When a book ruins your life… or at least your sleep

I have found that my brain waits to process things that I read or saw during the day until I am trying to fall asleep.  This means that, even if I watch a TV show early in the evening, it will reappear in my brain as I am drifting off (and sometimes in my dreams).  When I finished The Hunger Games, things from the book twined themselves through my dreams throughout the night.

Saturday night I read Catching Fire, the second book of the trilogy, while in bed.  I was planning to read for an hour or so and then go to sleep, because I had most of the day on Sunday to finish it.  Notice that I said “planning,” because clearly that’s not what happened.  I ended up staying up until 1am finishing the book.  (This makes me glad that it is a quick read!)

I have to admit that at one point, when there was a lull in the very involving action, I got up to use the restroom and was overcome with a wave of fear.  I knew intellectually that there was nothing in my apartment that would suddenly kill me, but my adrenaline was running from the book and I had to turn on lights in every room before I felt safe.  When I finally finished the book, I wasn’t much calmer.  It took the first page or two of the concluding book to finally get me settled to where I could sleep.

My imagination gets very intertwined with fictional worlds, which is why for most of my teen years I made it a point to try to either barely start or completely finish a Michael Crichton book before bed.  I’m sure my parents remember when I read Jurassic Park, my first experience with his fiction.  My imagination was so worked up by the story that I couldn’t sleep, finally getting up at 5am when my dad did, to sit and finish the book.  I learned my lesson from that one, reading several of his novels in one day.  I also confirmed what I knew instinctively; I am not capable of handling horror books or movies.  I think I’d stop sleeping for days.

An active imagination is an excellent tool for an author, but I do sometimes wish it wouldn’t affect my sleep quite so much!

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. deshipley
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 13:18:16

    “Catching Fire” worked its way into my dreamworld, too. (So as not to spoil too much, let’s just say the arena made an impression on me.)
    And I wasn’t good for anything the nights after reading Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”, watching Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho”, or certain episodes of “Supernatural” (which I eventually just had to give up, winsome Winchester brothers or not).
    In summary, your ending statment pretty much hits the nail on the head. X)

    Reply

  2. Tammy
    Apr 02, 2012 @ 14:29:06

    I do the same thing. I have to be careful what I read when as I read a lot of mysteries. When I got my dog, I was watching a lot of the dog whisperer and therefore, dreamed about dogs every night. 🙂

    Reply

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