Hey guys! How are you doing on week one of the nightly phone ban? Overall for me it’s been good, although a little tricky because I’ve been in Sydney and had a lot on, but great to disconnect and get some downtime during the evenings – where I can! I’m back in Hong Kong now and looking forward to applying it more strictly this week.
Something that aids in this is a distraction from the nightly appeals of Pinterest or Snapchat… Which is where a really good book comes in. It’s not going to be news to you that reading can help you fall asleep… but what you might not have thought about is that what you read will also determines how easy it is to drift off. As someone for whom sleep, and that hour of nightly reading, is sacred, I’ve spent a lot of time trying to work out the best books to help me get to sleep.
But I have to admit, it’s a hard task – really great books get me so addicted that I’m flipping til 2am, whilst long winded, mildly boring books may aid in getting to sleep, but don’t satisfy my craving for a great read. What you’re after is something in between, that’s a joy to read but you can actually put down and turn off the light. Enter the short story. Be totally absorbed for 20 pages, get to the end, then be able to go to sleep a happy woman. The best thing about short stories is that if you look hard enough you’ll find that some of your favourite writers have written them, meaning that you don’t have to sacrifice quality to get the good zzzzzzzzzs.
Runaway and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Monroe – Read if you’re new to short stories and want to start with the absolute best of the best, Alice won the Nobel Prize a few years ago for her long career as a short story writer. Her stories are so incredibly beautiful – subtle but full of meaning.
The Turning by Tim Winton – read if you like interwoven stories based around a few central characters, with lots of raw emotions, and big churning oceans.
Between Here And the Yellow Sea by Nick Pizzolatto – read if you loved the melancholic and contradictory heroes of HBO’s True Detective (he wrote that too).
Homeland and Other Stories by Barbara Kingsolver – Read if you like stories bound by a strong sense of place (the pastoral American landscape) and the compelling ties of love and family.
Notwithstanding by Louis De Berniers – read if you like the interwoven lives in a small town
Interpreter of Maladies by Jumphner Lahiri – read if you’re interested in the experiences of immigrants in their new countries.
James Herriot’s Dog Stories by James Herriot – read if you’re into heartwarming (but sometimes a little sad) stories memoirs of vet life and country England… A few tears will definitely help you get to sleep!
Kiss Kiss by Roald Dahl – Read if you were obsessed with Roald Dahl when you were younger and can’t wait to get stuck into these grown up tales, some darker than others.
Close Range: Wyoming Stories by Annie Proulx – Read if you loved the raw emotions of Brokeback mountain, this and a few others reside in these books.
These are a few of my all time authors and their short story collections, do you have any you’d like to share? And I’d love to hear how you’re going with the phone ban!