Ann Lewis Hamilton’s Nightstand
I saw a photo of a bed once – a platform bed with bookshelves lined all around the bottom. Who cares if the bed is uncomfortable? The ability to lean over and grab a book, any book, without having to get out of bed? Nirvana.
The table beside my bed isn’t very big. There’s enough room for a lamp and only a book or two – any more and our spiteful cats would knock them over. Right now there’s a Daily Guideposts Devotional 2014 – something my mother would send me every Christmas and after she passed away, I started getting it myself, because it was a lovely way to remember her. Below that is Colleen McCullough’s Caesar, from her Masters of Rome series. I’m a sucker for a book series and after I read The First Man in Rome, I had to zip through the rest. Caesar was my favorite and it’s still by my bed. Tempting me to read the entire series again. My bookshelves are groaning with books. Seriously. If you listen carefully, you can hear them. This year I vowed to read books I’ve been avoiding – not because they weren’t good, because I haven’t gotten around to reading them yet. But this year I moved them to a “Read or Toss” pile. (That’s a joke – as if I could ever throw away a book.) And although the year is almost over, I did manage to tackle two – A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving and The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.
It’s funny, because both involve baseball (and there’s a big plot point similarity – but you won’t find any spoilers here). I’m a huge baseball fan – when I was young, I dreamed about being the first woman to play major league ball. I’ve written scripts about baseball. I go to baseball games whenever I can (go Giants!). Why did I avoid Owen Meany? I love John Irving. The Cider House Rules sits in a treasured spot on the bookshelf. When I finally started Owen Meany, I realized I was an idiot. It’s a glorious book, one of those novels that build up speed, it gets better and better as you read. I admit it – I am crushing on Owen Meany. Big time.
And The Art of Fielding was a slam dunk (she says, mixing her sports metaphors). College baseball? Fascinating characters, surprising story twists, real stakes. Like Owen Meany, it has a hidden power that grows as you read. Why did I wait to pick up these two lovely books?
So – I’m clearly attacking my “Read or Toss” pile. Maybe not at a super fast speed, but I’m trying. Next up, non-fiction Birmingham, Alabama: the Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter. Or Revival by Stephen King.
And Christmas is coming… I wonder if that bookshelf bed is still available.
Award-winning writer and producer Ann Lewis Hamilton has written for TV and film. Her TV credits include, among others, “Haven,” “The Dead Zone, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Saved,” “Providence,” “Party of Five,” and “thirtysomething.” She was twice nominated for an Emmy award, and was the winner of a WGA Award and the Humanitas Prize. She grew up in Staunton, Virginia, in a house full of typewriters – her grandfather was the editor of the local newspaper where her father worked as a reporter and her mother wrote for the society page. Ann’s goal was to write and draw for MAD magazine, but instead she graduated with a BA from the University of Virginia and an MFA from UCLA. Ann recently published her first novel, Expecting, a humorous look into the world of infertility.
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