Our Reading Lives

The Last Book that Kept You Up at Night?

Kim Ukura

Staff Writer

Kim Ukura is a book lover, recovering journalist, library advocate, cat mom, and lover of a good gin cocktail. In addition to co-hosting Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, For Real, and co-editing Book Riot’s nonfiction newsletter, True Story, Kim spends her days working in communications at a county library system in the Twin Cities area. Kim has a BA in English and journalism from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not getting to bed before 10 p.m., Kim loves to read nonfiction, do needlework projects, drink tea, and watch the Great British Baking Show. Instagram: @kimthedork Twitter: @kimthedork

What’s the last book that kept you up at night?

I’m not talking about the last book that scared you so much you couldn’t sleep (although, I suppose that could count too). I’m talking about the book that you settled down with to read a chapter or two before bed, only to emerge hours later, book finished and bedtime just a fleeting moment in the distant past. What book was that?

I emerged from the swamp of the non-reader in a big way over the weekend with doing one of my favorite things: starting and finishing a book in one sitting. The problem is that I started the book around 9:30 p.m. Sunday night, just an hour before my head was supposed to be hitting the pillow so I could be rested for work on Monday morning.

By the time I turned the last page, it was 12:45  a.m. and I had to be awake in less than six hours. #responsibilityfail

The book? The Nobodies Album by Carolyn Parkhurst.

The Nobodies Album — part murder mystery, part relationship exploration, part meditation on writing and our role in rewriting our own stories — is a bit of a departure from my normal reading fare, but I’d read a review from a trusted blogger, found a copy at the library, and, at that moment Sunday night, needed a book that was a radical departure from the history books I’ve been reading. I had no idea just how addicting the book would turn out to be.

This isn’t the first time — or, certainly, the last time — that I’ve gotten so sucked into a book that I forgot to go to sleep. I devoured each and every one of the Harry Potter books as soon as we got them, foregoing sleep if necessary to finish each before my sister. And I distinctly remember staying up well past a reasonable hour to read just one more (and then one more, and then one more) chapter in The Da Vinci Code when borrowed a copy from my mother.

Oh! And then there was my epic read-a-thon of the entire Hunger Games trilogy when Mockingjay came out in 2010. In an impulsive move, I decided to re-read both The Hunger Games and Catching Fire before Mockingjay, but because I was SO EXCITED to read Mockingjay but still had to be a grown up and go to my job, I spent three late nights in a row in Panem finishing the series.

It’s amazing the power that a great book can have, to make a reader give up other basic needs in order to stay immersed in the pages. I am confident that every reader has at least one book that has kept them up at night… what’s yours?

Photo Credit: christyfrink via Flickr


Kim Ukura is a newspaper editor and blogs about literary fiction and non fiction at Sophisticated Dorkiness. Follow her on Twitter: @kimthedork