One of the lovely perks of a long-term relationship is that sleeping together stops meaning “having sex” and starts meaning “seeing one another in long johns and Clearasil.” It also involves deciphering and respecting one another’s bedtime routine — a most sacred rigmarole that can include pillow fluffing, mouthwash gargling, nose spraying, alarm clock setting, and wrinkle creaming. Or that horribly disruptive process of book reading.

You think reading a book is a quiet pursuit? I beg to differ. Because on the cusp of waking and sleeping, there’s a foggy state of consciousness where even benign noises are obnoxiously amplified. Your chiming text alert becomes a gong; a baby’s sigh a Nor’easter; and your significant other’s turning of a book page the milling and paving of an airport tarmac.

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“Who just razed a skyscraper?!?!” I’ve been known to shout, while bolting upright in bed and removing my biteguard. “Did the hand of Goliath just scrape away the crust of the earth?!?!”

“Geez,” my husband replies. “I’m just reading.”

“Well, can you please read QUIETER?”

It’s requests as such that keep neighborhood bars in business.

But anyway. THOSE BOOKS. With all their damn page-turning noise. Not to mention the blinding, unforgivable miner’s headlamp that my husband uses to read his ear-splitting literature. It’s a duo set on destroying my sleep and sanity, second only to my two sons. So recently, after a particularly crinkly biography and a new miner’s bulb that apparently came straight from an Autobahn headlight, I did something I swore I’d never do: I downloaded a book onto our iPad.

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As a lover of books (What? Did I make it sound like I felt otherwise?), this was tantamount to shredding a first-edition copy of A Confederacy of Dunces and using it as hamster bedding. However, once that cute little book icon showed up on the screen, with its silent pages illuminated by a glow that can only be called “lullaby blue,” I was a convert. My husband was now free to improve his intellect by reading The Best of Thoroughbred Handicapping, while I drifted off to dreamland uninterrupted.

So, here’s a couple of odes to e-readers. A haiku and a limerick professing my love:

Sweet, silent e-book
Couple’s counselor disguised
And much, much cheaper.

What’s worse to bring into bed:
A hooker or book to be read?
Some say the whore,
But unless she’s a snorer,
The book is the one you should dread.

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So, thank you, all-things Kindle-like for making my bedtime conflict-free. And thanks to my husband for agreeing to read QUIETER. Also. You may wonder what am doing on my side of the bed to make our nightlife more delightful. Well, for starters, I’ve switched to a flesh-colored zit cream.

Whitney Collins is the creator and editor of two humor sites: errant parent and The Yellow Ham. Her humor appears on The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and Fathermucker’s blog; you can follow her on tumblr at She lives with her husband and two sons in Kentucky, where she’s been known to do mediocre local stand-up.

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