Bedtime Stories, Jan. 2014

  • January 28, 2014

What do literary types have queued up on their nightstands and ready to read before lights-out? We asked a few of them, and here’s what they said.

Bedtime Stories, Jan. 2014

Eric Nuzum:

Two books have been filling my head lately; both are worth sharing:

Invasion of the Body Snatchers” target=“_blank”>Invasion of the Body Snatchers than The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt” target=“_blank”>The Hard Way on Purpose: Essays and Dispatches from the Rust Belt by David Giffels. As a Midwesterner, an Ohioan to be specific, I constantly surprise people with my hard insistence that people not make fun of the Midwest, especially those who’ve never lived there. This collection of essays about life in Akron, Ohio, is so deep and inviting and surprising that I plan to carry a bunch in my trunk. Then, instead of mounting the Heartland defense, I’ll just throw the bigmouth fucknut in question a copy of Giffels’ masterwork and let it do the talking.


Eric Nuzum is vice president for programming at National Public Radio in Washington, DC, and the author of The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires from Nosferatu to Count Chocula” target=“_blank”>The Dead Travel Fast: Stalking Vampires From Nosferatu to Count Chocula; and Pride and Prejudice (Penguin Drop Caps)” target=“_blank”>Pride and Prejudice six times, number Raymond Chandler among my all-time favorite novelists, admire every book written by midwife and birth activist Ina May Gaskin, and also love young-adult fiction and fantasy. My nightstand is stacked with novels, nonfiction, and memoirs I can’t wait to read. Lucky for me that I’m often so sleepless (sigh). What I’ve got in the queue:

The Midwife of Hope River: A Novel of an American Midwife” target=“_blank”>The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman. As a professional writer who writes a lot about pregnancy and childbirth, reading a novel with a midwife as a protagonist is something of a busman’s holiday for me. (And my kids, apparently. My 12-year-old daughter gobbled down this book when we were traveling together recently.) I’m ready to dive into the poverty-stricken Appalachian life that Harman so compellingly writes about in this book, her first novel.

The Color of Atmosphere: One Doctora[a¬a[s Journey in and Out of Medicine” target=“_blank”>The Color of Atmosphere, Daughter of the Drunk at the Bar, The Glass Castle: A Memoir” target=“_blank”>The Glass Castle, and Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! I’ve been wanting to read more memoirs by professional writers, and this one comes highly recommended by a mom friend who loves books as much as I do.

Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University, is an award-winning travel, culture, and parenting writer. Her latest book is Catch Me If You Can: The Amazing True Story of the Most Extraordinary Liar in the History of Fun and Profit” target=“_blank”>Catch Me If You Can by Frank W. Abagnale. I am amazed at this guy’s audacity and the cons he pulled. This is much better than the movie because you are inside Abagnale’s head and can see how one choice led to the next.

Promise of Blood (Powder Mage Trilogy)” target=“_blank”>Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan. Just started this one. It’s a fantasy by an author I haven’t read before, but its summary intrigued me.

James Rada Jr. is a full-time freelance writer living in Gettysburg, PA. His most recent book is

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