Bedtime reading rituals

Do you read in bed at night before you go to sleep? I do – and I have a certain routine to what I read each night before my eyes get too heavy to keep them open. For the past three years, I have read one of the Intellectual Devotional series by David S. Kidder and Noah D. Oppenheim. They are organized like a religious devotional, with one page-long selection for every day of the year. This year I’m reading this one:

intdevotional
The Intellectual Devotional Modern Culture Edition: Revive Your Mind, Complete Your Education, and Converse Confidently with the Culturati
The selections come in seven categories: personalities, literature, music, film, ideas and trends, sports, and pop culture.

After I read the day’s selection, I read some poetry. If I don’t have another collection available, I read from The Oxford Book of American Poetry, which I have been slowly making my way through for the past couple of years. I recently checked out a couple of collections from the library, and last night I started this one:

delights shadows
Delights and Shadows by Ted Kooser

After a few poems, I read some non-fiction. I will read a few letters from My Dearest Friend: Letters of Abigail and John Adams, or if I am reading a collection of essays, I will dip into that for a while. My current non-fiction reading is:

mapsandlegends
Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands by Michael Chabon

Then, if I’m not too sleepy, I will read some from whatever novel I am in the middle of. If I have trouble sleeping, I’ll turn the lights off and listen to an audiobook until I drift off.

Do you have any bedtime reading rituals?

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34 Responses to Bedtime reading rituals

  1. bookmagic
    Twitter: bookmagicdeb
    says:

    I always read before bed. I used to have books that I just kept on nightstand, but now I take current reads up to bed with me. Usually I take 2 or 3, just in case. I try to read for a couple of hours, if I can.
    .-= bookmagic´s last blog ..The Broken Teaglass by Emily Arsenault =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Bookmagic – I can never stay awake quite that long – unless I go in fairly early. I’m lucky if I get an hour or so!

  2. My husband is absolutely addicted to books like The Intellectual Devotional, we actually have that very book and he loved it!

    I would love to have enough time to read for a couple of hours before bed, but just a few minutes seems to be enough to calm me down so I can sleep well. Great post!
    .-= The1stdaughter´s last blog ..Recommend Me (4) – The Wake Trilogy by Lisa McMann =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      the1stdaughter – I just saw on Amazon that there is a new one coming out later this year – intellectual devotional biographies! Now I have my bedtime reading companion planned for next year. :)

  3. JoAnn
    Twitter: lakesidemusing
    says:

    If I can stay awake for a half hour once I’m in bed, I’m happy! There are no special nightstand books, I just bring whatever I’m reading.
    .-= JoAnn´s last blog ..Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork =-.

  4. Lezlie says:

    I *love* the Intellectual Devotionals! I traded it in this year for The Bibliophile’s Devotional, but I’m sure I’ll be picking one up again for next year.

    Lezlie
    .-= Lezlie´s last blog ..I Couldn’t Resist Sharing This =-.

  5. Stephanie says:

    I love reading in bed!! Unfortunately, I usually get sleepy way before I am ready to put my book down. I don’t have any rituals–I just read whatever book I am in the middle of. The only thing is I HAVE to read before I go to sleep. I can count on one hand how many times I have gone to sleep without ready in the past year, that is how infrequent it is.
    .-= Stephanie´s last blog ..Book Review: Thirteen Reasons Why =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Stephanie – I am the same way – I have to read before I sleep. And about the falling asleep thing – I’ve discovered that laying on my stomach works best – my face hitting the book hurts much less than dropping the book on my face. :)

  6. That is quite a ritual. I just read whatever my current read is at the time.
    .-= bermudaonion (Kathy)´s last blog ..Wondrous Words Wednesday =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Kathy – it is a little obsessive, isn’t it? It’s developed over several years. :)

  7. Fyrefly says:

    For a while I would read a short story or two out of whatever collection I was working on at the time, but I’ve dropped out of that habit recently. I always, always listen to about 15 minutes of an audiobook as I’m falling asleep, though – it’s my grown-up equivalent of a bedtime story.
    .-= Fyrefly´s last blog ..Bill Willingham – Peter & Max =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Fyrefly – exactly! The only bad thing is I sometimes fall asleep while it’s still on and then I have to rewind in the morning to figure out where I left off!

