haven’t read any of these but they all look like they would reflect my mind too at the moment. I have studied environment and development but unfortunately the job prospects in that area are a little thin on the ground and I am now wondering what plan B (in the meantime) looks like as my temp work is dreadfully dull. Hope you have gleaned some inspiration yourself.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Michelle – I know what you mean about that environmental background being a bit tricky to find work in … I studied environmental science at Uni and was never really able to find work specifically in that field … the degree has helped in other ways though. I hope your plan B is coming together … I can imagine that dull temp work can play on the mind. Take care.

  4. primoeza

    great books. i can imagine reading them too. i’m still reading status anxiety. i read a lot of it over easter and haven’t had a chance to pick it up since.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Elizabeth – They’ve certainly provided me with much food for thought in recent weeks … I wonder where my next book will take me?

      Oh I really enjoyed Status Anxiety … in fact, I really enjoy and get a lot out of all of Alain de Botton’s books … he is a thought-provoker of the very best kind.

  5. sofia

    just had a look at mine and I found:
    – Virginia Woolf – a room of one’s own = read
    and 4 book of a new writer (to me) I discovered a few months ago and for whom I’m completely smitten, Silvia Baron Supervielle, (I’ll have to do a post about this lady soon) because it’s like she was talking about my life in every one of her books, she’s an essayist and poet. She’s from Argentine and she lives in France now, she talks about her love for the french language, her struggle to write, the lost of her mother, her exile in France…well all I know is that I have to read them all, I never felt this ind of acquaintance for a writer before. It’s kind of strange, actually !

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sofia – Oh I adore Virginia Woolf’s books … her words seem effortless. I have A Room Of One’s Own on the bookshelf behind my desk.

      Silvia Baron Supervielle sounds very intriguing … I must admit that I’m not familiar with her work. I love it when you find those books or those authors that feel like they are speaking directly to us or about us … it’s incredible when that connection happens. I haven’t had that feeling all that often, but it’s something I always hope for.

  6. Valerie

    A lovely selection of books. I’m afraid I’m heavily entrenched in fiction at the moment. Reading Cold Comfort Farm, Matched, and How to Read like a Writer.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Valerie – Well there’s certainly nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with fiction … I tend to alternate between both fiction and non-fiction, so I’m probably due for a fiction overload next.

      I’ve never read the books you mention, but that ‘How to Read Like a Writer’ sounds particularly interesting … I love those reflections on the communication between, and role of, the writer and reader.

  7. Camila F.

    Great selection! My nightstand books are, right now:
    – Submarine, by Joe Dunthorne
    – Gulliver’s Travels, by Jonahan Swift
    – Truffaut: A Biography, by Antoine de Baecque and Serge Toubiana

    I’d love to read The Anti 9 to 5 Guide, it’s now on my to-read list!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Camila – Your book selection sounds wonderful! It’s a little embarrassing to say, but I don’t think I’ve ever read Gulliver’s Travels … I’d best rectify that very soon! šŸ™‚

      The Anti 9 to 5 Guide was interesting and certainly had lots of great food for thought … I think I’ll have to go back and re-read certain sections. There is a lot of practical advice that I really need to put into action.

  8. Gabrielle Bryden

    I love your book selection (I can see you in a not 9 to 5 job though I know how hard it is to get away from that situation). I always have a huge number of books on the go (I flit from one to the other in a completely disloyal fashion). I have The Slap which I haven’t started, a few journals (Overland, The Moth), several poetry books (Jaya Savige et al) and anthologies, and ‘Underground’ by Julian Assane and Sulette Dreyfus – haha (about the world of hacking).

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Gabrielle – It’s funny what these book collections reveal about us for sure. It’s very nice of you to say that you can see me in a ‘anti 9-5 job’ … I’m sure I’ll get there eventually, it’s just taking those first few steps which is the difficult thing to do.

      How wonderful that you always have a large number of books on the go at any one time … I’ve never been all that good at that, I tend to forget where I’m up to and what’s already happened … I get all confused between the books. Ha!

      Your selection sounds fantastic – I haven’t read The Slap, but I know it seems to have a mixed response. I love your balance between fiction, journal, poetry, anthologies and non-fiction … you certainly know how to multi-task (or should that be ‘multi-read’). šŸ˜‰

  9. Mel

    I haven’t come across any of these, they sound interesting šŸ™‚ I’m currently reading Made in America by Bill Bryson, and a friend sent me Toast by Nigel Slater so that’s probably next on my list!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Mel – I’m sure you’re enjoying ‘Made In America’ … Bill Bryson is nothing if not an entertaining writer. What a lovely friend to send you a book … I love it when a book selection is made for us (sometimes I have trouble deciding what to read next). šŸ™‚

  10. jan

    I like the sound of Anti 9-5 – I have been anti 9-5 for a few years now!! Working towards it but not quite there yet. Next to my bed I have “The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted” – more bubblegum for the brain! “The New Glucose Revolution” this was given to me by somebody from work who wants me to read it and report back!!! “Ask Your Guides” by Sonia Choquette and 10 unread and one half read Cat Fancy magazines – yes 11 months worth!! Which is a true indication that I don’t have time for this 9-5 caper!!

