Kids + Teens

On My Nightstand: Children’s Editor Kelli Chipponeri

The secret no one tells you about publishing is that as editors we often have to give up that which we used to love most: books. Of course we work on making books all day long, and we read manuscripts in our free time, but reading published books—copyedited, with a cover and marketing copy, and bound together as a physical object—is, for many of us, a luxury to be savored only on vacations and other precious moments secreted away from our day to day existence. As such, the books that rise to the top of our to-read piles become almost sacred, and are the subject of much discussion.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share what is topping our to-read list. Every month a Chronicle Editorial staffer will share the books currently on their nightstand. This month we hear from Kelli Chipponeri, Executive Children’s Editor.

I didn’t realize how telling my reading pile would be in regards to my personal life and my work acquisitions, until I lined up the books on my nightstand and radiator and took a look.

From the top:

Curious George: I have had this doll since I had my tonsils out at the age of 4—that’s 33 years! I am not sure if receiving the doll made me a fan of the Margaret & H.A Rey books or if I have always been, but either way I love the Curious George stories (I also think monkeys are awesome). I have bought the books (and dolls) for years for friends. I am looking at an old bind-up edition of the books in my office. I bought it at the Mark Twain Library used book fair in Connecticut two years ago. If you live near there you should check it out this Labor Day.

Game of Thrones: I had to know what everyone was talking about. I have heard stories about obsessive readers and their fury in the books not being published fast enough. I watched the HBO series and am now diving into the books. I love it when TV and movies make me go back and read the book.

Kindle: Yes, my ereader is in this pile as well. I have two submissions I am reading on it now, as well as manuscripts that I have also acquired—middle grade boy series Fish Finelli! This is one of the original Kindles and the PREVIOUS PAGE button is broken on the machine. I really have to commit to a page turn—there is no looking back!

Why We Make Mistakes: Found this on a friend’s bookshelf and being neurotic about screwing up I thought I better read it. I have had this book for 5 months and haven’t opened it once. Maybe I am not as crazy as I think I am.

The Jane Austen Book Club: This is another one where the movie inspired me to read the book. Great way to adapt the classics into new form.

Kingpin: I heard about this on NPR—about a San Francisco computer hacker who stole credit card information for years. I read it on vacation in Mexico, where my credit card number was stolen at a bank protected ATM. Irony.

Bossypants: OK, I have already read this one too, but it is still on my nightstand. A smart, funny, talented, creative, hard-working, successful woman and mother—isn’t this what we all want to be? As one of Tina’s improv teachers once told her: “Fun is on the other side of yes.” Trying to live my life like this.

In The Garden of Beasts: Erik Larson—you are one of the best story-tellers ever. Nothing has quite compared to Devil in the White City. If you write it, I will read it.

Now, Discover Your Strengths: I’m in a book club at work. We read business books. I like how the NOW is so definitive.

A Short History of Nearly Everything: I always wish I was smarter than I am. So I read these books in order to know more. I haven’t really cracked this one open. See, not that smart.

The Sherlockian: I guess you could call this one a mash-up. New spin on the Holmes legend. Seems appropriate as I just bought a two book gas lamp fantasy series, where classic characters are portrayed in a new way.

Kelli Chipponeri
Executive Editor

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