The 5 Best Books (and a bonus!) I Read During 2AM Nursing Sessions

I’m a huge reader. I began reading at the age of three and literally never leave the house without a book. I love that I can escape the anxiety of my life to enter the anxiety of someone else’s. So when I was approaching the end of my pregnancy, I bought myself a “push present” — a fancy new e-reader with night mode backlighting. I knew that I’d be up at all hours for quite a few months and need to occupy my mind. And an e-reader has made reading while nursing in the middle of the night a little more enjoyable.

Here are a few books I enjoyed in the wee morning hours during the first few months of my son’s life:

How to Walk Away by Katherine Center
This book was probably not the best choice for a light late-night read, considering all of the raging postpartum hormones, but here we are. This story about how to find your identity again, after everything changes in an instant, really resonated with me as a new mom navigating who I was. While the plot was fairly predictable and fell into a lot of chick-lit tropes, it still made me sob, and the redemptive ending felt like lifting real a burden off my back.

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
CLASSIC. Have I read this before? Of course. Did I buy it for $1.99 just for the hell of it? Abso-freakin’-lutely. The movie version is one of those that runs on TBS every once in a while, and you just gotta stop and watch. When I reread in 2018 this book originally published in 2003, I definitely noticed that it has aged, and not always particularly well (it’s about fashion trends!), but the nostalgia alone made it a late-night delight.

The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
I’m a big fan of the psychological thriller genre (think Gone Girl or In A Dark Dark Wood) and this one is by far one of the best I’ve read. It was recommended to me through Reese Witherspoon’s book club (you can check that out on Instagram for more recommendations). I want to preserve the suspense for you so I won’t give too many details about this one, but the twist was completely unexpected; and I felt so satisfied with the resolution that I can’t recommend it more enthusiastically if you love to have loose ends tied up skillfully.

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Another Reese pick, this book was absolutely fascinating. I think we all know an Eleanor -- someone who marches to the beat of their own drum. Eleanor takes this to the extreme, to the point that I was uncomfortable by how awkward she is. This book was an utterly delightful read though, and at the end, I felt so proud of Eleanor for blazing her own trail and becoming an even better version of her kooky self.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
This is the most literary read on my list but it’s not one that’s hard to follow or difficult to read. This sweeping novel covers a family from Korea and their struggles to assimilate in Japan over the course of about 80 years. It’s a chapter of history I didn’t know about at all, and Lee’s writing made it easy to understand. It’s so well-written and positively breathtaking to read.

Bonus: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This one is a bit of a cheat. I read this book for about the fifth time while I was in labor for 82 hours (yes, I was in labor for 82 hours). The setting of this book is decadent and transcendent, and it whisked my brain away from the annoyances of my baby taking forever. This book was published in 2011 and so many other writers have tried – and failed – to write “the next Night Circus.” Nothing compares to the imagery, the plot, and the characters. It’s perfect.