I don't often stay up late to finish a book. Even when I have trouble sleeping, I usually avoid reading because the very act seems to keep my brain too alert to drift off. Instead, I usually turn on my computer and that alone seems to make me tired, probably because I most often associate it with work.
Recently, I've found my sleep schedule off. This occurs more frequently due to my unemployment. It's been difficult to prevent myself from sleeping in till noon and/or napping the day away, so occasionally I have to reset my schedule. The Hunger Games kept me up last night. I was already having difficulty sleeping, it was 10pm, and I hadn't finished my 100 pages for the day, which was fine, because I usually stay up until 11:30 or midnight. But by the time I did finish those 100 pages, I was too wrapped up in the book to put it down. I found myself reading the last page at somewhere around 4:46am.
There were days in high school when I would do this all the time, particularly on the weekends. I didn't have a whole lot of friends, and I just wasn't all that into partying, so unless I was going to a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show I was probably at home on the weekends doing homework or reading. And sadly, I can't remember the last book that kept me up late at night.
There's something sort of special about that, though: participating in that kind of adventure of the page when everyone else is asleep. Last night, the world was quiet and dark, and there I was, reading away with no fear of interruption. Even the cat was off somewhere sleeping. I was alone, curled up on my futon mattress on the floor. Occasionally some nocturnal bird would chirp and I would wonder how close to dawn it was. Stories somehow seem more real at night, and Collins' writing drew me into The Hunger Games in a way that a lesser novelist couldn't have. The darkness seems to make it easier for me to connect with the character and the setting, as if the very intimacy of the situation makes me closer to whoever or whatever I'm with at the time. The act of reading in the dark, the midnight hours, makes me feel like that book is mine alone and that it's the only world I have in that moment.