Happy Book Lovers Day!
If you're reading this (which I can only assume you are), I'm in NYC! I just flew in yesterday and I've got a thousand book nerdy things planned (Strand Books, a bookstore with 18 miles of books; Alice's Tea Cup, a tea room and cafe decorated a la Alice in Wonderland; and more!). I couldn't be happier to be spending Book Lovers Day here.
You know, one of the magical things about books is that they can put you to sleep and that doesn't necessarily mean they're boring. Most things that put you to sleep aren't well loved, but books are different. So here are a few of my favorite books for reading before bed.
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
Audrey Niffenegger is the master wordsmith behind one of my favorite books of all time, The Time Traveler's Wife, though her other books haven't reached that same level of notoriety. Which is a shame because her other books are wonderful too! This one in particular makes for a good bedtime story because the writing is smooth enough to lull you into sleep, but the plot is eery enough to keep you reading just a little while longer. That's exactly the kind of book you want after a long day when you just want to relax and actually get some reading done before falling asleep. P.S. Props if you got the William Blake reference in the title. No judgment if not, though!
State of Wonder by Ann Patchett
Ann Patchett writes beautifully. Like, truly. She could chisel words into rock and I'd lug the rocks around to read them. While I was reading State of Wonder, I'd read myself to sleep and have the most fantastical dreams of glowing rainforests filled with fireflies and neon electric snakes. I'm not saying all those things appear in the book, though they were influenced by some of the descriptions therein. Sometimes a good bedtime story stays with you after you've fallen asleep and you wake with fantastical dreams to prove it.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Talk about fantastical dreams. I'd be remiss if I didn't include Alice in Wonderland. After all, the whole story is a dream. Or is it?
Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
In truth, I'm not entirely sure if this book makes for a good bedtime story or not. You see, I tried to read it several times and I always fell asleep after reading chapter one and forgot everything that happened prior. Charles Dickens is my insomnia antidote. Who knew! It's hard to judge whether a story is a good one if you can't seem to stay awake long enough to really dig into it, so I'll leave that one for you to decide.
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
With its short chapters (usually just 1-4 pages each) and artfully rendered prose, The House on Mango Street is the perfect book to read yourself to sleep with. It makes you think about your life and the plight of those just struggling to get by, though the concepts are easily understood, so it's not going to make your head implode right before bed. Squeezing in a little social awareness and understanding issues about poverty is a fine use of your time when you've got a few minutes to spare.
The Napping House by Audrey Wood, illustrated by Don Wood
I just wouldn't be right if I didn't include my book my family used to read me to make me fall asleep as a toddler. Ironically, the book is about napping and there's a whole cast of characters who nap--well, sort of. My mom and grandmother would read the book over and over again until I fell asleep and once I memorized it, I'd recite it to myself until I fell asleep. Just think about the sleepless child I would've been had it not been for The Napping House and learning to read myself to sleep at a young age.