What's a good book to read before bed?


macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Aug 19, 2004
So, one of my New Year's Resolutions is to read before bed. I loved bedtime stories as a kid, and until a few years ago I'd read a chapter out of some book to relax before falling asleep.

So then, do any of you guys have a recommendation for a good book to read before falling asleep? I don't want to stress or worry or get sad or have to look up big words in a dictionary while I'm laying in bed, so that rules out anything political or intense or complicated. Ideally, I'd like something contemporary, fiction or non-fiction, that would make me smile a little before I go to bed.

Previous bedtime books I've read include "Winterdance" by Gary Paulsen and the Bridget Jones books. Yeah, we're talking non-intense stuff here.

So, what books might make for light, feel-good (or at least, not-feel-bad) bedtime reading? Any suggestions for a particular book or author? :)


macrumors 68030
Dec 26, 2002
Albuquerque, NM
Duff-Man says....I like to read before going to sleep but quite often get into my political books. At other times when I want something lighter, I'll go for a humour book that I can read a short essay or chapter and put down when I feel it is time to shut the eyes down for the night....Dave Barry, Andrew Rooney - that kind of stuff....puts me to sleep with a smile.....oh yeah!


macrumors 6502a
Dec 18, 2003
Why read when you can listen to an audiobook? Honestly you'll go to bed faster this way then by reading. Strains the eye too much.


macrumors 603
Jul 3, 2004
Mac since 7.5
Currently I am looking through The Cult of Mac before bed. It is light reading, easily broken into a page or so without losing continuity, and is a subject near and dear...
I'll also second that Douglas Adams suggestion. I can read a chapter of any book from the Hitchhiker "trilogy" anytime.


macrumors 6502
Dec 24, 2003
Well, someone had to suggest it. Try the Bible. Get a newer translation - reads just like a story, which it is, to some degree.

New Living Translation is the most modern English I can find.


macrumors 68000
Jan 6, 2004
I love Nelson DeMille books. they are not too intense, but usually pretty witty. I'd try maybe Gold Coast or Word of Honor. They are all good. Check out the titles here

Great thread , I can't wait to see what other people are reading :)


macrumors 68030
Dec 27, 2002
Alameda, CA
For me, The New Yorker magazine is perfect for bedtime reading. In each issue there's a good selection of fiction and non-fiction, often by well-known writers. Also a nice variety of long and not-so-long pieces. Worth a look.


macrumors 68000
Nov 24, 2002
Although it has words that I don't know crop up sometimes, I find Sherlock Holmes to be a good read before bed. Around the World in 80 Days was pretty good, too.


macrumors 6502
Aug 22, 2002
Try "Grow Rich While You Sleep" by Ben Sweetland.

Some interesting concepts presented about putting the subconscious to work while you are asleep. Also has tips on falling asleep faster and getting back to sleep quickly if you are woken in the night. It's all presented in a very easy to read (non-intense) manner.

Or try Bill Bryson's travel books. I've heard good things about his "A Short History of Nearly Everything", but personally I've only read his travelogue about Australia and it was fantastic. I read that one before bed, but I did disturb my wife a few times with all the laughing.


macrumors 68040
Apr 21, 2003
washington dc
without getting this moved to political discussion (fingers crossed), i usually read the bible before bed.

i also read a lot of biographies before bed.


macrumors Core
Jan 6, 2004
jywv8 said:
I like David Sedaris.
hes good, Chuck Palahniuk is awesome as well

if you like any sort of fantasy i would consider reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Harry Potter series, although the latter i am not fond of, another fantasy series i have found amazing is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series

other than those just pick up some classic literature that would enjoy, stuff like Emma, Jane Eyre, Dickens, or some William Shakespeare, whatever time period you want, although its not contemporary it is usually relaxing and non intense to read


macrumors 68030
Jan 31, 2003
Chi Town
I seem to have fallen asleep on Wade's Organic Chemistry, Bear et al.'s Neuroscience: Exploring the Brain, and Voet & Voet's Biochemistry a handful of times.


macrumors 6502
Nov 11, 2004
Denver, CO
ill tell you what a bad book to read before be is:
State of Fear, by Michael Chriton. Way to exiting, I was up till 1am last night reading it.


macrumors 68000
Jan 28, 2004
PlaceofDis said:
if you like any sort of fantasy i would consider reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy or the Harry Potter series, although the latter i am not fond of, another fantasy series i have found amazing is Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series
I just got Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susana (Susanna?) Clark for Christmas and have been enjoying that. Its kind of a historical fantasy set in England but dealing with magic and such. It is pretty good so far.


macrumors 6502
May 20, 2004
As previously mentioned, definitely Douglas Adams.

Chuck Palahniuk, too. But if you are looking for something less strange, Hemingway is always an easy read.

Blue Velvet

Moderator emeritus
Jul 4, 2004

...if you like travelling or reading about different places, any of Paul Theroux's non-fiction books. He's a little grumpy, self-deprecating and never wide-eyed which makes his writing often hilarious...

Fond favourites include:
• The Great Railway Bazaar
• The Old Patagonian Express
• The Kingdom by the Sea
• The Pillars of Hercules
• Riding the Iron Rooster
• Dark Star Safari


macrumors 603
Dec 19, 2002
The the Book "Eragon" by Christopher Paolini, which is 'officially' a kids book, is a great read in bed, I wouldn't necessarily say that it is great for putting you to sleep. Many a night I found myself turning out the lights at 3:00 AM, after expecting to be asleep by midnight. Leaves you with dreams of Dragons and magic, which is something that I personally don't object to dreaming about. :)


macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
I usually don't read before bed as reading helps keep me awake. I always want to know what happens next. If I don't pull myself away from a good book on purpose I could read the whole night through and pay for it the next day or two.

I read mostly Fantasy, but I say don't start the wheel of time unless 1) like really long stories 2) like a lot of detail 3)don't mind that its not finished yet, or 4) don't mind that it may never get finished as the author is, I believe, in his 80s or 90s and doesn't seem to have a clue as to how to end the series. Otherwise its a great storie, at least the first 5 books.