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True story

Earlier this week, I had to write my new bio for the CYBILS Awards. (I am again reprising my job as the coordinator for the poetry category.) This year we decided as a group to focus on our personal reading histories, and I shared a story from when I was in fourth grade. And I nearly set the house on fire. Not with matches, mind you, but because I was trying to hide the fact that I was reading after bedtime. Not having a working flashlight, I opted to put my actual lamp under a heavy blanket, so I could sit under there and read.

It didn't occur to me (being something like 9 years old) that it would get hot under the blanket. Or that the plastic lamp shade would melt. But melt it did, and I had to confess what happened to my mother the next morning. (And then, I had to live with that mutant lampshade for quite a while because we couldn't afford a new one.)

But after I wrote the bio, I got to thinking that the lampshade debacle didn't stop me from sneaking additional reading time after bedtime. I used to climb out of bed and get down on the floor by my bedroom door so I could read by the teeny bit of light that came in under the door from the hall. Or if was a full moon, I'd haul myself over to the window and read by moonlight. Or if we lived somewhere where there was a streetlight outside (we moved a lot until I was 12), I'd read by whatever ambient light made its way in.

As I've gotten older, I haven't had to resort to such drastic measures in order to keep reading, but when I am reading (which is pretty much daily - I've been engaging in "comfort reading" lately, but will be moving my attention to my TBR pile sometime very soon), I continue to have issues with bedtime. I always want to read just a bit more, even when I know I should get to bed. And even when I know that I can read again the next morning, if I want.

What about you? Did you try to stay up late to read? Do you still sneak extra reading time? Do you do it for all books, or only for certain kinds?

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( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 30th, 2010 12:00 am (UTC)
I've never been able to read at night (ie, right up till bedtime) -- however, that doesn't stop me when the book is REALLY GOOD, either (it simply means that I won't sleep well and will have dreams which incorporate the book's characters/plot into my life somehow).
Aug. 30th, 2010 01:17 am (UTC)
I don't know that I've ever had books intrude into my dreams - that could be pretty wild, depending on what you're reading. (I would NOT want the Hunger Games showing up, for instance!)
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Aug. 30th, 2010 01:19 am (UTC)
Same. I love reading right before bed. Of course, it's part of why I'm engaging in comfort reading (re-reading of books I already know well) right now - otherwise, i get too driven to keep going and won't actually be able to focus on my own writing. Weird, but true.
Aug. 30th, 2010 12:53 am (UTC)
Friday night I stayed up after 2am reading Audrey Niffenegger's HER FEARFUL SYMMETRY because I HAD TO KNOW WHAT WAS GOING TO HAPPEN! I finally decided to wait and finish it up the next day, but after I turned off the light I couldn't go to sleep for thinking about it. I do that with books that I'm really into (if It's a weekend.)
Aug. 30th, 2010 01:20 am (UTC)
Same - particularly with books I'm reading for the first time. I do enjoy comfort reading (re-reading books I already know well), since I can put them down more easily (although not necessarily easily).
Aug. 30th, 2010 01:39 am (UTC)
I read every chance I get including bedtime. I think it helps me to sleep. What favorites are you rereading? Right nw I'm reading a Maine book published in 1946 called Ridge Runner and an book by Eric Sevaried called Paddling with the Cree about a canoe trip he took when he was 17 from Minnesota to Hudson's Bay. It fun to read that kind of stuff in Maine. Everyone up here remembers me as a kid saying, "I'll be right out. I just have tow more pages to read."
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:26 am (UTC)
I had been re-reading the Twilight books, but I've been re-reading the Pink Carnation books recently. I am probably going to binge-read in my TBR pile soon - so many new books I have to get to!
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:01 am (UTC)
I read every morning over coffee, and I try to read for a little while before starting dinner. If I read in bed, my husband thinks it means I'm not tired and I get no reading done anyway, so I rarely do! ;)

You know, I used to sneak reading time hunkered under the sheets too, and I don't remember it getting hot under there, as of course it must have.
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:28 am (UTC)
It was having the lamp under the quilt that was the issue. A flashlight or booklight doesn't cause the same sort of issue. Heh.
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
Just being under the covers, breathing in there, makes me uncomfortably warm!
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
Oh, I couldn't possibly do it now - I'd hyperventilate out of some conviction that I couldn't breathe. But when I was a kid, I could totally hide out under the covers for quite some time!
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:33 am (UTC)
Yeah, me too--which is why I wonder how I did it as a kid. Were we just oblivious? Or just that captivated?

Probably both!
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:55 am (UTC)
I still become completely engrossed/captivated/oblivious when I read as I did when I was a kid. As in, people can walk into the room and talk to me, and I quite literally do not hear or see them if I'm really caught up in what I'm reading.
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:59 am (UTC)
Heh-heh...I just PRETEND not to hear them. ;)
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:22 am (UTC)
absolutely yes :) I only do it these days for books that really grab me though. Usually fantasy or urban fantasy. That's a pretty funny story :)
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:30 am (UTC)
It is funny now, from a distance, but it was no joke at the time - I seriously almost set the blanket on fire, and I had to live with that busted-ass lamp shade for years.
Aug. 30th, 2010 02:31 am (UTC)
I understand :) Funny now, not funny then. And setting things on fire is not happy. Glad things turned out well with it. And I am glad you shared ^.^
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:35 am (UTC)
LOL! Close call! I would do anything to read when I was younger (and now, too!) I remember riding in the car and reading even when the last bits of light were disappearing from the sky. My mom and my grandma would always pipe in at that point and tell me that I was ruining my eyes!
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:10 pm (UTC)
I needed glasses by the time I was 10, and my mother always insisted it was because of all the night reading. Not sure that eyes actually work that way, but if so, I can't refute it!
Aug. 30th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
tanita says ...
Oh, I'd forgotten about reading under the crack at the bottom of the door!

I had my flashlight taken away - we weren't allowed to have them in our rooms, nor candles, so those options were removed. However! No one could stop the streetlight, the hall nightlight or the bathroom night light!

The problem for me was that I was usually prohibited from reading in daylight; if my father caught me, the book was confiscated (and God help me if it was fiction) -- and I was told that if I had time to "waste" he had jobs for me to do. Yay, laundry and ironing! Yay, weeding, and picking up dog doo!

I sometimes wonder how I love to read so much when I was completely punished for it!! But it was a battle of wills that I won - a.) I left home, b.) I read all weekend long sometimes - all night, all day, c.) I became an English major and a linguist.

And a writer.
The final revenge.
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:12 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says ...
I had my flashlight taken away, too, having been caught using it to read. I was allowed to read during the day, though, so at least I had it better than you. Glad to hear I'm not the only one who read by slivers of ambient light!

And you have indeed compensated well for your early life deprivations!
Aug. 30th, 2010 12:41 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is an excellent story!

Sometimes I wonder if my love of winter is bc it was easier to sneak more reading time due to the Christmas lights around my window. I was allowed to have them on... don't think it occurred to Mom and Dad I could read by that dim light. Probably shouldn't have been, either!
Aug. 30th, 2010 03:13 pm (UTC)
That makes perfect sense to me. Reading by Christmas lights would've been better than moonlight (most nights), and I did that more than once!
Aug. 30th, 2010 10:49 pm (UTC)
My brother and I always took books with us on trips. I often got car sick, but read when I could. My brother didn't let anything stop him, including the setting sun. He'd hold the book up so that he could read in the headlights of the cars behind us on the highway.
Aug. 30th, 2010 11:05 pm (UTC)
I usually got carsick when reading as well, so I never did it all that much. Still, I have done that - read in the car AND used the headlights from following cars to read by!
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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