In 1851, Mary Taylor wrote to her schoolfriend, describing how busy she had been, and how exhausted she was. By the end of each working day, she could barely make it through two pages of the latest chapter of Dicken’s novel. I sewed an extract from her letter, as I know well this feeling of resisting sleep, trying to read but being defeated by heavy eyelids, and soon the pages fall from tired hands. On other nights, reading seems to keep me awake, even when it seems like the whole world outside is fast asleep, but the book is impossible to close as page after page gets consumed by reading fever.
By Alice Sage