Friday, September 14, 2012


fLast night, when I couldn’t sleep, I got to thinking about reading. That is, I was thinking about all the reding I do these days, now that I am so much accustomed to insomnia. The older I get, the less soundly I sleep. There was a time when I was not a night reader. It was a time having insomnia meant that I was worrying about something. My bedroom would be crowded with noisy characters from my day life, nudging me, calling to me, chiding me, giving me instructions. I’d wake exhausted, not at all ready to go into the world where I’d have to face them in person. But over the years I have learned to worry less. Peculiar then that I should also sleep less. These days insomnia doesn’t mean anything at all, except that I am not sleeping. I might be feeling back pain, or bladder urgings. I might be hearing songs in my head. I know that I am not alone. All over the city people are tossing and turning. Others of my age speak also of this phenomenon. Some of them take sleeping pills. Some of them play computer games, or watch television. Some of them read technical journals. I know a fellow who practices the piano. As for me, I think of calling up the people I know, the ones who might be up in the night. “Hello, it’s Wendy,” I’d say, as casually as if I were calling in mid-afternoon. But I value my friends and relatives. How terrible would it be to interrupt an occasional good night’s sleep—if they were having one? And so, instead of calling somebody, I plug in the ear phones and listen to a recorded book. Fortunately, there are many audio books to hear these days—so many that I stop reading any book that does not please me—a luxury I never imagined possible in the days of more limited selection and waiting for tapes to arrive in the mail. I don’t usually keep a record of books I have read, but last night, when I could not sleep, I began to make a mental tally of books I have enjoyed in the past few months. It is not a complete list. Omitted are (a) books I forgot to put on the list, (b) books I didn’t finish, and (c) books I wished I hadn’t finished. If, some day, you can’t sleep and you find yourself reading one of these books, think of me. Heck, call me. Why not? Good-bye, Mr. Chips Author: Hilton, James; Water for elephants: a novel Author: Gruen, Sara. Big trouble Author: Barry, dave Room for all of us: surprising stories of loss and transformation Author: Clarkson, Adrienne, If these walls had ears: the biography of a house / Author: Morgan, James, 1876 Author: Vidal, Gore The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Author: Shaffer, Mary Ann How sweet it is: the Jackie Gleason story Author: Bacon, James; The onyx Author: Briskin, Jacqueline.; C'mon Papa: dispatches from a dad in the dark Author: Knighton, Ryan Volkswagen blues Author: Poulin, Jacques; Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-Being Author: Seligman, Martin Blue Nights Author: Didion, Joan Beyond Belfast: a 560-mile walk across Northern Ireland on sore feet Author: Ferguson, Will Small beneath the sky: a prairie memoir Author: Crozier, Lorna; Paul McCartney: many years from now Author: McCartney, Paul; Barry Miles; Irma Voth Author: Toews, Miriam; The Avenue goes to war Author: Delderfield, R. F.; Sanctuary line Author: Urquhart, Jane Lake Wobegon days Author: Keillor, Garrison.; A good man Author: Vanderhaeghe, Guy; The heart does break: Canadian writers on grief and mourning Author: Jean. Baird; George Bowering; Remembering the farm: memories of farming, ranching, and rural life in Canada, past and present Author: Anderson, Allan;

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