Bedside Table: Nancy Slonim Aronie

The books we take to bed.

Nancy Aronie's "bedside" table.

This is not my bedside table because it is too cold for us to read in bed. But it’s where the books and magazines and candles and cereal bowls are. It’s a small cabin. The dining room table is the bedside table.

“D.O.D.O.” by Nicole Galland (and Neal Stephenson). I loved it from the minute I started reading it. In fact, I kept telling everyone how brilliant the idea and the writing was, but then my book club interfered because I never seem to finish the book assigned. So I stopped “D.O.D.O.” and started “A Horse Walks Into a Bar” (David Grossman), which I hated. We are doing Israeli authors this syllabus. I have never been in a book club before and I love it more than life itself. It’s like taking the best literature class with the smartest professors. I say nothing except how delicious the cake is (we always have food). “Be Here Now” is my Bible and I just turn to any page and remind myself how lucky I am that I found Ram Dass, my teacher in 1977. I got “A Prayer for Owen Meany” (John Irving) for Christmas from my friends Richard and Joanie and plan to reread. It was one of my favorites and I think my son Josh’s complete favorite. At least if memory serves.

I was looking for something in the mess of my shelf life and found “The Illustrated World’s Religions” (Huston Smith). I never get through it, but I hauled it out with the intention of reading one religion a week. So far I haven’t opened the book. See, it’s close to the bottom and I don’t want to disturb the pile. Or my brain.

Eckhart Tolle’s “A New Earth” is one of those classics that I can open to any page and get some piece of wisdom that will last. I just did it and honest to God this is what I read: “The fire of suffering becomes the light of consciousness.” The whole book is like that. The Thorium chapter my husband Joel might as well have written. It’s his passion and he will tell you the solution to our energy crises and to the survival of the planet. He will look disgusted, frustrated, and elated all in one sentence that begins with, Thorium; it’s 90 on the periodic table and can be found equally distributed around the world. It can’t be used to make bombs. And it’s completely safe. It doesn’t need a water source for cooling. We just have to build molten salt reactors. Yes, nuclear he will say. Calm down people.

“Foreign Correspondence” by Geraldine Brooks. It’s her memoir from 1998. The writing is exquisite. And I laughed out loud and cried big tears. I bought five copies for my girlfriends.

And the top book, which I am reading now, is “Croc Attack!” I am loving it. I only put it down to write this. The author, another Israeli, Assaf Gavron, has woven a tale unlike any other I have ever read about the Israeli-Arab tragedy. Here’s something funny. I just grabbed the book to read a few of the reviews at the back just to see if there was something I could copy so I could sound more intelligent. Here’s the best one: “A pitch perfect rendering of real life in all its chaos, energy, and terror. I couldn’t put it down.” The funny part? That was written by Geraldine Brooks. She’s in the book group.

Coincidence should be 91 on the periodic table. It is an element, isn’t it?

Want to share what you’re reading? Send a snap of your bedside table with the date that you took the photo and a few sentences about what’s on it, what you’re reading, and why you like or don’t like it. While we hope you will show us your bed table as is, please note this is a family publication so before snapping your photo, we encourage you to remove anything . . . erotic . . . other than, perhaps, those lines found in the books you may be reading. Email photo and descriptions to