Night Delight

Recently it has been a pleasure to retire to bed at about half nine in the evening for some quality reading time.  Stopping to make a hot chocolate which always gets the reading off right, then leaving it to cool off next to my funky touch lamp before picking up whichever book is currently occupying my imagination.

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Stars and the to be reviewed pile.

The beauty of the lamp accompanying the chosen literature is the intimate setting it creates, beyond the book everything is either obscured by the dark or its impact on the peripheral vision lessened so that the small zone of light contains the reader’s only focus on the many adventures to be undertaken.

The accompanying silence as the night wears on – if you are lucky enough to live away from main roads and such – adds a lot of atmosphere, as it did when I picked up Stephen King’s Desperation, and The Stand where 99% of the word’s population has died (not that this appalling tally seems to be noticed as this is all set in America) and the survivors are left to their almost totally silent world.

The night though is versatile, after extensive reading research throughout the years particularly vivid memories of 2001: A Space Odyssey and its three sequels, The Rama series, and Solaris which being Sci-Fi come to mind.  It feels right to read the genre at night as it does horror, like the stories of M.R. James, and Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, which is the only horror book that I have been genuinely creeped out by.

Treasure Island, King Solomon’s Mines, and Journey to the Centre of the Earth are all great examples of books to read in the quiet; such epic adventures and dramas in far off places and times, much removed from today’s world and better for it.  The ageing of Narnia is also particularly striking both when the imagination is allowed full focus on its details and also to wander down roads unexplored.

Most interestingly Irene Nemirovsky’s unfinished Fire in the blood – a novel of family drama set in rural Burgundy and full of an earthy richness that just pulls the reader in – had me enamoured,  I believe that thanks to the attention that I could allow it, having none of the distractions of the daytime to put up with, the steady pacing and beautifully written prose contained in its brief span could be fully realised and appreciated,

Sleeping seems overrated when there is so much to be read and an increasing amount of time is taken up in the futile pursuit to trying to get down the pile of unread books but that’s okay,  I’d much rather have words than the rest.

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79 Replies to “Night Delight”

      1. The number of people who have said to me over the years: I love reading, but I don’t have time!
        And I’m always like, come on! You DO have time, you just choose to spend it watching Netflix, or wasting hours on Youtube…hence you don’t love reading and you’re not a reader.

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        1. Exactly! There is so much competition around but like jogging or something, once you start it is really worthwhile but it’s getting over the laziness or at least limiting oneself to the time we spend on other things. Admittedly I am watching The Wire again for the second Time in six months and that is extremely rewarding (even on the sixth run through I am seeing more things I missed) but some of the rubbish put out as ‘entertainment’ is truly shocking.

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          1. Oh gosh yes, I watch films and stuff too (just re-watched Stranger Things from the beginning as it is so good!) but I limit the time I spend on all that because I NEED to read!

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            1. Have you watched Channel Zero? It’s been overshadowed by Stranger Things but it a good watch and only about seven episodes, good enough for a weekend binge before reading in bed. Reading isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity to us and we really are carrying on a millenias old tradition which we are right to be proud of.

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                1. It isn’t I came across it when my mate had downloaded the whole thing off of whatever it is people use for such things, it is on Amazon if you have that. We feed each other’s need to read, I like that, they should make a film about us.

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        2. I have to disagree with you there. I love to read, but I don’t have time as I have a family that takes precedence over anything else, and with one of my kids having a disability and my disability as well, it takes a lot of my time and as a result it limits my time for reading. That doesn’t mean I don’t love reading or I am not a reader because I am. Life stops me from reading as much as I want to.

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  1. What I will never understand is the supposedly scientific research that dictates that reading before bedtime (along with more understandably prohibited activities like gazing at a computer screen with its light) keeps people awake at night! For most of my life, I’ve read before bed, and the only thing that ever keeps me from dropping off almost in the middle of putting the book down is the book itself, if I want to continue reading. But sometimes, even with a very good suspense book, it’s just lights out! for me at a certain point, when my eyelids start to droop. I wonder a bit if those researchers were never read to as children before bed, or something, or never read to themselves at that time, and are envious of the rest of us!

