Edmonds Booktalk: The benefits of reading before bed

Elaine Mattson

Don’t you just love it when something you do anyway proves to be pretty good for you? Red wine? Dark chocolate? Reading before bed!

With information gathered from the Mayo Clinic and Sussex University studies.

Reading before bed is definitely one of the best habits you can have. It not only betters your sleep quality but also positively influences the day’s activities.

Reading can help you relax. There’s a reason snuggling up with a good book (and maybe a glass of wine) after a long day sounds so appealing. Research suggests that reading may reduce stress by as much as 68%.

Reading before bed can help you sleep. Creating a bedtime ritual, signals to your body that it’s time to wind down and go to sleep. [Screens can actually keep you awake longer and potentially hurt your sleep, so reach for a real book!]

Reading is contagious. Parents who want to encourage their children to become readers can start by reading to them. Reading out loud to kids throughout their elementary school years may inspire them to become frequent readers— keep it up!

There are proven cognitive advantages. Reading improves your memory by activating the parts of your brain that create new synapses for memory. Reading has been shown to enhance vocabulary, improve articulation, and increase creativity – making you smarter and ready for that appearance on Jeopardy!

There are also lovely emotional advantages. Reading — literary fiction, in particular — has been shown to improve one’s understanding of others’ beliefs and views, making you more empathetic.

You probably knew most of that! But so nice to reminded that you are doing something so good for yourself.

Edmonds Bookshop Events.

2021 Pacific Northwest Book Awards Celebration! Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021. 6 p.m.
Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association and its 130 member stores will present the first ever virtual celebration of the annual Pacific Northwest Book Awards!


Join your fellow booklovers to meet the recipients of the 2021 Pacific Northwest Book Awards: Donna Barba Higuera, Kim Johnson, E.J. Koh, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Tina Ontiveros, and Aiden Thomas.

Link to our blog with all kinds of information about the books, the event and the awards, here.

Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

We are still doing Zoom meetings for Edmonds Bookshop Book Club.

By all accounts, it’s going pretty well, join us!

February Book Club! “News of the World: A Novel ” by Paulette Jiles.

Zoom meeting, Wednesday morning Feb. 17, 2021: 9 – 10 a.m.

National Book Award Finalist–Fiction

In the aftermath of the Civil War, an aging itinerant news reader agrees to transport a young captive of the Kiowa back to her people in this exquisitely rendered, morally complex, multilayered novel of historical fiction from the author of “Enemy Women” that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

The “Major Motion Picture” starring Tom Hanks, opened/started streaming, Christmas Day 2020…

Staff recommended.

Send us an email here to register your email for Book Club and we will send you an invitation with a Zoom Meeting link as each book club meeting is scheduled. [More specific, expansive information on our website, here.]

Link to our Bookclub list for the first few months of 2021. Here.

Join us for a Facebook Live Event: New Staff Recommendations!

Thursday, Feb. 18, 2021 – 6-7 p.m.

Mark your calendars! Join us as we share our latest favorite reads –some we are just getting caught up with from last year, some recent installments in a favorite series, some the latest from a favorite author. And some possible sneak peeks of books coming out this spring. But all of our recommendations will be books that we have recently read and deemed “Tag-worthy!’

More information here!

Recent book releases of note:

