A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4

This week’s Two-For-Tuesday prompt from Rae at Rae’s Reads and Reviews is

Two books that help you sleep at night

This was the hardest prompt of the four for me because, simply, books don’t help me sleep.  Melatonin does or a glass of red wine.

If a book did start to put me to sleep, I’d put the thing down pretty quickly and probably never pick it up again. Even after the nap. Life is too short.

The books that I love are the ones that stimulate me, teach me, challenge me, or cart me off to some unknown world, literally (as with fiction and memoir) or figuratively (as with non-fiction). I don’t love books that put me to sleep.

I rarely read at night. I’ve found that when I do — like recently when I was going to bed with Amy Tan —  I don’t put the damn thing down until nearly dawn.  Bad habit.  Must get sleep.

I picked up an abandoned copy of The Deep End Of the Ocean on an Amtrak cross country trek one afternoon many years ago and didn’t put it down until 2 am. I have no memory of dinner that night.

Woody has learned he is not to speak to me if I’m reading a novel.  Not so with any non-fiction. But a good novel grabs me, hooks me and will not let me go. And I am not a particularly nice person in the interim.

 

Many thanks to storydam.com for this image.

 

Perhaps that’s why I rarely read novels. Before I start one, I must know I can afford to let it completely absorb me.

When I do read, it’s generally in the daytime. And it’s generally in a comfy chair.

The afternoon between whatever exercise regime I’m currently into and dinner works well. Woody does the cooking, so I’m free between four and six, which is a good sized window for a good book (so long as it’s not a novel).

I have two favorite spots for reading in the winter: my easy chair in my office

 

The office chair and ottoman

and my recliner in the living room.

The recliner

 

Can you tell I like to put my feet up?

In the summer, I prefer the screened-in gazebo down by the pond. But I rarely read in the summer. There’s simply too much else to do.

When I read, I have a pen and notepad handy.

If I plan to write a review, I’ll need my notes. Otherwise, if it’s a nonfiction piece, I outline. And if it’s a print book I own, I underline. Novels and memoirs are generally on my Kindle, so they get highlighted rather than simply underlined.

And I like to have something to drink handy: hot tea in the winter, ice tea or water in the summer, maybe a seltzer.

How about you? How do you read? 

I’ll be back tomorrow with an update on Lindsay’s ordeal, in her words.

20 Responses

  1. Tim Fearnside
    | Reply

    hmm . . . how do I read? Well, slowly, for one. I really wish I could read faster, but I wasn’t blessed with that gene. Also, in bunches. Usually, several books in a row, then a period of relative inactivity, for whatever reason. I also tend to read more than one book at at a time. Sometimes, it’s 3 or 4 at once, with a side book of poetry or something sitting in the wings that I nibble and pick at along the way. Unlike you, I tend to read a lot in bed, or (like you) in a comfy chair or couch. I tend to read fiction and non-fiction more or less equally. Not sure what else to add, although I find it an interesting question, as I haven’t given it a great deal of thought before!

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Tim. It wasn’t so long ago that I noticed I had three of four books going at the same time; seemed like I had one at each chair and one or two on my Kindle, unfinished. I decided I was multi-tasking to a ridiculous extent and just decided not to do that. So I don’t. Wow; how I wish all my decisions were so easy to follow through on. And yes, I too realized as I was writing that that I’d never given much thought to my reading; it just was. Thanks for starting us off this time.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  2. Darlene Foster
    | Reply

    I am a slow reader and can’t sit still for long. So it takes me a while to get through a book. I love to sit in the sun and read and in Spain that is just about every day. I try to read at least 1 hour a day or more if possible. I even sit in the pool in the summer with a book. The kids know not to splash me. When I worked, I read on the bus/skytrain on the way to and from work. That’s almost 2 hours a day. I miss that.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Darlene. You’ve taken me back to that once upon a time, long, long ago, when I’d sit by a pool and read. These days there seems to be too much glare for me to do that comfortably, even with the Kindle that claims to have no glare. It’s not the screen, it’s the eyes. So, in the summertime, if I’m going to read outside, it’ll be in the shade. When I worked, I always commuted by car, bike, or feet, so reading was out. I envy those who can take a train and open up a book. Seems a most civilized way to live. Thanks for joining us today.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  3. Clive Pilcher
    | Reply

    I’m with you on this. Reading, or anything which keeps my eyes and brain active (e.g. tv), isn’t conducive to a good night’s sleep. A time and place for everything!
    Clive Pilcher recently posted…Summer of ’69My Profile

