Bedtime Stories & Past-My-Bedtime Stories
Sleep has been very much on my mind, over the past few weeks.
I’m working the opening shift at the library, as I have been for the past few months. With one change: for the summer, we’re opening at 8 AM instead of 9 AM. Now, it’s only an hour’s difference, so it shouldn’t be throwing me off. And yet. (Among other things, it means heading out to start my day before my lovely, friendly neighborhood coffee shop opens. Thank goodness for bottled cold brew!) So yes, whine, whine, mornings! Whine!
Early to rise means putting myself to bed earlier than is my custom, which has gotten at least somewhat easier as the early rising hours have caught up to me and begun to turn my brain to pudding by 9 PM. But only somewhat. I’ve at least been going through the motions of putting myself to bed early: pajamas on and pillows plumped, ready to curl up at a decent hour to read a chapter or two of a nice book.
And there’s where we run into trouble.
Just a few pages? No problem, that sounds like just the thing to be a lovely end to my day.
But… it’s so very hard to stop after just a few pages. Just a few pages turns into just a few chapters turns into “Ugh, wait, what time is it? Not again!”
I have learned from experience that the very sort of book I think fondly of cozying up in bed to read: YA fantasy, whimsical historical mystery, foodie fiction… is exactly the sort of book I am absolutely not allowed to read in bed. Because then it will be after midnight and ugh.
And, though you might think that re-reading a book would render me immune to being carried away by it until the wee hours: you’d be wrong. Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs got me twice, and so did My Most Excellent Year, by Steve Kluger.
Reading a good book feels like being carried away into a wonderful, vivid dream: being immersed in adventures and characters that seem so real that pages (and sometimes hours) fall away. Without, unfortunately, the restful benefits of actual sleep. Sigh. I wish reading a good book counted as sleep. Because it’s so much more fun than lying in the dark, and essentially, twiddling my thumbs.
Audiobooks are a decent compromise, I suppose. My go-to audiobooks are nostalgic tales about country doctors: James Herriot’s All Creatures Great and Small series, and Patrick Taylor’s Irish Country doctor. Each is read by a nice gent with a lovely accent. Even stories of lambing and appendicitis wind up being cozy and soothing. You’ll have to trust me on this.
Short stories work, as well. Which reminds me, I need to replenish my stock of good fantasy tales and foodie essay collections. Why aren’t bedtime story collections more of a thing? Bite sized fairy tales or short, nostalgic pieces, of just a few pages each would be brilliant.
Of course, if I got my hands on a really good collection, I’d probably zoom through an hour’s worth of several tales at a time.
Hazards of reading in bed.
Thanks to Alyse at Casper Mattresses, who inspired this post by suggesting that I write about bedtime stories.