Books in bed

I have a bed that I love. A couple years ago I spent a couple weeks sleeping on an air mattress until my parents finally took pity on me, and my back, and bought me a real bed for my birthday. My parents really like to give useful gifts; for another birthday a couple years ago they bought me a toilet. It's a tough call to decide which of these two gifts I get more use out of. I love my bed, I love my blankets and pillows and matching sheet sets, but I've reached a critical point in my life where I think I may have to buy a new bed for myself, a bigger bed.

My son, Silas, still crawls into bed with me every morning before the sun comes up. While this is sort of cozy and sweet and I like the way his hair smells, it also means the end of a restful night for me. There we are, squeezed up against each other like a pair of socks folded into a matching pair. Silas also likes to stroke and poke my face while he sleeps. While I can sort of imagine why he finds this comforting, he doesn't have any sympathy at all for why I find this irritating and annoying.

I have a queen-size bed at the moment, so the next step for me would be to get one of those California kings. I'm not sure why Californian beds are bigger than all the rest; maybe because it's hot there, so no one wants to snuggle up against another human being at night? The other option I'm seriously considering is turning my entire bedroom floor into a mattress.

My son and I, despite my cheese addiction, are fairly average-sized people, so I know you all are wondering why the two of us can't fit comfortably into a queen size bed. Another being has taken over one half of my bed. A being that appears to maybe be parasitic in nature, and is slowly growing larger and larger to wrap all the way from the head to the foot of my bed. This parasite is usually known by its scientific name, Paperback Novel, mostly of the "mystery" genus.

It started out innocently enough, I would read in bed for a while, get sleepy, and then lay the book down beside me while I slept. Things quickly grew out of control, though. I would start reading several books at a time, finishing one story, browsing an old favorite, and trying to bore myself asleep with books for work (one book, "Toyota Lean Production Methods" does this particularly well). Then, even when I had finished a book, I would want to keep it in bed with me. After all, just because I had finished a particular book doesn't mean I won't want to read it again, and if I want to read it again, I'll probably want to read it in bed.

Sleeping with my parasitic book growth is like trying to sleep with another person. We have very particular opinions about what side of the bed to occupy. Occasionally the mystery novels will try to sneak over and occupy both sides of the bed, but I just employ a little tough love in those instances. Also any book that slides off the pile and into my head while I sleep gets banished to the floor. I have to have a one strike rule in the bedroom, or those novels would think they can get away with anything.

So once it hits about four o'clock in the morning I don't get to sleep on either side of the bed, I have to take the middle. Wedged between a little boy who scratches with his toenails and pokes with his fingers, and some very sharp edged books who seem intent of picking a fight until I give up and sleep on the couch.

This weekend I'll have to do some serious rearranging in the bedroom to make room for my new, much larger bed. Or maybe, possibly, a new set of bookshelves.

Zoe Abel is fighting with the books, trying to convince them that she deserves a break and a nap as much as they do. You can contact her at

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