Sometimes I hear people say they "stayed up all night reading..." some great book. They talk about how the book they were reading was so good, they couldn't put it down, and couldn't sleep because they simply had to find out what was going to happen. I am not one of these people.
I've read a lot of great books. Lots of books I was really into. But I can't stay up all night reading. Reading in bed is like taking a double shot of NyQuil for me. Usually I can only read a couple of pages before my head starts bobbing and I can't keep my eyes open.
However, most night this doesn't stop me from trying. The problem is that I'm not really reading, my eyes are merely glossing over the words, and nothing is sinking in. I then arrive at where I was this morning, resuming my reading, and having no idea what is going on. Suddenly, I find myself having to going back a page or two in an effort to piece things together.
"It's going to be tough," said Hugh. Who is Hugh!? I have no idea! Well it seems Hugh was introduced a couple of pages back and I missed his introduction to the protagonist. So I have to backtrack a couple of pages, which I suppose it isn't the end of the world. Each morning I just find myself at the same point I would have had I not tried to read just a couple more pages the night before.
But sometimes it isn't just that I lose a couple of pages to Mr. Sandman. When I was reading Blood Meridian, a book I had trouble staying awake for at the best of times, I remember suffering a particularly rude awakening. As I fell asleep, I dropped the book; the sharp corner of the hardcover hitting my eye before bouncing off the bedside table and landing on the floor. I'm not sure if it was the shock of being woken in such a fashion, but it really hurt. So far, it's my only injury from reading this list.
At times I wish I was able to stay up all night, or at least for an hour or two, reading. Imagine the progress I could make each day! There's a scene in the movie JFK where Kevin Costner's character is so engrossed in reading the 'Warren Report' he stays up all night. I always think I would love to be so engrossed in something I don't notice time passing. But I know what would happen if I were that character; the scene would show me sleeping in a chair with my reading spread acorss my chest or possibly on the floor, as I sawed logs. I guess I should enjoy the fact that I rarely have any difficulty falling asleep.
Looking back at books from The List, Gone With the Wind sticks out as one I 'couldn't put down.' I was really into that book, especially the last three hundred pages. But this never solved the problem of falling asleep while reading. Of course part of the problem might have been that since Gone With the Wind was such a large book, such a heavy book, it didn't lend itself well to reading in bed. Quite frankly, my arms would fall asleep from holding it above my head too long. And I shudder to think what the result would be if I had a dropped that one on my head.
But I don't think I'll stop trying to read in bed. In fact I'm sure tonight will find me falling asleep while trying to squeeze in a few more pages before the enevitable happens, yet again.