What’s On Your Nightstand?: Topical Applications

I’ve been thankful, in the past week, for things that can be applied topically, bug spray in particular: It’s High Mosquito Season here in the Mid-Atlantic (and many other regions). Who wants to be troubled by pesky flying insects when you’re comfily esconced on a chaise in your backyard, in the middle of a great read?

No one, that’s who, but for me in particular, thinking about bug spray led to thinking about the phrase “topical application” which led to thinking how funny it is that “topical” can refer to a surface, but also to a subject area. (Yes, I’m a wild woman.) That reminded me of the times in my reading life during which I’ve followed one subject down a rabbit hole. Often, but not only, were these times centered around school. Sometimes I just get on a kick about a time period or a historical figure and want to read lots of stuff about it or her. A few years back, it was Marie Antoinette. Last year, it was the Mitford Sisters. This summer, it’s natural history and solitary individuals (Muir, Carson, Audobon).

I know I’m not alone in this. From time to time your TBR pile has resembled a library catalog number, hasn’t it? This week, tell us about the topics that have you gathering up essays, histories, biographies, treatises…you name it.  I can’t wait to hear about your topical fascinations–and hope those skeeters stay far away from you.