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What’s on your nightstand? Academia and beloved favorites


Sean Rogers/The Olaf Messenger


Life tip: never ask a philosophy and English major what books they are currently reading. If you’re not looking for a critical analysis of literature, it’s probably better not to ask. However, I have been asked, and therefore, I will share. 


What’s on my physical bedside table at the moment? Three books. However, I feel that the connotation of a “bedside table” extends to all the books one is currently reading. 


Nonetheless, I’ll start with the physical bedside table. On top is my beloved — and slowly falling apart — copy of “The House in the Cerulean Sea” by T.J. Klune; I consider this book to be my “comfort book” as it is not academic by any means. I’m currently on my seventh read-through with such heavy annotations I can hardly pay attention to the text.


The second book on my bedside table is “The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. I haven’t yet finished it, but it’s a great historical fiction about the relationship between readers, authors, and their books. 


The third physical book, or, poetry collection, in the stack is “Crush” by Richard Siken. I struggle to describe how Siken’s poetry makes me feel. The first line of the first poem, “Scheherazade,” repeats in my mind as cyclically as my heartbeat: “Tell me about the dream where we pull the bodies out of the lake/and dress them in warm clothes again.”


Finally, my “metaphysical” bedside table — that is, the books I’m reading that are in my backpack, on my desk, and elsewhere —  has Hegel’s “The Phenomenology of Spirit,” Virginia Woolf’s “Orlando,” Shakespeare’s “King Lear,” and Pessoa’s “The Book of Disquiet.”