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    1. I have never managed to stay up all night as I know some readers can. No matter how good the book is, I like to have some sleep, even if just four hours. Reading does make me tired but in a good way and I would much rather do that to lull me to sleep than anything else.

      Researchers always seem to find one thing, which is usually disproved years later anyway, well it always seems that way that contrary advice comes out. Talk about being paranoid about one’s health when we are told all these things are contrary to what we know. Reading habits can’t really be changed when it is so addictive.

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      1. The point you make about research saying one thing one moment and another the next is more down to the reporting than the research. News people are looking for a simple story so they tend to round the nuances to research off to the nearest sensation. Many researchers are reluctant to engage with news people because of this. Another point to make is that research is always under contestation. Findings in science eventually settle into narrower debates, but this takes years or even decades. Findings in the humanities, on the other hand, only seem to be consensual on the most basic things. Mind you, didn’t Marx once insist that he wasn’t a Marxist?!

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        1. That is true, science is a slow process but a lot more rigorous than anything faith based so that is all to the good. I despair of the news these days, it is shockingly bad, except for a handful of journalists and of course Private Eye, still at least we don’t have the rabid Fox News yet.

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    1. I tend to find if I sleep early I can sneak in some reading before work, it doesn’t make me feel as bad then. If I am not in bed by ten, I do feel like I’m having a ‘late one’.

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  2. I like the idea of winding down at night with books that conjure up soporific visions of darkness.

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  3. Fantastic post! I can’t sleep at night unless I am able to read first, unlike my husband who can sleep anywhere, at any time. I can easily fall asleep sitting at the kitchen table in the middle of a conversation but the act of going to bed seems to wake me up! Most novels will do for night-time reading as will travel, biography. the natural world and letters. We are fortunate to live well away from main roads so my reading is often accompanied by nightbirds calling, owls hooting and the wind in the trees.

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    1. I would welcome a place with wildlife, rather than the cat howls I sometimes here. It is strange, that feeling tired and going to bed wakes a person up, still it gives me more reading time so I will take it.

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  4. I have never been able to read in bed, but I usually get up early, which is, for me, the best time to read. No one is up and I can enjoy the peace and quiet while I read, It is also a good time to catch up on other blogs. As for when I prefer to read horror books? N-E-V-E-R!
    Happy reading, my friend.

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    1. Blogging is easier in the morning, mainly because America is still asleep and I can catch up or at least attempt to visit. I wonder if I could try reading early and sleep late…

      Some horror is great, especially some dated horror, that isn;t scary anymore but just has a really good atmosphere to it.

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      1. The first Star Wars scared me to death, so much so that I don’t watch any of them. To me books are worse when it comes to horror or thrillers. I’m definitely a big chicken.

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        1. Haha, Star War! That is brilliant. After the original three Star Wars films you aren’t missing that much though. Horror can be worse, especially when read alone as well, I do love to read the old Gothic horrors though, even though they aren’t scary anymore, they still have a sinister edge.

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  5. Been managing to read some by bed-time, and it’s comforting to know I’m not yet grown out of that habit. Hot chocolate seems like a perfect drink to accompany reading. I love your lamp, it seems right of a fairytale kind of thing, what with the vintage glowing look. I’m doing a Harry Potter marathon and can’t love it enough. Interested in knowing what’re you upto.
    P.S.: I missed messaging you back as was with dad, he’s been keeping unwell this start of the year.

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    1. Totally understandable my friend, just let me know when you are free and we can catch up.

      A Harry Potter marathon eh? I am currently surfing around a number of genres and really trying to get in as many books as possible, as I want to do lots of reviews this year. Hot chocolate can add to the drowsiness of being in bed but I don’t mind snoozing early once in a while.

