Bedtime Reading...

I think I need to get more bookshelves. Last night there was almost no room on my nightstand for my glass of water. It got me thinking about how much I love books and reading in general.

Fact 1: My first word was "read" - as a toddler I would thrust a book at one of my parents and demand that they read to me

Memory 1: A worn yellowed laminated library card, mine from the age of seven. I ploughed through the children's sections and the librarians would often bend the rules and allow me the adult limit of six books per visit.

Fact 2: I read really quickly, too quickly perhaps. I can get through an average paperback book in maybe an hour or two. On a plane back from San Francisco last Friday I got through two and half books. Sometimes if I am totally enjoying a book I force myself to read each word to try to make it last longer.

Memory 2: Much as I loved the library, the biggest treat of all was a new book (a relatively rare occurance, often seemed to coincide with a trip to the dentist or getting a good report at school). To this day, if I've had a rough week or I'm feeling sorry for myself I make a beeline for Borders or hit up Amazon.

I love reading photography books; I'll dip in and out for reference, inspiration and ideas. And I love the escapism of fiction books. From the nightstand above, here are some favorites:

The Moment it Clicks by Joe McNally - Joe is simply a photography legend and he's a big fan of the Nikon SB800 strobes that I shoot with so it's super cool to see how he uses them. This book is like meeting Joe in a bar and hearing all of his favorite photography stories

Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee - this was one of the best memoirs I have read in years. One of those books that sucks you in and you're so disappointed when it ends because the people and the story are so very real - loved it

Annie Leibovitz at work - if you've ever read Vanity Fair magazine you'll have likely seen Annie's work. She's a legend, what else to say.

Vogue - as you can see I read a lot of photography books and magazines but I also take inspiration from fashion magazines like Vogue. Of course I'm reading about the makeup, looking at the clothes and I think I've made my feeling about shoes very clear by now. However, more often than not, I'm trying to guess the lighting set-up from the catchlights in the model's eyes and the shadows on her face.

Although I'm all about natural relaxed photography, I love it when a bride is willing to rock it out a little and try something fun - check out Jessica below. I pointed out the contrast between this beat up doorway with her stunning gown and she happily perched there in the late afternoon sun - love it!

Anyway, time for me to get to bed to finish up my latest book - The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. A bestseller in her native France, I'm about halfway through this enchanting book about a concierge in a Parisian apartment block and I'm forcing myself to r e a d - e v e r y - s i n g l e - w o r d

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