10:30 PM – Ah, now I can read a few pages before I call it a night.
11:30 PM – Still early… I can fit another chapter before I sleep.
12:30 AM – Oh crap, I’m still not done with this chapter yet.
01:30 AM – Nooo… I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT!!!
02:30 AM – Just one more chapter… It’s a short chapter, I can do it.
Come 05:00 AM and you just decided to turn in for the night. Or day. Or dawn since the sun will be rising soon.
Does this sound familiar to you? It does, to me. And I’m guilty as charged for doing it all the time even though I know I shouldn’t be doing it. On weekdays, I struggle with my conscience to go to bed early. But on weekends, all sense of discipline and willpower fly out the bedroom window, especially when the book is sooo intriguing and each chapter ends on a high, making you want to continue reading to find out what happens next. Me and my “I’ll just read another chapter or two,” usually ends up with me sleeping at four or five in the morning with a finished book.
Not many books do this to me, though. Only certain books do and it depends wholly on who the authors are.
Of Weird Dreams and Haunting Plots
Carlos Ruiz Zafon, with famous titles such as The Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven, had reason to delay my sleep. I enjoyed reading these books but they were notorious for keeping me up past midnight to finish. There was something very haunting, creepy and disturbing about them, which left me with weird dreams and nightmares as I tossed and turned in bed.
In The Shadow of the Wind, a young boy goes on a quest through the labyrinthine secrets and shadows of post-war Barcelona in search of Julian Carax, a mysterious author whose book is a dangerous thing to own and impossible to forget.
In The Angel’s Game, a young man makes a living by writing novels and spinning tales about the city’s underworld under a pseudonym. Until he discovers several letters and photographs in a locked room that hint at the mysterious death of the previous owner. These would haunt him later on when he makes a pact with a reclusive French editor that comes at a price.
In The Prisoner of Heaven, the heroes of The Shadow of the Wind and The Angel’s Game must contend with a nemesis that threatens to destroy them. The terrifying events will launch them on a journey to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in search for the truth that will put into peril everything they love and ultimately transform their lives.
Of Philosophical Pirates and Mysterious Housekeepers
Daphne du Maurier, on the other hand, didn’t leave me jittery in the morning, probably because her books were more mysterious and intriguing than creepy and haunting. Titles like My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca, and Frenchman’s Creek have all kept me at the edge of my seat, leaving me wanting to know what happens in the next chapter.
In My Cousin Rachel, the ending is left to the reader’s perceptions of whether Philip was truly innocent or whether Rachel had been the agent provocateur. I was wondering if Rachel was even his real cousin in the first place!
In Rebecca, Mrs Danvers had been the star of the novel. So deliciously evil yet with her own reasons of why she had chosen to behave that way. Her mistress, Rebecca had been the original Mrs Maximillian until her questionable death.
In Frenchman’s Creek, only du Maurier’s pirates are gentle and soft-spoken individuals with the uncanny ability to speak like an English professor and philosophize about life. To be fair, I have only just started reading Frenchman’s Creek but I’m already so drawn into the plot that I just want to continue reading and turning the pages.
Each book has its own reason for keeping up all night long, with the sudden appearances of characters from the past and present, demanding for answers and exacting revenge. And yet, I still couldn’t put them down. I carried on reading them, devouring each word, sentence, paragraph and chapter. Reading is like having a sinful dessert. It is good. It is delicious. But it can overwhelm you if you are not careful.
But it’s reading, you say! How can you keep a tight lid on how often you read? You bet your socks I can’t either!