I’m not a slob. Really. Which is why I grabbed my camera this morning. I wish I could say that I had doctored this photo or had carefully arranged my bedside table for dramatic effect, but this is what I woke up to. Sad but true.

A brief catalog of items:

  • Alarm clock, lamp, mostly-empty bottle of water, several mechanical pencils (I like mechanical pencils), a bag of Sun Chips, and one dime. Oh, and a remote control. My only justification for having a bag of chips in the bedroom is this: Joanna has been recovering from a bit of a health scare this week, so we’ve spent a lot of time in bed, watching the first season of The Muppet Show on DVD. And sometimes a guy just needs some chips.
  • The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby — A free gift with my birthday-present subscription to The Believer. Things I’ve learned from the first two essays: Hornby named his son Lowell in honor of Lowell George, so apparently I’m not alone in thinking Little Feat is the great, unsung American rock band; Hay-on-Wye, “a weird town on the border of England and Wales that consists almost entirely of secondhand bookshops,” should be on our list of destinations when Jo and I go to England next summer; and, like Hornby, I am also horrible at remembering details (and even whole plots) from the books I’ve read — “I can’t tell you how depressing this is.”
  • Claire Denis by Judith Mayne, Satyajit Ray: The Inner Eye by Andrew Robinson, and a Summer 2005 Film Program from the National Gallery of Art — A week or so ago, during a trip to Maryland, I caught a screening of Pather Panchali at the NGA. Nearly everyone in the standing-room-only crowd seemed to enjoy themselves as much as I did — everyone, that is, except for the man directly to my right, who apparently thought a dark, air conditioned room would be a fine place for a nap. Anyway, I picked up both books at the giftshop in the underground walkway between the east and west wings of the Gallery.
  • The Public Burning by Robert Coover and Loon Lake by E.L. Doctorow — I finished rereading The Public Burning yesterday. It and Doctorow’s The Book of Daniel are the focus of my next chapter, so these are both work-related, I guess. Coover’s novel is a monster — easily my favorite of the postmodern “doorstop” novels (as my friend Ethan once described Infinite Jest). I started Loon Lake a few weeks ago, got about thirty pages in, and lost interest.
  • Libra and The Body Artist (book on tape) by Don DeLillo — DeLillo has written several of my favorite novels (Underworld, White Noise, Americana, The Body Artist), which is why it’s so odd when one leaves me cold. I’m a third of the way through Libra, a (meta)fictional account of the Kennedy assassination, and it’s just not doing anything for me. I had the same lukewarm response to Mao II and Cosmopolis.
  • Arthur Miller: A Critical Study by Christopher Bigsby — I’ve said enough already about this one.
  • And on the bottom shelf: Catalogs from TIFF 2004 and SFIFF 2005, America: The Book, and an old issue of Home Theater magazine.

Anyone else got a pile?