“Eight Perfect Murders” by Peter Swanson. Now in paper. Staff recommended.
“A Thousand Ships: A Novel: by Natalie HaynesChosen for February IndieBound. 
“Beginners: The Joy and Transformative Power of Lifelong Learning” by Tom Vanderbilt. An inspirational journey into the transformative joys that come with starting something new, no matter your age.
“The Prophets” by Robert Jones Jr. This debut novel centers on a romance between two enslaved men in Civil War-era Mississippi. Chosen for IndieBound.  Reviewed on npr.
“Our Darkest Night: A Novel of Italy and the Second World War” by Jennifer Robson. Chosen for IndieBound.
“The Wife Upstairs: A Novel” by Rachel Hawkins. A delicious twist on a Gothic classic, this book pairs Southern charm with atmospheric domestic suspense. Chosen for IndieBound.
“The Dutch House: A Novel” by Ann PatchettChosen for IndieBound.  Now in paperback.
“The Breaker: Peter Ash Novel #6” by Nick Petrie. Staff recommended series.
“A Swim in the Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading and Life” by George Saunders. Chosen for IndieBound.
“Concrete Rose” by Angie Thomas. A prequel to Thomas’ bestselling novel “The Hate U Give.”
“The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World” by Melinda Gates. In paperback.
“The House on Vesper Sands” by Paraic O’Donnell. Chosen for IndieBound.
“The Children’s Blizzard: A Novel” by Melanie BenjaminChosen for IndieBound.
“The Resisters: A Novel” by Gish JenChosen for IndieBound.  Now in paperback.
“Before She Disappeared” by Lisa Gardner.
“Land: How the Hunger for Ownership Shaped the Modern World” by Simon Winchester.
“Shiver” by Allie Reynolds. A propulsive locked-room thriller debut.
For all ages  “Champ and Major: First Dogs” by Joy McCullough.  A picture book about President Biden’s two adorable dogs! Major will be the first shelter dog in the White House, and Champ can’t wait to show him around.
“American Baby: A Mother, a Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption” by Gabrielle Glaser.  Author interview on npr.
“Just As I Am” by Cicely Tyson.

Some books of note being released in February 2021:

“The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah. An epic novel of love and heroism and hope, set against the backdrop of one of America’s most defining eras–the Great Depression.  Chosen for February IndieNext.  Interesting review in the Washington Post, here. Lovely interview in The New York Times. February 2, 2021

“The Survivors: A Novel” by Jane Harper. In her latest tense, moody mystery, a body washes up on the beach in a small coastal Australian town where deeply buried secrets are dredged up. Chosen for February IndieNext. February 2, 2021

“This Close to Okay” by Leesa Cross-Smith. A powerful, vibrant novel about the life-changing weekend shared between two strangers, from the award-winning writer Roxane Gay calls “a consummate storyteller.” February 2, 2021.

“The Paris Library: A Novel” by Janet Skeslien Charles. Based on the true World War II story of the heroic librarians at the American Library in Paris, this is an unforgettable story of romance, friendship, family, and the power of literature to bring us together.  Chosen for February IndieNext. February 2, 2021

“Send For Me: A Novel” by Lauren Fox. An achingly beautiful work of historical fiction that moves between Germany on the eve of World War II and present-day Wisconsin, unspooling a thread of love, longing, and the powerful bonds of family. Chosen for February IndieNext. February 2, 2021

“Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019,” edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain. Ninety different writers each take on a five-year period of Black history in this unique volume. A chorus of extraordinary voices comes together to tell one of history’s great epics: the 400-year journey of African Americans from 1619 to the present.  February 2, 2021.

For teen readers  “The Project” by Courtney Summers. Masterfully written and pulling no punches… A gripping, flawless psychological thriller ready to leave readers shattered. – School Library Journal. February 2, 2021.

“Love Is an Ex-Country” by Randa Jarrar. Queer. Muslim. Arab American. A proudly Fat woman. Randa Jarrar is all of these things. In this “viscerally elegant” and “intimately edgy” memoir of a cross-country road trip, she explores how to claim joy in an unraveling and hostile America (Kirkus Reviews). Chosen for February IndieNext. February 2, 2021

“Girl A” by Abigail Dean. She thought she had escaped her past. But there are some things you can’t outrun. A propulsive and psychologically immersive novel about a young girl who escapes captivity–but not the secrets that shadow the rest of her life.  February 2, 2021.

“Four Lost Cities” by Annalee Newitz. A quest to explore some of the most spectacular ancient cities in human history–and figure out why people abandoned them. February 2, 2021.

“The Removed” by Brandon Hobson. Steeped in Cherokee myths and history, a novel about a fractured family reckoning with the tragic death of their son long ago-from the National Book Award finalist. Chosen for February IndieNext.  February 2, 2021.

