What’s on Your Nightstand, August edition

I’m participating with the gang over at 5 Minutes for Books again today, where they’re asking the question, What’s on Your Nightstand? I’m not taking the question literally this time around, so you won’t get a picture of my nightstand. (Trust me, though, you don’t really want to see a picture of it today. Let’s just say that many of the surfaces around here could use some sprucing up.)

But I will tell you about three books that I’m either reading now or have recently finished.

First up, I’m reading through The Mysterious Benedict Society with C., my 9-year-old. We’re moving slowly — we often only have 10-15 minutes each evening to read together — but we’re reading it aloud together nonetheless. When I first suggested to C. that we read this book, he gave me a skeptical look and asked what it was about. I read him the back-cover blurb and told him that I had read a review of it at another blog and it sounded great. He wasn’t convinced. “Sounds boring.”

Well, when we stopped for the first night, because it was bedtime, he asked if we could please, please read a little more. Yep, he was hooked. And honestly, so was I. This book is well-written and pulls the reader in right from the start. We’re only about 100 pages in so far, but can’t wait to find out what happens to the gifted children who’ve been recruited for a very dangerous, but very important, mission. Check out Carrie’s blog for a thorough (though non-spoilery) review of The Mysterious Benedict Society. C. and I highly recommend it, and will most likely be reading the sequel next.

In my personal fiction reading, I’m about 3/4′s of the way through The Dead Whisper On. My opinion of this book? It’s weird. Dead people whispering to living people. But then you wonder, is it really a dead person whispering? And there’s some bizarre human-like creature called a golem that is made of clay and apparently cannot be destroyed. Like I said, weird. I’ll finish it — I’m intrigued enough to wonder how everything is going to turn out. But it’s still weird.

Before I wrap things up, I have to mention the last fiction book I read: The Host. The Host is about aliens taking over the world, and one alien / host body combination in particular.

(I know what you’re thinking now: Katrina only reads strange books about aliens and dead people. Not true. Usually, you can find me reading boring old mysteries about non-alien living people and non-whispering dead people.)

I picked up The Host after seeing it highly recommended by my friends Jennifer and Lisa. They were right on target; The Host was a fantastic book. Once I got past the halfway point, I almost couldn’t put it down. And once I finally finished it, I couldn’t start another fiction book for the next five days, because I wasn’t ready to move on. Whenever I do that, you know I loved the book. (Oh, and I cried quite a bit toward the end of the book, even though I recently told you I hardly ever cry over fiction anymore.)

The author’s website tags the book as “Science fiction for people who don’t like science fiction” and I think that’s very accurate. I don’t mind some science fiction now and then, but when you’re reading The Host, you’re not even thinking about genre — you just want to know what’s going to happen to the characters you’ve grown so attached to.

Suspenseful, engaging, action-packed, The Host was my favorite novel so far this year. I did a little digging and discovered a rumor that the author, Stephanie Meyer, is working on a sequel to it. You can bet I’ll be pre-ordering that one.

So that’s what I’m reading. What about you? Click over to 5 Minutes for Books to read about more nightstands, or link up your own post.

Shameless Plug: The Fall Into Reading 2008 challenge will be getting underway here at Callapidder Days beginning September 22nd. All you have to do to participate is set some reading goals for the fall and then work toward them along with the rest of us. Check back September 8th for all the details!


  1. So glad you mentioned the Mysterious Benedict Society, I was in the book store with Mic lastweek, while he was looking at the graphic novels, I wandered over to the youth section to try and find some good reads for eddie, and that one caught my eye. A book called “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” also caught my eye.. looks very funny, it is going on his birthday gift list.

  2. Jennifer, Snapshot says:

    Due to Carrie’s recommendation, I just told Amanda last night to look for that book at the library when we go today. It sounds right up her alley, and I do think that I would enjoy it too.

    That’s a great description of the Host — you forget that you are reading about aliens.

    As far as the Dead Whisper On, at least I’m one for one with recommendations. I also thought it was weird, but I too had to see what would happen.

  3. stephanie says:

    I’ve got the Mysterious Benedict Society on my reading list to pre-read as a possible option for my niece (and of course, because it sounds good to me, too). :) I may have to try The Host. I could only do the first two Twilight books, but I like aliens more than vampires. :)

  4. You’ve made me curious! I LOVE mysteries … aliens and vampires, not so much. LOL! I’m going to look for The Host at the library this afternoon. :o)

  5. Shannon (muzbeecrazy.com) says:

    I’m not a sci-fi type of girl but you have made me interested in The Host. I may have to look for it!

