Bedside Table: Danielle Zerbonne and Harrison Holmes

The books we take to bed.

Danielle Zerbonne and Harrison Holmes's bedside table.


Of course I had to straighten and dust — are you kidding?

Our bedside table duplex hodge-podge is mostly a collection of my husband’s books… he puts me to shame with his adventurous and ambitious literary appetite. I’ve got the college degree, he’s the one who finished “War and Peace.” He’s the one who read “Count of Monte Cristo” three times (at 1,200 pages!). Our wedding vows included a quote from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserable — love you, too, honey!

The New Yorker is mine. After buying a single issue for every plane trip for the past 10 years, I finally realized I shouldn’t live without a single issue. Of course, once they arrive weekly, you’re quickly swamped, and they limp their way to dusty stacks in your bedroom and living room, wishing they were on a flight to anywhere.

“Big Little Lies” is also mine, given to me by MV Times newly minted associate publisher Jamie Kageleiry. She probably knew I was in the mood for something fun and easy. She says it’s great; I’ve yet to open it.

As the smarty pants of the family, Hubby became interested in Icelandic fiction after our honeymoon in 2016 — he started with Icelandic Nobel Laureate Halldor Laxness’ “Independent People,” raving about it all along. “Not for everyone,” he described it, but he took to it immediately and then read several other Laxness novels. The outsider aspect of such a story sparked a new phase in his reading he calls his “new perspectives” phase, trying to pick books on topics completely new and foreign to him. It lead him to “A Brief History Seven Killings,” a book he described as challenging (lots of patois) but tremendously rewarding, a sprawling story that explores the assassination attempt on Bob Marley in the 1970s.

When I first heard about the “new perspectives” phase, I thought I’d encourage it with a gift of a novel I read and loved in college: “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison. Instead, he bought and read a Ta Nehisi Coates book. He’ll get to Toni eventually.

In my opinion, no home library is complete without a set of field guides, and my most recent purchase was “Peterson Guide to Moths” of Northeastern North America. Whenever I see any little creature, I immediately comb my field guides for identification. I find it tremendously satisfying to make a positive ID.

We discovered years ago, and were immediately smitten. This “definitive guide to the world’s most wondrous places” lead us to Sedlec Ossuary on our last trip to Czech Republic; Google it and have your mind blown. This compendium, “Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders,” is a blast to peruse at random. We had the page on Samoa’s Palolo Worm Festival bookmarked, for some reason. You can also read about Turkey’s cave full of human hair, or the Baby Jumping Festival of Castrillo de Murcia, if that’s more up your alley.

I brought “They Can’t Kill Us All” home from a conference on narrative journalism. I’ll crack it when I’m ready for something heavy (the news is heavy enough for me most days).

“Writing the BREAKOUT Novel” … it could happen! I have the book!

And finally, “The Beatles Anthology”… this thing belongs on the coffee table, it’s not really a “curl up and read it in bed” book.  

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Want to share what you’re reading? Send a snap of your bedside table 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 without straightening them up, 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