The Reading-in-Bed Injury

The doctor may warn her about the perils of reading in bed.

Two days ago I woke up with a sore neck, shoulder, and back. Exercise didn’t help, and my only escape from pain was a David Lodge novel. Today I fumed and fussed, wondering if I’d get over this absurd non-sports injury. After looking up sore necks on the internet, I concluded the cause was “reading in bed.” Yes, that is listed as one of the habits that lead to my new tri-pain. And here’s something specific I attribute it to: holding up an 800-page book while I lounge on pillows!

On and off this fall, I’ve been reading The Collected Stories of Elizabeth Bowen, reissued last year by Everyman’s Classics. To say it is a big book is an understatement. Years ago I checked out an earlier edition of this book from the library, with an introduction by Angus Wilson rather than John Banville, and made it through 300 pages before I gave up. How can I love Bowen’s novels so much yet be bored by her stories? It’s a conundrum. Some of the stories are brilliant, some of them are too, well, lady-like and somehow distant. Because I love her style, I long to return to her novels.  This month I’ve made it through 412 pages of her stories,but  I am relieved to have a reason to quit. It’s a reading-in-bed injury, by God!

Reading on an e-reader is the obvious solution for reading in bed, but I can’t read on screens all the time. And so I switched to a 400-page John le Carre novel, which I’m loving but which seems to be a a trifle heavy to hold.

Perhaps I need to give up reading in bed. Sitting in chairs rather than lounging?

4 thoughts on “The Reading-in-Bed Injury”

  1. Like you I like to read in bed, and often my books of choice are on the heavy side. I put a pillow on my belly and put the book on the pillow, so that I don’t have to hold it up. Perhaps this will work for you too 😀

  2. I hope your neck feels better soon. Don’t we have too many aches and pains without those we inflict on ourselves? I always have a Bed Book (Kindle or paperback), Bathtub Book (Kindle or paperback), and Chair Book (any size or binding). I read the book that’s best suited to my location. The intensity of the arthritis in my thumbs also determines which I choose. When I was young ……

    1. I do need a book suited to my location! Fortunately, I’m feeling somewhat better today, due to reading appropriate-sized books in bed, I think. Sorry about the arthritis, which I hear is very painful. What I suppose we need to do is constant full-body work-outs, but I only lift weights (soup cans or whatever) AFTER I begin to ache. So logical of me!

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