Fiction Reading and the Nashville Library

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I haven't been sleeping lately. It's not uncommon for me to stay up all the way through the night. Over the past two or three weeks, I've seen the sun come up 4 or 5 times.  I've tried Ambien, reading, noisemakers, hypnotic sleep podcasts, a glass of wine (or three), everything... Or nearly everything.

In perfect timing, this post on 5 Effective Ways to Improve Your Sleep appeared in my RSS reader yesterday. The two biggest takeaways for me are: ditch the computer an hour or so before bed and read fiction.

I've been reading nonfiction at night and it stimulates my brain. I start thinking of ideas and I can't sleep because all I do think. The solution is not to stop reading; but to stop reading nonfiction.  I go back and forth on the value of reading fiction. On one side it helps creative thinking, exposes you to a different style of writing, and it provides some escape from reality. On the other hand, reading is time consuming.  And if I'm using hours in my day to read, then I want to read something productive and applicable like nonfiction.

Months ago, I discovered that Nashville's library system is top notch. Ever since I got my library card, I haven't purchased one book. There is a downside though: the wait. If a book is currently checked out, my request goes into a hold system queue. Like Netflix in a way, though at the library you can check out up to 25 books at a time. Today, and by that I mean early this morning at 3:38am, I started adding fiction books to my library reading list. I was AMAZED at how long some of the waits are on these books. 286 holds?! Insane. And the library doesn't have just one copy, they have 30. I postulate:

  • lots of people in Nashville are trying to escape from reality (probably true)
  • people in Nashville like fiction better than nonfiction
  • people in Nashville can't sleep (like me)