Words for the Wee Hours

What do you do if you wake in the middle of the night, for me those hours between midnight and 3 a.m.? (I go to bed by 8:30 and rise before 5.) I am able to return to sleep sometimes, but too often I’ve got things on my mind that keep sleep out of reach. If I make it to 4 am without success, I surrender and begin my day.

Some people read to lull themselves into the land of nod. I struggle with that because a good book can carry me all the way to daylight. That has happened lately.

Two days ago, I began All My Rage by Sabaa Tahir. I resisted sleep in those darkest hours to exist in Salahudin’s and Noor’s world, the dusty landscape of Juniper, California. I turned the final page yesterday in the bright sunlight that broke through our picture windows, but it had been a keep-me-awake experience . Tears flowed. If you haven’t read it, and you enjoy reading, get it! Despite its categorization as a young adult title, great writing defies age ranges. Tahir’s exquisite writing does that.

“Sleep’s not happening, so I flip on the light and make my way to Ama’s desk, where a stack of bills has tipped over, half covering a stapler that only works if you sacrifice a box of staples to it first. The fate of this place—of me and Abu—lies in that stack” (77). Moments like this separate me from my sleep.

Last night I checked out an ebook that had been on my radar for awhile: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. Ushered so completely into the world of Elizabeth Zott, it became impossible to leave. This novel, both funny and heart-breaking, clever yet profound, held me captive from my midnight awakening until the last time check at 3 am.

I’m foggy as I write this, and eager to return to the California lab, to Elizabeth and daughter Madelaine and the machinations of a misogynist scientific research lab director, but I know if I do, I’ll not get anything else done until the percentage read reads 100—and I’m only at 46.

What would you do, a day trip or another sleepless night counting pages instead of sheep? This is a reader’s dilemma.

9 thoughts on “Words for the Wee Hours”

  1. I did not think I would get some book recommendations when I clicked on the teaser about sleep but alas I did. Thank you! When I wake up at 3AM (sigh) I tend to wait it out, but a good book sounds better.

    1. I love reading and when I fall under the spell of a compelling story, I’m a goner (but not to sleep). Thanks for reading.

  2. I enjoyed Lessons in Chemistry so very much! And also read past my bedtime a couple of nights while I was reading it. I have to be super careful with bedtime reading so it’s engaging enough for me to keep reading but not so page-turny that I need to stay up late reading. I can’t ever read YA at night!! But I have heard great things about All My Rage and really want to read it.

  3. It is the power of books to keep you reading well into the night or all night. It is so easy to forget the time when immersed in the world of characters you care about and the plights they face.

  4. Plan to watch the day disappear! (I’m jealous—though I’m reading Maggie O’Farrell’s The Marriage Portraitand really liking it, so reading is on my agenda, too.) Thanks for reading.

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