A friend from tennis has adult children. A librarian once told her to never, ever, under any circumstances read books before bedtime. Books are not for putting children to sleep.
There are perhaps two kinds of books — one is designed to put children to sleep with its rhythm and repetition, which doesn’t necessarily make it a bad piece of literature. After spending last night dealing with nightmares, there’s a strong case to be made for gentle cuddles of books.
I do have an issue though if books are only ever read in this way. Certainly, many books are exciting and thought-provoking and stimulating, and not necessarily good bedtime fare. That said, if the only opportunity for reading occurs before bedtime, I see no huge problem with this, especially since backlit screens are apparently bad for biorhythms.
David Beagley, in his introductory lecture to Young Adult Fiction (a series available via iTunes U from LaTrobe University) has this to say about YA being used in this way:
Read YA fiction as a proper intellectual, aesthetic experience. Don’t read it to put someone to sleep at night, or to tick off ‘this is one of the classics that I ought to have read at some stage’. Read these books because they are books worth reading, and regard the public appearance of age categorisation as external.
Header painting: Frederick Daniel Hardy – A Kiss Goodnight