books on a nightstand

On My Nightstand

In the last week, I’ve been super busy with work and life, and although I managed to read three books, I still have a huge stack of books on my virtual nightstand at the moment. ( I say virtual because while I do have physical books on my nightstand, I also read a lot of books on my Kindle.

What I’ve Read

This week I read The Third Gate by Lincoln Child, Garden of Lies by Amanda Quick and Deep Storm by Lincoln Child. The two Lincoln Child books were fast-paced thrillers, and Amanda Quick’s novel was a historical mystery/romance.

After I read The Forgotten Room over a week ago, I wanted to read more by Lincoln Child. I love the settings for his novels … a Rhode Island mansion in one, an Egyptian burial site in another and the best, an underwater military facility. You learn from his novels, while simultaneously trying to figure out who did it, what’s really going on and uncovering plot twists. I don’t know how factually accurate they are, but it seems to me like the author has done a lot of research to pull off the level of detail in these novels.

The Third Gate is a search for the long-lost pharaoh who united Egypt, Narmer’s burial chamber and possible crowns.



Deep Storm is focused on a mysterious illness that’s threatening people in a secret underwater facility in the Atlantic Ocean.



Garden of Lies is about set in Victorian England where there’s murder and romance.


Currently on My Nightstand

And these are all the books I’ve started and need to finish, or need to start ASAP for various reasons:

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman – I’m reading this for my work book club. It’s a challenge to get through because the entire book is written in a bizarre vernacular.

Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – I’ve had this one from the library for so long that they sent me an invoice. It’s good, I’m more than halfway through, but I keep forgetting to finish it!

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walker – Another one from the library that I keep meaning to read. It looks really good. I haven’t started reading it yet but I read a sample on my Kindle months ago and the reviews were great.

An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – I think I downloaded this one for free from Amazon. It keeps making the best-books-of-the-month lists, but I’m well into it and having a hard time continuing. It’s just not holding my interest. But I’m determined to finish.

Crow Fair: Stories by Thomas McGuane – I’ve never read this author before, but I decided to try his new short-story collection for my family book club. This is our first book to read as a family (and by family, I mean my mom and my other adult siblings). I haven’t started reading it yet.

The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley – This book has two separate story lines that must intersect at some point, but right now I’m mired down in the less interesting one … MUST finish.

What’s on YOUR nightstand?

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Jerry Todd Books

Jerry Todd and the Whispering Mummy

In honor of my dad, who would have been 85 today if he had not passed away a few months ago, I want to share a special book series with you, the Jerry Todd book series written by Leo Edwards. It’s a series my dad grew up reading in the 1930s and 1940s, and I can remember him reading them to me when I was young. I don’t remember much, but I do remember feeling enchanted by this small-town, old America feeling story where a young boy and his friends have adventures.

Leo Edwards was actually a pen name for Edward Edson Lee, who grew up in Illinois. He started writing serials in American Boy Magazine and eventually published five different series of books. Fun fact: Ronald Reagan wrote in his own biography that he himself had a similar boyhood as Jerry Todd.

My mom actually found and purchased the whole series for my dad as an adult. (Hence, my dad reading them to me.) I remember the red cloth covers. I’d love to find some of these and collect them now.


You can’t beat these creative and intriguing titles. There were sixteen books in this series, published between 1924 and 1940. In each book there was a section called “Our Chatter Box,” where poems and letters from the author’s fan club were published as well as the author’s friendly responses. And, if your letter or poem was printed in that section, you would receive a free copy of the book.

  1. Jerry Todd and the Whispering Mummy – 1923
  2. Jerry Todd and the Rose-Colored Cat – 1924
  3. Jerry Todd and the Oak Island Treasure – 1925
  4. Jerry Todd and the Waltzing Hen – 1924
  5. Jerry Todd and the Talking Frog – 1925
  6. Jerry Todd and the Purring Egg – 1925
  7. Jerry Todd in the Whispering Cave – 1927
  8. Jerry Todd, Pirate – 1928
  9. Jerry Todd and the Bob-Tailed Elephant – 1929
  10. Jerry Todd, Editor-In-Grief – 1930
  11. Jerry Todd, Caveman – 1932
  12. Jerry Todd and the Flying Flapdoodle – 1934
  13. Jerry Todd and the Buffalo Bill Bathtub – 1936
  14. Jerry Todd’s Up-The-Ladder Club – 1937
  15. Jerry Todd’s Poodle Parlor – 1938
  16. Jerry Todd’s Cuckoo Camp – 1940

Now tell me, have you ever heard of this book series? Do you know what your dad read as a child?

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New-World Speller from 1922

On one of my trips to visit my mom in Virginia, I ended up at a wonderful antique, vintage-hip store called Lucketts, in a restored, 100-year-old general store in Leesburg. It was a wonderful place to explore and spend a Saturday afternoon, imaging how many things I could put on my walls or what I could purchase to decorate every nook and cranny in my home. I saw so many cool vintage furniture pieces and decorations, but of course, I gravitated toward the old books. And I ended up buying one, the New-World Speller published in 1922.


Old BookOld Book 2


The book is made out of some sort of cloth, a little worse for wear, and the pages have a yellowish-brown tinge … it’s just glorious. I could easily get hooked on buying old books. And this little speller, for grades second through seventh, has some real gems, such as this page:


Old Book Indian



and I don’t know about you, but I didn’t sew, wash clothes or iron when I was in second grade.


Old Book Days of the Week


Each section has a message for the kids of that age. To the third grade children it says the following:

“The smallest word has some unguarded spot,

And danger lurks in i without a dot.    

– Oliver Wendell Holmes

Did you ever think what a wonderful thing a written word is? You join a few letters on paper and the word tells somebody else what idea is in your mind. Be sure that you join the right letters. If you look out for the “unguarded spot” in each word in the Third Grade, you will soon be able to use these wonderful tools in an independent way. Form the right habit now


The second grader who owned this book in 1922? Her name was Gladys Cook. She even signed her book:


Old Book signature


Some other tings I found in it that you probably wouldn’t find in our present day school books were:

  • Cookie spelled “cooky”
  • Mention of a stick of candy that only costs one cent
  • Ninepin
  • Iceman
  • A queer game

Finding a ninety-three-year-old school book like this makes me wonder what people ninety-three years from now will find from our school books that strike them as strange. Maybe the fact that we had physical books?! While I have a Kindle and love the convenience, there’s nothing like holding an actual book in your hands.

After this find, I may have to search for more old books in estate sales and antique stores. This is, by far, the oldest book on my shelf at the moment. Do you own any old books?

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