Reading Curfew: Do You Have One?

How do you decide when it's time to turn out the light, put your book on the bedside table, and go to sleep?

reading curfew

Ever have a reading hangover? You know what we’re talking about – when you stay up all night reading and the next day you’re a zombie.

Do you have a reading curfew? If you do, what kind of book makes you break your curfew? And when do you finally say to yourself, “okay, it’s time to put down my book and go to bed!”?

When I was devouring Donna Tartt’s Pulitzer-prize winning novel The Goldfinch several months ago, I gave myself a reading curfew.

Why? Because I desperately wanted to devour this book in one sitting!

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If I’d let myself, I would have read into the wee hours, and in my sleep-deprived delirium, I would have missed the beauty and power of Donna Tartt’s masterful writing just to get to the next chapter.

I wanted to slow down, I wanted to savor every word. So I gave myself a strict curfew of 10:00 p.m.

After I finished The Goldfinch, I dove into the Divergent series. Those books were different. I let myself blaze through night after night, reading until after midnight, and I finished the series in a week.

So, for me – sometimes I have a reading curfew and sometimes I don’t. Depends on the kind of book I’m reading!

Photo Credit: racorn/

RIFers! When’s the last time you broke your reading curfew? What book inspired you to stay up late reading?

About Kira Walton

Kira Walton

KIRA WALTON has been stalking books all her life as a college English teacher, bookseller, book club consultant, author, and editor.

  • It’s funny you should ask. Just last night I stayed up WAY too late reading STAY WHERE YOU ARE AND THEN LEAVE by John Boyne.

  • Jeri Michelle Reuter

    I do not have a book curfew. I would be a constant curfew violator. I regularly stay up to read and re-read Julia Quinn and Lisa Kleypas. I think the last was On the Way to a Wedding.

    • “A constant curfew violator” – you crack me up, Jeri! How do you deal with things the next day after a late night reading. I’m always a mess.

  • Carla C.

    I HAVE a curfew, I don’t actually FOLLOW that curfew. I try to turn out my light at 11 PM or so. Sometimes I do, more often than not, I don’t. The last few books that have made me ignore that curfew have been Kate Quinn’s The Lion and the Rose. Stephanie Thornton’s The Secret History and the second book in the Game of Thrones series.

    • Hahaha. Me too, Carla! You know what helps? My poor husband next to me, with a pillow over his head! That usually encourages me to turn out the light … BTW, the GAME OF THRONES books made me break my curfew every time!

      • Carla C.

        I took care of that husband issue by buying a flashlight. However, that doesn’t work when you get so mad at a character that you throw a book across the room, it hits the wall and then your husband’s head. Yep, did it!

  • Colleen

    My curfew is usually I hour after I realize I can’t put my book down and then every hour I give myself one more hour. My latest book I couldn’t put down was The Invention of Wings.

  • KTbooklady

    I usually set down my E-reader after it has fallen on me 2-3 times when I’ve fallen asleep! LOL

  • Toni

    I head to bed at 9pm and read until I start to drop my kindle. Usually 9:30pm. Sometimes the book I’m reading tempts me to go past 10pm but my alarm goes off at 4:45am so I must put the book down by 10. Hubby begins to complain if I go past 10. Of course I will read into the wee hours on Friday and Satruday night.

  • Robin Pinder

    I usually head to bed at around 11:30 and read until midnight but a library return deadline will keep me up later and books I just can’t put down until finished can keep me going way past curfew or until the book slams on the floor because I fell asleep while reading. I’ll pay for it the next day when I’m too tired to do anything, but there is always that smug satisfaction of having finished a book too good to put down to make up for any tiredness after.

  • Letsgocats

    The important curfew is when to stop everything else and get to “reading only” time! Make yourself start reading at 10:00, then you can usually stick with it until you’re too tired to continue!

  • christine bender

    I’m with KTbooklady – curfew is after my book or kindle has fallen on my face 2-3 times! Then or when I try to read the same paragraph over again but keep dozing off.

  • DebBB

    I laughed out loud when I read KTbooklady’s response! I am exactly the same. Once my nook slips a few times form my hands it turn it off. I’ve learned to have the lights off before I start reading. My target time is before 1 am.

  • Shae

    I read until my ipad goes into sleep mode because my eyes are slowing down!

  • Book Lover

    I retired last year which means I am no longer subjected to curfews! I can now read for hours without anyone telling me to turn out the light. Ahhh, Nirvana.

    P.S. Since my husband is also retired we can both sit up half the night with a good book..LOL

  • One of the BEST things about being a disabled stay at home mom. No curfews! The only thing that puts a roadblock in my reading is my complex migraine disease/chronic daily headaches (2 of my disabilities).

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