  6. Lauren@Baseballs&Bows says:

    I am so skeptical about The Host, but if all of you keep recommending it, I may have to give it a try! :)

  7. Well, if I visit everyone on Mr. Linky today and keep getting all these great recommendations for books, I’ll have a good list for the Fall Reading Challenge! I’ll have to put The Host on my list even though I don’t like science fiction at all. I didn’t think I’d like Harry Potter either, but it’s just proves I can be wrong. ;)

  8. The Host sounds intriguing!

  9. Lindsey@akindredspirit'sthoughts says:

    I just finished The Host this month, too – and I had the same problem with starting another book right away! I tried three books (and it took me three or four days) and kept putting them down with disgust, lol. :-)

    I want to read The Mysterious Benedict Society now…

  10. gail@more than a song says:

    I’m not a sci-fi girl either! Haven’t read anything by Stephanie Meyer although I think my daughter was wanting to read the Twilight series.
    Looking forward to fall reading challenge!

  11. The Mysterious Benedict Society sounds intriguing, something my boys might enjoy.

  12. I really enjoyed reading the Host. It was one of my favorites this year too! I really do hope that she makes a sequel to it. I know that I would pre-order! The Dead Whisper On sounds interesting. I have never heard of it before. I’ll have to give it a try! Thanks.

  13. I have not read Stephanie Meyer yet, but sure have been hearing her books are good! Looking forward to Fall Into Reading!

  14. I’m intrigued by the Stephanie Meyer books but not sure I want to commit to reading one. We’ll see….

  15. YAY! You are reading The Mysterious Benedict Society! I’m glad to know your son likes it too. My boy is only 2 so I can’t test it out on that age group. Lucky you! =D

    I haven’t read any of the Stephanie Meyer books either. Still holding back. However, everyone I know who has read them loves them…..gaa!

  16. topaztook says:

    Just in case you didn’t know, a golem isn’t some weird thing made up for this book — it’s something with a long history in Jewish folklore.

    (From the American Heritage Dictionary):
    In Jewish folklore, an artificially created human supernaturally endowed with life.
    Hebrew glem, lump, clod, fool, from glam, to wrap up. See glm in Appendix II.

    (Appendix entry)
    Central Semitic, to cut, break off, separate. golem, from Hebrew glem, formless mass, unfinished thing, from glam, to wrap up.

    (I think I may have first encountered one in “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay” — which is a great book.)

  17. The Mysterious Benedict Society sounds like such a fun aloud read. We are leaving for the beach on Saturday and taking my 10 year old SIL. I might have to pick this book up for us to read together while we are there!

  18. I think that I’m going to get that Mysterious Benedict Society book for The Girl!

  19. I still haven’t read any Stephanie Myer books. It looks like I’m going to have to pick one up now! Great set of reads! :D

  20. Lisa writes... says:

    The Host is one of my favorite reads of the summer too!

    I haven’t read that Hine book, but I did read another that was weird as well…and easy to figure out…hate that.

    I’m thinking I may have to check out the Mysterious Benedict Society for myself!

  21. I read the Mysterious Benedict Society, too. Loved it. I read the Host earlier this summer.

  22. We just finished Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli which I totally loved. I am now reading Portrait of an Unknown Woman. I did read Boy in the Stripped Pajamas that you recommended earlier this year. Wow, a four hankie.

  23. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Host”. Couldn’t put it down. Now I’m about to start reading “Breaking Dawn”. Will have to make sure my schedule is clear. :)

    Robin of mytwoblessings

  24. I thoroughly enjoyed “The Host”. Couldn’t put it down. Now I’m about to start reading “Breaking Dawn”. Will have to make sure my schedule is clear. :)

    Robin of mytwoblessings

  25. I was so intrigued by everyone’s review of Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight series”,that I went and got the first three.I read the first two in 2 days and then slowly began to feel convicted by the Lord.It makes vampires,and all things evil seem harmless,intriguing,attractive and endearing.People are getting more and more lured in …..I don’t think it’s healthy to find evil attractive.Also I was beginning to backslide ever so slowly….
    I didn’t feel a peace till I put all three books in a cover and threw them in the dustbin.
    I have such a peace and my walk with the Lord is fantastic and alive once again.
    Just felt led to add my opinion…..

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