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Battling Jet Lag with Books

Yash Kesanakurthy

Staff Writer

Somewhere between starting her schooling in Saudi Arabia and finishing high school in Singapore, Yash Kesanakurthy realized that she disliked school. It was the fateful move to Vancouver, Canada for a BA in Economics (which, surprise, didn't pan out) that led her to the MA program in Children's Literature at UBC. She had fun immersing herself into the academia of children's literature but nothing beat the joy of writing for The Book Wars, being able to set aside classics and pay attention to the culture of contemporary YA. And now, everything is PB/MG/YA and nothing hurts. Well, some things hurt but nothing her bookshelf can't fix. Currently, she is working on her own YA fantasy novel and an all-ages picturebook. Her life goals include: getting a pet dog, getting published, and presenting you dear readers and Rioters with posts that engage and entertain. (Maybe not in that order?) Blog: The Book Wars Twitter: @SeeYashTweet

So, you’ve agonized over the Important Packing Decisions (i.e. you’ve packed more books than clothes), you actually made it through your trip without being assaulted by the elements, you never lacked for entertainment, and what’s more: you’re back home in one piece! Huzzah!

Just one teensy problem: jet lag.

If you work from home and don’t have any roomies to kick your ass into gear, jet lag can be the worst. (Let me tell you, falling asleep when you have something in the oven? Not a fun scenario to jolt awake to, okay?) And since I’m the self-designated Bookish Plans girl here, I have come up with five ways to battle jet lag with books:

1. Say Yes to Bookish Plans: I mean, generally, making plans to meet people you like is a good idea when you have jet-lag, but picking a situation where you are expected to contribute something intelligible to the conversation could be a bit better. Less chance of falling asleep where you sit, maybe? Well, for me, at least. (I am the rudest of all my friends, can you tell?) Even half asleep I can babble about a book I’ve read recently.


So, say yes to meeting that classmate you knew from that one Asian Studies class, attend your library’s book club, definitely go to your local Read Harder club, and see how your intense love for books will keep your eyes bright and open.

2. Loud Audiobooks: I decided to add this one to the list following an incident while re-listening to Stephen Fry read Harry Potter and the Prisoner Azkaban. Fortunately or unfortunately, I was very close to dozing off around the bit when Ron wakes up to see Sirius Black hovering over his bed with a knife? I believe Ron’s reaction goes something like, “AAARGHHHNOOOOOO!!” And Mr. Fry does not ignore the panicky capitals.

I may have jumped out of my sofa and flapped my arms around like some kind of demon bird in heat, but the point remains that I was awake for as long as I needed to be. Yep. Find an audiobook with yelling in it. Put the volume as high as you can without horrifying your neighbours.

3. Books You’ve Been Yearning to Read: I made the mistake of picking books I had to read. As a result, I kept re-reading the same paragraph over and over through sleep-glazed eyes, not understanding anything. Eventually, I put the book aside and settled into bed at 6 PM. My advice is to pick a book you’ve been itching to read, a long-awaited sequel, a book that decides the fates of your favourite characters, or maybe something with a splash of murder or horror? Doesn’t matter if it’s a “guilty-pleasure” book, if it grabs your attention, it’s a worthwhile book—so read it.

4. Large Hardbound Books: This is an expansion on the point above. Try to snag a large, hard-bound copy of the book you’ve been yearning to read. It’s just a back-up strategy, in case you’re like me and get too comfortable while reading a book. An unwieldy hardbound won’t let you find a comfortable reading position while lying down. You’ll just have to crawl out of bed and get back to your desk or couch to read the aftermath of that epic plot-twist. Congrats, you may just make it through the day without a five hour “nap”.

5. No Sleep Ever: I don’t like relying on coffee or energy drinks to keep me up, so should points 1 through 4 fail me, I might just resort to placing hardbound books all over the surface of my bed. When the urge to “rest my eyes” hits, I will be faced with an uncomfortable bed, the possibility of multiple paper-cuts, and a complete lack of motivation to move the books since jet lag is directly correlated to how lazy I am.

Does anyone have a bookish way to battle jet lag? Let me know! I need to be very prepared for the next time this brain-jumbling condition hits.