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      1. Yeah, I’m loving the fact that I return home to a HP book waiting for me. You’ve always been someone to willingly explore varied genres; I however seem to have quite a reservation with that. Don’t ask me why though.
        I’d perhaps, have a cup of tea ready for you, to keep you from drowsy when you are enjoying reading something worthwhile. 😛

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        1. A cup of tea would be most pleasant my friend. I used to avoid certain genres but then I realised that I am missing out on some amazing books by doing so and that can only be a bad thing. rereading is good though, I look forward to remembering some fine stories soon.

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  6. Oh, how I wish I could sneak into bed…sadly, the puppy and the boy and the husband have boobytrapped my passageway. So now I just fall into bed after everyone else is asleep, read a paragraph or two and shut down the light, knowing I’ll usually be the first to wake. I can’t remember seeing the job description before I signed up for this.

    I’m reading a YA called “Samurai Rising: The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune.” So far, it’s quite good. Lots of decapitations to send me off to sleep. Seriously, despite the violence, it’s a fabulous read. Cheers!

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  7. Lovely post and lovely stars! I like it when my work schedule says I can sit in bed reading before breakfast rather than zipping upstairs to type or edit away, and did that this morning. Unfortunately, my husband has a VERY BRIGHT daylight lamp he needs to use in the winter mornings, only a month or so of that left to go now!

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  8. I try to read at nights, but don’t always have the time as sometimes I am not able to get to bed until gone 2 in the morning. I don’t think I can remember what going to bed before 12 is like. I think the last time I did that was when my kids stayed at their mum’s, I was ill, I was married or I didn’t have kids.

    I am currently reading three books – Shadeward: Exoneration, Deadhouse Gates, and Ready Player One.

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    1. Blimey, that is some epic lateness, the body adjusts over time which is something, even if it is not ideal. I have heard many good things about Ready Player One, I didn’t read it whilst I was in the US, add that to the list of missed opportunities.

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  9. This is like an homage to the joy of reading, Ste J 😀 I just LOVE it. And that lamp looks perfect, though it’s not TOO dim?

    And I totally get the whole “sleeping is a waste of time” thing, having spent my life (since a teenager) as a night owl and burning both ends, but it’s actually critical to your health. Trust me—I know! And not that I don’t love when a book is so good, it keeps me awake all night lol

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    1. The lamp is perfect, illuminates the page and little else so I can lose myself completely. I quite like the sensation of burning the candle at both ends but sometimes give in and have a nap in the afternoon on my days off.

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      1. I understand, dear friend. And so far it doesn’t seem to have affected your health that I can tell from here. I just know I learned too late what not sleeping enough and at the right time of night does to the body 😦 Enjoy that magical globe! 😀

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  10. Wonderful to read your writing, Ste J. I’ve quickly scanned and consumed a couple of months worth — congrats on returning to the land of the living day and your move! You’re a brave soul to pack all those books (I gave up doing that long ago but my dream it to live in small shack some day ;)) Btw – it the lamp the star globe in the first snap? If yes, I want one as it sounds perfect for I am not a big fan of unnatural light. Best to you in 2017!

    P.S. for your graphic novel foray – check out March (at least book one) if you want a bit of U.S. history written by one of the fine Representatives that marched and met MLK, Jr. only to be bullied this week via twitter from the president elect… sigh, what a mess, this country! Non-political, check out Kafka’s Metamorphosis and of course, Maus. Cheers!

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    1. It was a mad time moving all those books but it was worth it so they could surround me again, ven having them in a random order feels dramatic now. the star globe is the lamp yes, it gives off just enough light to read by, it’s perfect for my needs and adds to my reading no end.

      I’ve read Mouse and have Metamorphosis on my shelves somewhere, March sounds intriguing. Trump on Twitter is just a joke, the man knows no shame. A spoof paper The Daily Mash posted that Trump had threatened Iran and promoted Budweiser via Twitter and before seeing it was from the Mash I actually believed it…frightening.

