While the thought of scrolling through TikTok in bed appeals to me, lately I have been focusing on reading before bed. Overall, there are only positive outcomes when I read before bed: I fall asleep faster and I have time to read after a busy day.
When I settle into bed, I try to avoid reading books that cause me to feel anxious about the characters. I want to read a book that will calm me, rather than a novel that leaves me stressed over the fate of the protagonist. So, I have found that cute romances and low-stakes literary fiction novels are my go-to choices for bedtime reading. Here are five sleepy-time reads for your nightstand.
The “Briar U” Series by Elle Kennedy
First of all, I devoured this whole four-book series over spring break. While other students were drinking as if the world was ending, I was laying outside with an iced coffee and a stack of Kennedy’s spicy romance novels. While each book follows a different main character, all of the characters know each other. The plot centers around the fictional Briar University and its hockey team. The first novel, “The Chase” starts off with a bang, where Summer Heyward-Di Laurentis has transferred to Briar and is moving in with three hockey players. This series will provide you with the escapism you need after a day filled with boring classes and lackluster dating life.
The Bridgerton Series by Julia Quinn
After binge-watching the first season of Bridgerton, I took it upon myself to read the first book, “The Duke and I.” Now, I want to preface that you will view the show differently after reading the novel, but if you can separate the show from the book, then you are in for a treat. The “Bridgerton Series” follows a variety of characters in Regency era England, with the first novel’s protagonist Daphne Bridgerton entering into society seeking marriage. This bodice ripper is perfect before bed, with enough spice and intrigue to keep you absorbed in the story, but not up all night reading.
“Where the Crawdads Sing” by Delia Owens
I have an ulterior motive for adding this to the list of reads before bed, being that there is a movie coming out with a song by my icon Taylor Swift. However, I genuinely believe this is a great atmospheric tale that is perfect for unwinding in bed with tea. “Where the Crawdads Sing” follows Kya Clark, the “Marsh Girl” who has become the main suspect in the death of the popular town boy, Chase Andrews. Owen spins a tale of isolation’s effect on women and how children are the product of their environment. With the ambiance and delicate description, the story immerses you into a quiet summer night in the South with a calm breeze and a cicada lullaby, which is the perfect energy to drift off to dreamland with.
“Daisy Jones & the Six” by Taylor Jenkins Reid
This is the perfect excuse for me to advertise one of my favorite novels. Reid somehow made historical fiction accessible and not so tedious. The interview narrative style perfectly depicts the whirlwind of fictional ’70s starlet Daisy Jones and her rise to the top with the rock band known as The Six. The novel’s story is character-focused rather than plot-focused with an almost documentary kind of feel to it, which makes it easy to pick up and put down. It feels as though the characters are telling you their tale personally. I was in a dream state while reading every page as if I had been transported to a world of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It’s the kind of story that makes me wish I could go back in time and reread this novel for the first time.
“Cleopatra and Frankenstein” by Coco Mellors
The best way to describe “Cleopatra and Frankenstein” is that it is heavily focused on atmosphere and aesthetic instead of a heavy plot. The overall point of the story is to detail the consequences of the characters’ actions. The story is set in New York City, where 24-year-old British painter Cleo and successful advertising executive Frank impulsively marry in order for Cleo to apply for a Green Card. The plot is not what propels the story, but rather the characters and the consequences of Cleo and Frank’s marriage. Mellor’s tale explores the complexities of modern relationships. The flawed, imperfect characters are rich with complexities, and you are able to witness their growth with each page. I can picture the perfect scenario: reading “Cleopatra and Frankenstein” with a cup of Earl Gray tea and a warm blanket, then drifting off to sleep.
It can be hard to find time to read during the day because we have so much on our plates. When it is time to crawl into bed, taking a break from your phone and picking up a book for pleasure is the best medicine to help give your brain a break.