Life·6 min read

Best Books to Read Before Bed

Nov 18, 2019

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Time off is relaxing, right? Wrong. During the holidays, it's easy to feel wound up instead of ready to unwind. Here are some of our favorite reads to help you kick stress out of the holiday party, relax, and get sleepy.

For when you have a thing for list-making… 

“Twenty-One Truths About Love” Matthew Dicks

Matthew Dicks can relate. “Twenty-One Truths About Love” is the story of a man who quit his job to open a bookstore, and lies to his wife about his financial woes. The book is told entirely through lists which feels like the perfect new medium to tell a love story. 


For when you usually watch “The Crown” before bed…

“Royal Holiday” by Jasmine Guillory

Say hi to your new pre-zzz ritual. It follows a 50-something woman who accompanies her daughter on a work trip to the UK. While her daughter is busy styling the royal family, she falls for a private British secretary. The catch? She’s leaving on New Year’s Day and they only have limited time with each other. It’s “New Year’s Eve” meets “The Holiday,” and is the festive read you’ve been yearning for this season.


For when you’re feeling weird...

“Little Weirds” by Jenny Slate

Jenny Slate can relate. “Little Weirds,” is Slate’s memoir-meets-funny essay-meets short story collection. It reads like a subconscious transcript of her brain and lets you in on both her heavy moments (heartbreak, depression) and some lighter ones (ghosts and croissants). No better time to get weird than right before bed. 


For when you’re stuck in the past…

“The Giver of Stars” by JoJo Moyes

Take a trip to Depression-era America in JoJo Moyes’ “The Giver of Stars.” It follows five women through the Kentucky mountains as they deliver books as a part of Eleanor Roosevelet’s library crusade. It’s based off a true story and is an epic journey of friendship, danger, and literacy. It’s an ideal read to digest before hitting the sheets.


For when you need solace from a crazy week…

“Where to Begin” by Cleo Wade

Welcome Cleo Wade’s “Where to Begin,” into your life. Dubbed the “millennial Oprah” Wade’s famous for her positive affirmations, poetry, and Instagram presence. “Where to Begin,” is her answer to things like anxiety, fear, and feelings of helplessness. Perfect for getting your holiday zen on. PS: it’s also a great audio option for anyone on the go. Wade narrates the poetry herself and is as calming as it gets.


For when you need something serious...

“The Revisioners” by Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

Margaret Wilkerson’s Sexton “The Revisioners” will do. It’s an intergenerational story told through the narrative of a former slave in the 1920s and her great-great-granddaughter in modern day New Orleans. It jumps between time periods as you learn about their experiences with slavery, the KKK, racial divide, and motherhood. It’s a timely look into the American South and is a must-add to your before-bed reading list.


For when you want to take your mind off reality…

“In the Dream House” by Carmen Maria Machado

Enter Carmen Maria Machado. Her memoir, “In the Dream House,” is the harrowing true story of a relationship gone wrong. Each chapter explores a literary technique (unreliable narrator, choose-your-own adventure, etc) and describes the domestic abuse she faced as a person in a queer relationship. It's haunting, beautifully written, and will give you a ticket for a trip into Machado's mind.


For when you need an alternative to “Death, Sex & Money”...

“The Worst Kind of Want” by Liska Jacobs

Liska Jacobs’ “The Worst Kind of Want” will do. This one follows a forty-something mother who gets called to Rome to watch her teenage niece. Instead of being the mature caregiver, she decides to have her own adventures. Think: drinking, smoking, dancing, repeat. The problem? It sets off a dangerous chain of events that explores the complexities of female desire. Because there’s nothing better than reading about someone else’s life to distract you from yours. 


For when you dreams are mystical fantasy...

“The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern

Pirates and painters and liars oh my! Meet Zachary Rawlins: your typical grad student who discovers a mysterious-looking book. In it, he finds a story from his own childhood (spooky, we know). To find out more about this hidden gem, he embarks on a journey filled with clues, masquerade parties, secret clubs, and underground libraries. It’s a sci-fi meets fantasy fiction and will keep you reading long past when you’re tired. 


For when you usually have a (little) someone to spend your evenings with…

“Goodnight Bubbala” by Sheryl Haft

Goodnight to them. Sheryl Haft’s out with a new take on the classic “Goodnight Moon” children’s book. It’s set in the bedroom of a bunny’s bedroom during Hanukkah. Lots of yiddish phrases are there, and it’s the perfect modern take on an OG child’s fave. And PS: it has a latke recipe from Ina Garten herself. Perfect gift for the mother, friend, sister, daughter, or cook in your life.


PS: These are editorially selected, but if you purchase it, theSkimm may get something in return. Thanks.

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