A habit I acquired years ago, perhaps even during my childhood, is reading just before I go to sleep. Picking the right books remains key unless you want to stay up half the night either reading or thinking about something horrifying or depressing you’ve read. Lately, my reading has not been conducive to sweet dreams. Earlier this week I finished Among the Ruins, an Iranian mystery of sorts, by Ausma Zehanat Khan. It’s fiction but one of the characters writes letters from prison which are anything but cheery. Now I am reading the Pulitzer Prize winner, The Return. Since Hisham Matar never saw his father again after he was captured and hauled off to a Libyan prison, sleep inducing it is not. Last night I decided perhaps for bedtime I needed to find something not exactly boring but somewhat less stimulating. It may take me all summer given that The Silk Roads, A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan is 505 pages. If I get bored with that, I can go back to two books I reread off and on and save for bedtime reading, When Women Were Birds by Terry Tempest Williams and Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, Selected Works translated by Edith Grossman. Both inspire reflection and contemplation. For those who do not know Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz, she lived in Mexico in the 1600s. She became famous for her intellectual capacity, her poetry, and was referred to as “the Phoenix of Mexico” when women rarely rose to such heights.
What are you reading this summer?