I read in bed every single night. I always have, it calms me down, it lets me escape for a little bit, if I don’t I can’t sleep. It also has the added benefit of meaning that I get through a lot of books, which makes me feel well-read.
But! For me, choosing books for bedtime reading is a bit of a fine art. You probably don’t want anything too gripping, and definitely nothing too emotive or sad, because otherwise cue overwrought insomnia. Those books (which I love too!) I reserve for when I’m on holiday, when I’m apparently immune to sadness.
Now, I realise that most people are more emotionally mature than this, so probably don’t need to read cheery books in order to sleep at night. But on the off-chance that anyone is looking for some beautifully written, happy books for bedtime, here are three recommendations:
1. Greenery Street by Denis Mackail
Greenery Street is one of my favourite, favourite books. It’s not very plot-driven, but it is easily one of the most endearing, funny, downright charming books I’ve read. Published in 1923, it tells the story of a young couple’s first year of married life, as they get engaged, look for a house, learn to argue, have financial troubles and suffer the various setbacks of twenty something couples. It’s fun to read because so much has changed (the assumption that a four bedroom house is too small for a couple with a baby, for example) and also because despite this, it is still very relatable. Whenever I read it, I feel genuinely sad when I’ve finished. It’s just that kind of book. You can buy it here (Also, on the off-chance that you haven’t already heard of this place, GO.)
2. The Land Where Lemons Grow by Helena Attlee
I know I mentioned this in my last post, but I loved it so much I just had to keep right on raving about it. It’s written by a garden historian, and it’s basically part-travel, part-history, part-botany book about Italy and its relationship with lemons. Sounds weird, I know, but the escapism!! It was raining and hailing outside when I read it, I’d just started a new job, and curling up every night with this was probably what kept me sane. I got my copy from Foyle’s.
3. The Jeeves Omnibus by P.G. Wodehouse
P.G. Wodehouse is, in my opinion, one of the best writers of the 20th century, and definitely one of the funniest. I do think it’s probably a matter of taste as to whether you love or hate reading about the antics of a (loveable!) upper-class idiot, but I come down firmly on the love side. All of the Jeeves and Wooster books make me laugh out loud, nothing bad ever happens in them, and this is the volume I turn to when I’m depressed. On a related note, Hugh Laurie, who played Bertie in the AMAZING adaption, once wrote about how reading Wodehouse saved his life. (Fun fact: in my day job I work in the archive where the scripts for this are stored, and it makes me embarrassingly star-struck.) This is a pretty old volume, but you can still buy this edition at Waterstones.