  4. Merril D Smith
    | Reply

    I always read before bed, and I always have a novel to read. Nonfiction is work reading, and I feel like I have to take notes. So–pretty much the opposite of everything you do. 😉
    Merril D Smith recently posted…A WishMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Merril. I don’t find the note taking to be a task at all; in fact, it helps me retain what I’m reading. It’s a doing thing, active rather than passive. Seems to work for me. I used to read in bed — that’s where I met Brenda Ueland, you know. (I do so love to say that.) But now I use that time to just think back over my day. Or play a bit of iPhone Sudoku, my new vice.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  5. Marian Beaman
    | Reply

    I read with my feet on an ottoman. (The writing business can make for swollen ankles.) If I read in bed, I fall asleep.

    Non-fiction usually, with a novel for fun.
    Marian Beaman recently posted…My Cover Reveal: Behind the ScenesMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hey Marian, Aren’t ottomans the best invention since . . . dare I say oven cleaner? Novels get me charged up — Kite Runner, Women’s Room, most of John Steinbeck or Barbara Kingsolver. And then there’s Outlander. I have no life at all once I pick up the Outlander series again. So, you’ve gotten me thinking anew on what I actually read for fun. I’m not sure I do. Fun is an outing with Sasha, or a card game with my kids. Hmmm… Must chew on that one. Thanks.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  6. Ally Bean
    | Reply

    I read very much like you do. I have sitting spots around the house where I curl up with books. I don’t take a book to bed because I want to be involved in the book, stay awake. I keep paper and pen ready, too. So taking those to bed would just be messy. 😊
    Ally Bean recently posted…Thou Shalt Not Doubt: Overheard While Picking Up Chinese Carry-outMy Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Birds of a feather, Ally, once again. One of these days, we must meet. Perhaps we’ll find we were separated at birth. I’ll check with my mom.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  7. Tracy Rittmueller
    | Reply

    Not surprising that I read very much like you do — with pen and paper or notecards in hand, and not very often in bed because that’s where I sleep.

    I also read like a writer in that I’m usually examining the book’s structure, literary devices, allusions, and themes. Recently I’ve been writing less and writing more because I’m trying to do less, with greater focus and presence. It feels weird, as if I’m being lazy, but I know that’s a trick my inflated ego is trying to play on me, so I’m ignoring b*tch* her.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Good point, Tracy. I often find myself “reading like a writer,” and I will say it has often interrupted the flow of the story a bit. Redundancies jump out at me. I’m in a mind set now where I want to minimize — including words used to convey an idea. Simple sentences, say it once, that sort of thing. And, now that you mention it, I too can claim to be trying to “do” less. That still takes quite a bit of energy, ironically. Thanks so much for joining us today.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  8. Joan Z. Rough
    | Reply

    I do read in bed, but only novels. During the day I read with my feet propped up and that’s when I’ll read nonfiction. Any book that helps me sleep at night gets tossed into the bag that gets donated to the library, unfinished. The older I get the easier it gets to stop reading what is boring. I used to plow through those out of guilt, but now I need every bit of time to read really good books.

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      Hi Joan. Ah that “to the library” bag. So important. Twice a year our library has a “book sale” where they display all the donations they don’t want (only so much shelf space, afterall) and you can collect as many as you want, all for a contribution. I love used books. Can’t recall the last time I bought a brand new one; especially a hard cover. Maybe college? Let’s go put up our feet, Joan, and open up that next good book. Thanks for writing.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  9. Laurie Buchanan
    | Reply

    Janet — I l-o-v-e to read! I sit in the La-Z-Boy, put my feet up, turn my Kindle on, and tune the world out. In January I read 8 books. I’m currently on my 6th book for the month of February.

    As an author, I understand how valuable reviews are. With that in mind, I make a point of writing and posting a brief review the moment I finish a book—while it’s fresh on my mind.
    Laurie Buchanan recently posted…Rock On!My Profile

    • Janet Givens
      | Reply

      I would guess you are a Kindle user, Laurie. I’m curious now how many print books you might actually own. Fewer than 10, I’m guessing. Which reminds me, when will your two books come out in eBook format? Good idea on the immediate reviews. I sometimes do that, but not nearly as often as I might.
      Janet Givens recently posted…A Two for Tuesday Tag Prompt #4My Profile

  10. Rae
    | Reply

    I completely understand where you’re coming from for this one, it was difficult for me to choose two books for this prompt, too. I’ll definitely put things like that into consideration for next month’s prompts 😀

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