having a bit of insomnia. not a rare occurrence for me, but one that's not so common anymore, either.

i am a night owl, prowling around the house and poking around. all is quiet and i feel a kind of wicked delight in being awake while i know i really should be in bed. like those nights when i was a kid and i would stay up reading long beyond my bedtime...

speaking of reading, here's a 3 question literary quiz from Rafe Esquith. he says this quiz would do away with all of the standardized testing that plagues education today:

1) Have you ever secretly read under your desk in school because the teacher was boring and you were dying to finish the book you were reading?

2) Have you ever been scolded for reading at the dinner table?

3) Have you ever read secretly under the covers after being told to go to bed?

*My bonus question: Have you ever been teased by your parents for reading your books instead of touring the Eiffel Tower?

so...did you pass or fail my little quiz? and tell me, what books are on your nightstand right now?


Penny L. Richards said...

Heh, yeah, I'd be guilty on all three counts, your Honor. I learned to doodle when I'm bored in class instead--teachers aren't as offended by that distraction. Then I started doodling on graph paper, which led to making crossword puzzles....aha, see, right back to reading and words.

Right now reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu and other stories by Susanna Clarke, because it's short and light and fun and my book group meets Tuesday, so I don't want to get too entranced with anything before finding out what our next book is.

Catgirl said...

But for the first one, I only read under my desk when I'm almost to the end of a chapter, or page or something. :)

JohnR said...

1) You just described my high school experience.

2) Books never made it to the dinner table.

3) Yes, with the aid of night light plugged into the wall behind my bed.

Mostly SF reads.

Bored in Vernal said...

Yes to all three, so you'll never see me scolding my children for any of these. (Sometimes all six of us are reading at the table at dinner.)

On my nightstand: I finally got hold of a copy of Twilight! No one can read it until I am done. Also, The French Executioner, Out of the Silent Planet, and Teach Yourself Arabic.

lma said...

Did I ever read under my desk at school? When did I not? Ninth grade algebra was probably the worst/best (depending on how you look at it)...I got a D in the class, and probably deserved an F, but I read some really good books.

I don't recall ever being scolded for reading at the dinner table, except by strangers in restaurants. When I was growing up, I think my parents would have thought there was something wrong with me if I hadn't read at the table.

Reading under the covers was also a constant when I was growing up, until I hit junior high and the rule became that as long as in was in bed, I could read with the light on as long as I wanted.

I do have to say "no" to the Eiffel Tower question, but I do take a book with me everywhere I go, and I've read in such places as at Dodger Stadium and in lines waiting to get on rides at Disneyland.

The books on my nightstand (well, in the in-progress pile on the floor beside my bed) are:

Death in Holy Orders by P. D. James

The Question of God: C. S. Lewis and Sigmund Freud Debate God, Love, Sex, and the Meaning of Life, by Dr. Armand M. Nicholi, Jr.

Trilobite! Eyewitness to Evolution by Richard Fortey

JohnR said...

2) I just realized that Jana and I trade off scolding each other and the kids for reading at dinner, unless it's previously agreed on that it's a reading meal. Discussion usually dominates dinners.

BiV, you'll have to let me know what you think of Out of the Silent Planet. I read through the trilogy several times in junior high (but the first was my favorite).

lma, I love your bedside books!!!

jana said...

You know, I never remember reading during a class while the teacher was lecturing. But I'm guilty of the other two (wayyyyy guilty of #3 but not so much #2). I've always been a fairly solitary reader and my fav reading spot my bed.

Right now I am reading a bunch of history books and should really be reading rather than blogging...


john.white said...

Yes, yes, yes.


Professional Cooks in the Age of Celebrity

Cross-X: The Amazing True Story of How the Most Unlikely Team from the Most Unlikely of Places Overcame Staggering Obstacles at Home and at School to Challenge ... Community on Race, Power, and Education

Seeds of Change: Six Plants That Transformed Mankind

amelia said...

1. yes. i still do that. :)

2. no. reading at family dinner was always forbidden. my dinner-time reading always happened when i lived with roommates.

3. yes. all the time. my first all-nighter was to finish a book i just couldn't put down, under the covers with a flashlight. my parents finally gave up getting after me for the light under the covers and gave me an itty bitty book light. i loved that book light.

my nightstand at the moment is a mess of victorian novels. villette by charlotte bronte. middlemarch by eliot. bleakhouse by dickens. with a few non-victorians (but still required for my lists) like imagined communities by benedict anderson.

Anonymous said...

Oh, of course I passed on all counts. Well, sort of. I would get scolded for trying to read at the dinner table, and pouted and martyred at for even wanting to read at the dinner table, but then we also had a tradition where my father would read from the Bible every night before dinner but at the table (we went through the whole thing cover to cover seven times before he quit doing it when I was halfway through high school and had been the last one at home for quite awhile), and then my mother would read a chapter from the classic book we were all reading together after dinner, again at the table but after we'd stopped eating and the dishes had been cleared. And I only get half-credit for the bonus question, too, because my parents did not attend the Sorbonne with me, and therefore were not there to ridicule or cajole me while I also neglected to visit the Eiffel Tower the entire time I was there, whether it was for reading, eating, or just running around looking at other stuff that honestly seemed more interesting. I mean, I could see the Eiffel Tower from all over the place, including the roof of the building where I was living. It was neat. And I was busy. And I don't really regret not going, even though it is quite possible that I will never get a chance to go back.

There's a stack of books on my nightstand a foot deep. Right now I'm reading Talking to the Dead by Helen Dunmore. It's well written, stylistically and descriptively speaking. There's a description of gooseberry pie with leaf shapes worked into the crust being cut, served with fresh cream poured over each slice, and then eaten greedily outside in a country garden in summer that will never leave my mind, but I only just started it and I already feel sure I know where the plot is going. (sigh)