  8. Aarti says:

    How long does it take you to go through your nightly ritual? An hour or more?

    I read before I sleep, but not in my bed. I don’t have a light switch near my bed, so I prefer to just read on the couch and then get ready for bed all at once, rather than reading in bed, being all comfortable, and then having to get OUT of bed to turn off the light. I’m lazy, I know.

    I also can’t really read more than one book at a time. I have been keeping Team of Rivals as my second read for MONTHS now and have over 200 pages to go, still!
    .-= Aarti´s last blog ..With Reverent Hands: The Last Temptation of Christ =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Aarti – Usually about an hour – but sometimes I only make it through steps one and two. I do have a lamp right next to my bed, so when I get drowsy I can just click it off and go to sleep. I’m a multiple book reader – besides my bedtime books, I usually have a couple of novels going. :)

  9. Kailana says:

    I have to read before I even go to bed or I don’t get any done unless I make a special effort to go to bed early. That’s the problem with having a guy that doesn’t read. He goes to bed to go to bed…
    .-= Kailana´s last blog ..I Have Returned! =-.

  10. Robin of My Two Blessings
    Twitter: robnmccormack
    says:

    I have the Intellectual Devotional one that is roaming confidently with the cultured class. Great book and gives me ideas for blog posts. I don’t read in bed, because I end up getting involved in story and stay up to all hours of night, even if I’m tired. I do read on the couch and head off to bed around 12:00 when my brain stops comprehending what I’m reading. Don’t know what the difference is but reading in bed stimulates my brain rather than shuts it down.
    .-= Robin of My Two Blessings´s last blog ..Double Eagle by Sneed B. Collard III =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Robin -the only time I can’t read a book before bed is if I’m less than 100 pages from finishing -then I’ll stay up until I finish.

  11. Kathleen says:

    I read before bed also and love your idea of reading essays, short stories, or things that come in smaller bites that are easier to digest! I’m going to think about some books that I can keep on my bedside table to read like this throughout the year.
    .-= Kathleen´s last blog ..Just When you Thought Your Family Was Dysfunctional… =-.

  12. heidenkind says:

    I just read whatever I’m reading that day. Before bed is sometimes the only quiet reading time I have, so I like to take advantage of it.

    I do have to read before bed, though.
    .-= heidenkind´s last blog ..Novels & Gender =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Tasha – If I’m in the middle of a book that’s totally got me hooked, I’ll skip my reading rituals in favor of reading that one.

  13. softdrink says:

    I only read for a little bed in bed…I just can’t get comfy while holding a book. But I read before I go to bed in my comfy reading chair!
    .-= softdrink´s last blog ..The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks =-.

  14. Kathy says:

    Wow, what a ritual. All of that sounds so great. I would be asleep before I even finished the poetry. I do read every night, but just what I am currently reading. The intellectual devotional looks very interesting. I like the idea of reading something each day that I can focus on. I will have to look that one up.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Picture(book) Perfect =-.

  15. I’ve gotten out of the habit of reading before I fall asleep and I miss it. Perhaps that’s why my dreams have been especially troubled lately . . .
    .-= Literary Feline´s last blog ..Review: The Fairest Portion of the Globe by Frances Hunter =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Wendy – I find reading before I fall asleep helps to turn my mind off of the things in my life that I’m currently worried or consumed by. :)

  16. Vasilly
    Twitter: Vasilly
    says:

    Love this post! I love reading in bed but I know I have to do it before I become sleepy. My problem is I’m used to my bedroom being used just for sleep. I love reading poetry in bed or something really short. I make sure I have something on my nightstand to read for those nights I have insomnia.
    .-= Vasilly´s last blog ..Library Loot: The Blame Game =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Vasilly – my audiobooks are good for insomnia- I can “read” without turning the light on and waking Kevin.

  17. Ash says:

    Wow I am really impressed by this ritual! I love how you incorporate so many different things. Sometimes when reading right before bed I feel all over the place and have difficulty concentrating on one novel because I keep thinking about the next thing I want to read. I might have to adopt some of your ideas!
    .-= Ash´s last blog ..Studying for Midterms? =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies
      says:

      Ash – I have the same problem – that’s why I like dipping into so many different things.

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