Can’t Sleep; Must Finish Reading


By Jenny Bullough, Manager of Digital Production for Carina Press and occasional fiction-induced insomniac

I always, always read before I go to sleep at night. I have for as long as I can remember. For me, it’s the best way to lay the stresses of the day to rest, and slowly relax by escaping into another world — a world where I am reasonably sure things will come to a satisfying conclusion and, unlike in life, all loose threads will be neatly wrapped up eventually :)

I choose my bedtime reads very carefully for this reason. No thrillers; no suspense; nothing too dark or dystopian. Romance, cozy mystery, sometimes a complex sci fi or fantasy. (Sometimes, if my darling husband is really lucky, a spicy erotic romance. Rowr!) But nothing too exciting or too sad. After all, the goal with my bedtime reads is not to end the day feeling weepy or anxious, but relaxed and happy.

Last Sunday night I had a rare experience. I settled into bed with my ereader for my usual pre-lights-out relaxing read. But then… the book I was reading got good. I mean REALLY GOOD. Un-put-downable. The plot took a turn, the stakes were raised then raised again and then AGAIN — and I was compelled to keep reading until the end!  I couldn’t leave that world until I knew things would work out for the characters, because if I’d turned out the light without knowing, I would never have been able to sleep. I ended up staying awake until I finished the book, around 3am, because I couldn’t leave that world until I’d gone through the full catharsis and reached the satisfying conclusion.

Which is why when my husband came upstairs to bed and found me with tears streaming silently down my face and asked what was wrong, I only answered curtly, “Can’t talk… reading!”

Have you ever stayed up inadvisably late because you were compelled to finish a book? And if so — what book? So I can remember to start reading it around noon, just to be safe :)

12 thoughts on “Can’t Sleep; Must Finish Reading”

  1. Jax Garren says:

    Oh, wow, I have done this WAY too often. I remember the first time I ever stayed up to finish a book. I was in ninth grade I think. Maybe eighth. I was a HUGE L.M. Montgomery fan (Anne of Green Gables author), and the book was Emily Climbs, the second in her Emily of New Moon series. I stayed up until just passed 2AM and I felt like such an adult. A true book nerd.

    Nowadays, Sherry Thomas novels have a bad habit of doing that to me, as does Kresley Cole and Kim Harrison. But at 35 I don’t bounce back quite as well in the mornings as I did when I was 14!

  2. Oh boy, I do that regularly…stay up late to read JUST ONE MORE CHAPTER and then at some point the decision is made to go big or go home and the race is on. It was a Karina Bliss for me most recently, her Bring Him Home title for Superromance.


  3. I stay up too late to finish “just another chapter” or “only 10% of the book left to go…”

    I only ever read one book at a time, so I can’t choose carefully. Whatever I’ve got on the go is what I get stuck reading late into the night.

  4. J.L. Hilton says:

    Oh, gosh, yeah. Just about everything I’ve read lately from Carina Press. The Druid Stone, Ten Ruby Trick, Sparks in Cosmic Dust, The White Swan Affair, Desert Blade (I think I read that all in one night!). I’ve had to take a break from reading CP books before bed, dang it. Too many 3am and 4am nights.

    Can I ask, what book were you reading, Jenny?

  5. Jenny says:

    **jots down titles to add to TBR list**


  6. Jenny says:

    J.L. – I was reading the final manuscript for A Spear of Summer Grass by Deanna Raybourn, which is due to be published in May 2013. One of the many perks of my job is getting these sneak peeks at upcoming books! :)

  7. Amy Wilkins says:

    A Spear of Summer Grass kept me up too late while at RWA, too :) Deanna Raybourn is like a drug!

  8. I’ve stayed up too late reading more books than I can possibly count. Most recently, it was Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and Falling Free, both by Lois McMaster Bujold, and every book in The Hunger Games series.

  9. Oh, and it runs in the family, too. I’ve already caught my 8-year-old daughter sneaking books after lights-out multiple times, notably Erin Hunter’s Warriors series, Ursula LeGuin’s Catwings, and the Cardcaptor Sakura manga series. I know I should be strict because Growing Girls Need Their Sleep, but really I just feel proud.

  10. Been there a few times myself. I once stayed in bed all weekend to read one of JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood books. I can’t wait for her next one.

  11. I watch TV before bed because I know I won’t quit reading when it’s time to turn off the lights. But I do fondly remember reading The Stand in middle school, hearing on the radio that school was canceled the next day because of snow and asking my mom if I could stay up reading. Yeah, the nuns loved the fact that I was reading Stephen King.

  12. Rose says:

    Oh my gosh, this is the story of my life! I don’t know if I am really good at picking stories or just obsessive, but I have had bags under my eyes so many times I regularly by those makeup sticks to hide them!

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