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Jan – Haha, yes that ‘anti 9-5’ attitude seems to fit for many of us! šŸ™‚
      I think working towards it is a great step … it’s better to make progress in the right direction than no progress at all. Oh gosh, you have a lot of interesting things to work your way through reading … I know what you mean about having no time to read all those magazines – I’ve got a similar situation with a few of my favourite publications too.
      Silly work ruining all our reading plans! šŸ˜‰

  11. charmaine

    Hmm rereading ‘Civilization’ by Niall Ferguson. Current Donna Hay and Country Style Magazines. ‘The Tender Bar’ by J R Moehringer (the author of Andre Agassi biography, I liked his style of writing). ‘On the go’ by Richard Hammond. ‘Easy Cottage Style’ by L Bauwens and A Campbell. On my kindle I am reading ‘Last Chance Cafe’ by Liz Byrski.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Charmaine – You’ve got an interesting mix of books and magazines. I think having a variety of things is good, as you’ll always find something to suit your current mood. I like the sound of ‘Easy Cottage Style’ (or maybe that’s just because it sounds like it would appeal to my lazy side! šŸ˜‰ Ha!).

  12. Sandrine

    Thank you for sharing your reading list Tracey they all sound very interesting, I must remember them.
    I am currently reading “don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff” I am loving reading that book slowwwwly and hoping I will finish it a better person šŸ™‚

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Sandrine – You’re very welcome … I love hearing about the books that everyone else is reading too. šŸ™‚
      I know a lot of people love the ‘don’t sweat the small stuff’ books … I bet they offer loads of great advice … as a self-confessed worrier, there’s probably a lot I could learn from them too! šŸ™‚

  13. Kristi

    minimalist. i am there. it has taken me many moves to figure it out though.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Kristi – I think my path to becoming a minimalist has been a long and slow one, but there’s no turning back now. There’s nothing like a house move to put things into perspective. šŸ™‚

  14. woolf

    what can i say, alice munro’s too much happiness on and off, and a few mags on decorating. just this morning i was thinking how, indeed, what we read reflects on what we do, or we do as we read, at set moments in our lives…
    so. happiness and renovation, not necessarily together.
    i’m actually greatly interested in your joy of less! will look it up. thanks for the tip.

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Woolf – I don’t think I’ve read any Alice Munro, but after a little online peek, something tells me I’d very much like her work. I have a few of those decorating magazines scattered about my desk, so that’s obviously on my mind too.

      I hope you can achieve the perfect happiness and renovation balance … at the very least I’m sure the challenges presented by the renovation process will be entertaining in hindsight! šŸ™‚

      PS. I would definitely recommend ‘the joy of less’ … I get a lot out of it – both different ideas and a reinforcement of a few things I was already doing. Minimalism here we come!! šŸ™‚

  15. Hayley Cafarella

    Hehe, I think the books on my bedside table indicate that I don’t have much concentration when reading before sleep – Reckless by Cornelia Funke & Ondine: The Autumn Palace by Ebony McKenna…I’ve just never gotten past loving a bit of YA fiction! šŸ˜‰

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Hayley – I think it’s a fantastic idea to have some light reading on your bedside table … I’m sure it helps prepare the mind for a restful night of sleep. There’s certainly something to be said in the positive for a well written YA fiction book. Enjoy! šŸ™‚

  16. Galit

    Gosh girl, how many posts did you publish since I’ve last visited….! I’m not complaining!! just enjoying your creativity burst!

    My recent reads are The Element (the one I wrote you about) – reading it over a month now and still haven’t finished it..
    I read The Girl with a Pearl Earring on our little holiday and really enjoyed it (didn’t like the movie though. A really dull version of an enjoyable book).
    I also read The Joy of Less and loved it!

    My next fiction book is David Mitchell’s The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet but I have to finish The Element first to have a go with a new one!
    Both My Heart Wanders and The Anti 9 to 5 Guide are on y list!!

    P.S. I owe you an email reply. I wish there was some device who could capture my thoughts and put it in an email. I have so much to write and find it hard to do. Promise to do so by the end of the week! x

    1. tracey (Post author)

      Hi Galit – Haha, surely it can’t be THAT many posts! šŸ˜‰

      I enjoyed The Girl With A Pearl Earring too … and I agree with you re: the movie version, I think it was a little too slow and lifeless. Perhaps it placed too much emphasis on the cast instead of doing the book justice? … Thanks for your ‘The Element’ book tip, I’ve tracked a copy down and will start reading soon … I had a quick look through already and it looks interesting. I don’t think I’ve read any David Mitchell books, but I love that book title!! šŸ™‚

      PS. There is no need to reply to my email any time soon … believe me, I completely understand how time and the proper collection of thoughts can be difficult to pull together. Take care of yourself, first and foremost. xx

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