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Nighttime Reading Habits


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I'm about to log off and go read for 45 minutes. Maybe an hour, if I stretch it.

Or, more realistically, maybe 15 minutes if I get sleepy.

I love the idea of reading before bed, but my evenings are too inconsistent in terms of obligations and other responsibilities to develop any consistency in nighttime reading habits. Further complicating things: When I do have the time to read at night, I usually choose to do something else.

How 'bout you? What's your nighttime reading ritual, if you have one?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I generally try to work in 30min to 1hr of pleasure reading at night--if not immediately before bed, at least well after all potential for "productive" work has finally drained away. Since I also try to open the day with about the same amount of pleasure reading, the two sessions bracket off the day nicely.

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Do any of you find yourself "reading" on the computer (aka surfing the Web) for that final 30 or 60 minutes, rather than reading? I do.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Only if there is a good AMA on Reddit. Otherwise, I read for about two hours per very late evening, and will typically have a film I have seen and want to catch up on in the background. I catch up on papers and longreads during lunch. I do crunch a lot of library time into the wee hours that I used to be able to indulge in as a grad student just whenever. Before I abandoned Kindle and my Nexus 7 took a crash dive, I would read while walking across campus, which is a blessed daily ordeal at Wash U. Now I am back to JSTOR prints flapping in the wind. Which also follow me into bed.

My finer reading hours are dawnish.

"...the vivid crossing of borders between film and theology may save the film from the banality of cinema and festival business, and it may also save the church from the deep sleep of the habitual and the always known."

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I usually keep a stack of whatever books I'm working on on the nightstand. These are the same books I'm reading in line at the bank or in the office for work, etc. My wife and I try to go tech-free the last 30 minutes to hour of the day and just read. I usually just read whichever book tickles my fancy at that moment (though I typically try to go with something kind of light and easy).

Recently, I've toyed with the idea of having bedtime reading become a time for chipping away at one really large work, night after night. I got Shelby Foote's 3 volume Civil War narrative last Christmas and I've wondered how long it might take me to get through all of its nearly 3000 pages just reading 30-60 minutes each night.

Do any of you find yourself "reading" on the computer (aka surfing the Web) for that final 30 or 60 minutes, rather than reading? I do.

That's been my habit in the past, but I find that I rest better and read more when I leave the laptop in another room.

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I got Shelby Foote's 3 volume Civil War narrative last Christmas and I've wondered how long it might take me to get through all of its nearly 3000 pages just reading 30-60 minutes each night.

Hmm. I have the same set and am a little daunted by its length. But breaking it down like you're thinking might just be the ticket. smile.png

I've taken to shutting off my computer at 7 (sometimes it's on until 7:30), so I will have reading time in the evening.

Edited by CherylR

I like to say that I practice militant mysticism. I'm really absolutely sure of some things that I don't quite know.~~Rob Bell April/09 CT

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I sense an A&F trend: Turning off the computer and other devices well before bedtime.

Is anyone else in the habit?

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I try to read a little before I go to bed. I also like to keep a book on my nightstand in case I have trouble falling asleep. Then I get some more reading done. I've gotten a good portion of my reading done over the years this way.

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Gavin, Crow: You both mention reading in bed, but only one of you mentions a spouse (don't know Crow's marital status). How does your wife react when you turn on a reading light while she (presumably) is trying to go to sleep?

I recently bought a Nook Glowlight, which has an illuminated screen. The company pitches that as a great benefit for those who like to read in bed without keeping a spouse awake. What they don't say is that the screen illumination is pretty bright.

My wife wears a mask over her eyes at night because light in the morning wakes her up too easily. This is something she adopted a few years ago, to great results. The upside for me is that I can read in bed without worrying about keeping her up.

I could leave the overhead light on, but I usually opt for the Nook Glowlight. That way, when I'm ready to sleep, I just turn off the Nook and set it on the bedside table. I don't have to get out of bed to turn off the overhead light, or prop myself up uncomfortably to reach for the bedside lamp, which is situated pretty high up on our wall.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I'm not married, but if I was, I would probably get a Kindle or Nook with illuminated screen. Is the brightness of these adjustable?

Or else, I think these glasses with tiny flashlights would be really cool, but I don't know how well that would work in actually reading with those.

Edited by Crow
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Crow, I was just re-reading my Nook Starter's Guide, aka the instructions, and was reminded of all the options I've yet to explore or use. I think screen brightness is one of those.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I tend to read in small chunks throughout the day, and the nighttime is no exception. I usually carry one or two books with me everywhere (I'm not kidding); I'll bring them to bed and read a few minutes before we go to sleep. Jenny usually reads a bit too, though it's easier for her to knuckle down on the couch and pour through a book.

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Gavin, Crow: You both mention reading in bed, but only one of you mentions a spouse (don't know Crow's marital status). How does your wife react when you turn on a reading light while she (presumably) is trying to go to sleep?

My wife is pregnant (so, always tired) and she's a very good sleeper anyway (caffeine before bed doesn't phase her at all), so my bedside lamp doesn't bother her a bit. Which is good for us because I'm a night owl and she turns off her light first 98% of the time.

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