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      1. Ha! Anything is possible, right? What gravy for comedians – you cannot make this stuff any more amusing. I currently follow the White House and POTUS on Twitter and will disband thou I do wonder if they are going to let him touch the POTUS account. I shall try to be more present on WP – my 2017, postTrump goal is to speak out with my words! You’ve been warned… Peace ~ a

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      2. I canNOT believe that man will be sitting at that desk in that office. He’s a moron beyond belief. We’re going from an eloquent, intelligent man with insight and the ability to reason, to a “man” (and his family) who’s as shallow as his vocabulary!

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  11. It’s a lovely post. And I adore the lamp – it’s beautiful; has a kind of softness, gentleness to it.
    I, too, read in bed. I usually fall asleep pretty soon, but sometimes I stay up late. It was George Sand who kept me awake the last time…
    Even though I love reading before getting to sleep, I often miss the times when I would just lay and think – I would imagine a scene, a situation, a statement and then test my probable reactions and thoughts, exploring where they came from, reasoning if they should be altered…

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    1. Interesting, I go the opposite way, I lay and think of those unexplored places, whether it be on a map contained in a book, or a door they elected not to open. It fills out the world for me even if it just a closet for cleaning materials, which it is sometimes if I am really sleep and want to put the thoughts to bed.

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  12. I’d rather read than sleep too. That’s a great lamp to read and dream by. For some reason, those end of the world novels like The Stand are a lot of fun. If you haven’t read Station Eleven or Earth Abides you might like those for some more quiet night reading.

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    1. I have Station Eleven somewhere. There is something grimly pleasing about apocalyptic fiction and the same goes for films, although the books usually have some substance to them.

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      1. I’ve wondered why I love apocalyptic fiction so much. It does seem like a strange thing to love while also loving the world. I guess it’s for the chance to get back to nature or to see societies that have slowed down a bit without all the craziness.

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        1. It seems the consensus in books and film is that we need a grim disaster to make it all alright again. I am fond of the visual spectacle that books and films create, I suppose we all like our grim fascinations to be just fiction though…well most of us.

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  13. Many times I’ve meant to go to sleep early but a book has led me astray in the quiet and dark! The Stand is one of my all time favourites, like Sheila I love apocalyptic fiction!

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    1. Reading is a true addiction, the quiet hours are just perfect for it, I am tempted to try and sleep in the day again so I can get my reading time in again.

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    1. Thank you, it turns out I had done a separate draft of this sometime back and it read better so I will recycle what I can into other blog posts as and when I can.

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        1. I have an idea but me being me, it is getting out of hand, I have an idea for a four book series but what I want demands a lot of research so it is going slowly but I hope to one day. Until then I will keep reading and learning as I can.

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  14. I guess I’m weird… I don’t like to read in quiet. I must have music, or ambient rustling/bustling of other humans.
    Then again, I don’t really prefer quiet unless I’m in the mountains, because then it’s a noisy quiet, if you know what I mean.

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    1. Nature’s quiet is always full of life. I have tried reading with a bit of classical in the background, things I’m not familiar with so I don’t go all dramatic like I do when I hear the 1812 Overture for example.

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  15. Did you know radio 4 extra had their sci fi dramatised versions of books on from midnight to 1am? I’m not sure if that’s still the case. I prefer romance and the like at that time of night – not the badly written, cheesy chick lit kind though. If I have to listen or read to that (as something easy to read/listen to) it could be day or night. Not a big sci fi fan myself.

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    1. Ah thank you, I didn’t know about that, I will have to see if I can catch up with it. It’s a good hour for sci-fi I find, especially if it is a story with a lot of mystery to it. I can never find time for chick lit!

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  16. Another fine post. Thanks for the reminder about Irene Nemirovsky, who I read and enjoyed thanks to one of your earlier reviews. I’d forgotten the name.

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    1. This is a blast from the past. I read her debut The misunderstanding last year so that needs a review, then I only have Suite Francaise to read. I think she is the most underrated author that I have yet come across.

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    1. I am now reading Suite Francaise, and three chapters in and I am excited for the time that I can read some more. I really enjoyed Jezabel, if you come across a selection. The Misunderstanding is my least favourite but it was her first novel so it isn’t quite as good as .later offerings.

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