“Blowout: Corrupted Democracy, Rogue State Russia, and the Richest, Most Destructive Industry on Earth” by Rachel Maddow. Now in paperback. February 2, 2021.

“Deacon King Kong” by James McBride. Now in paperback. Great list of books that Mr. McBride recommends, on our blog, here.   February 2, 2021.

“Apeirogon: A Novel” by Colum McCann. Now in paperback.  February 2, 2021.

“Dear Edward” by Ann Napolitano. Now in paperback.  February 2, 2021.

For young readers “Claudia and the New Girl: The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novel #9” by Ann M. Martin. February 2, 2021.

“House Lessons: Renovating a Life” by Erica Bauermeister. Now in paperback. Staff recommended. February 2, 2021.

“Serpentine: An Alex Delaware Novel #36”  by Jonathan Kellerman. Psychologist Alex Delaware and detective Milo Sturgis search for answers to a brutal, decades-old crime in this electrifying psychological thriller from the bestselling master of suspense. February 2, 2021.

“A Bright Ray of Darkness” by Ethan Hawke. The first novel in nearly twenty years from the acclaimed actor/writer/director is a book about art and love, fame and heartbreak–a blistering story of a young man making his Broadway debut in Henry IV just as his marriage implodes. Interview on npr. February 2, 2021.

“The King’s Justice: A Maggie Hope Mystery” by Susan Elia MacNeal. Can a stolen violin lead secret agent and spy Maggie Hope to a serial killer terrorizing London? The acclaimed WWII mystery series continues. Paperback original. February 2, 2021.

“Between Two Kingdoms” by Suleika Jaouad. A searing, deeply moving memoir of illness and recovery that traces one young woman’s journey from diagnosis to remission and, ultimately, a road trip of healing and self-discovery. February 9, 2021.

“The Witch’s Heart” by Genevieve Gornichec. When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this fierce, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse myth. February 9, 2021.

“The Burning Girls” by C. J. Tudor. Rarely have the secrets of an English village been used to greater effect than in this tautly suspenseful mystery from Thriller Award-winner Tudor. . . . The tension become[s] nearly unbearable. Tudor expertly doles out the plot twists . . . –Publishers Weekly.  February 9, 2021.

“How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” by Bill Gates. In this urgent, authoritative book, Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical–and accessible–plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Mr. Gates will be appearing as part of Seattle Arts and Lectures 2021 season [interviewed by Anderson Cooper!]  The information here. February 16, 2021.

“No One Is Talking About This: A Novel” by Patricia Lockwood. Genre-bending and entirely original from the author of staff recommended “Priestdaddy,” this is a bizarre (yet still familiar) novel about being entrenched in the digital world. February 16, 2021.

“The Echo Wife” by Sarah Gailey. A trippy domestic thriller which takes the extramarital affair trope in some intriguingly weird new directions. February 16, 2021.

“The Desolations of Devil’s Acre” by Ransom Riggs. The fate of peculiardom hangs in the balance in this epic conclusion to the bestselling Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. February 23, 2021.

A couple of bonus exciting March sneak previews!

Michelle Obama’s memoir, “Becoming,” finally coming in paperback! 3/2/2021. Preorder the paperback and the Young Readers’ edition here.

“Transient Desires: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery #30” by Donna Leon.  March 9, 2021. Preorder here.

We will keep posting our favorite reads, along with links to all kinds of book-related interesting things! In all the places: on our website, facebook, Instagram, and twitter.

 You may pre-order any forthcoming title by visiting our website.

Stay safe. Do your best to stay sane. And as always: Happy reading!

— By Elaine Mattson

Edmonds native Elaine Mattson has worked at The Edmonds Bookshop off and on since she was 12 years old, and has also worked at a book wholesaler, a book publisher, and for the book publishing division of a large local software company (yes, that one). “I was raised a book lover [thanks, Mom!],” Mattson says. “We got book lights by our beds as soon as we were old enough to read. And then I probably got in trouble for reading too late the very next night. And I still read too late!


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