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Whatever gets you through the night

23rd January 2012 - Rachel Darling

 

A casual conversation about night-time reading led Rachel Darling to devise a wonderfully quirky promotion for our Charing Cross Road branch. Her question: what do you read when you can't get to sleep?

 

Reading in bedAs a child I used to read underneath the blanket with a torch, I'm sure many other similarly bookish kids did. I remember the thrill of this reading environment, something which, as you get older, is impossible to recapture. The experience of reading at night changes along with your reasons for doing so.

This January we have put together a list of books, suggestions by members of staff, that they read when they can't sleep. Following the tumult of the festive period, readjusting to, well, 'normal' life and returning to an established routine can be difficult. Watching something mindless on television might, admittedly, be a simpler way to ease this bout of post-Christmas insomnia but there is something so comforting about returning to an old favourite book.

If comfort is what you're after then cookery books, like Roast Chicken and Other Stories and the various River Cottage Handbooks are great, as well as poetry and short stories, presumably because they can be dipped in and out of.

The Sherlock Holmes Stories by Arthur Conan DoyleHowever some of the books suggested seem to recall that excitement that reading at night as a child provided; books of exploration and investigation, like Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness or the Sherlock Holmes stories, which, incidentally was the suggestion that got this whole idea started.

Favourite children's titles like The Hobbit and Harry Potter also made an appearance. These choices seem to reinforce the idea of reading as an adventure, which perhaps, retrospectively, goes some way to explaining my earlier addiction to maps as bedtime reading.

As a child you're lucky in that everything is new and exciting to you and there is such a lot to discover. Sadly we now have to work a little harder to reinstate that enviable feeling of awe.


Below is a complete list of all the books suggested by Foyles staff; do let us know your choice of night-time reading on Facebook.

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