Sleepy Listening

Did anyone else ever listen to books on tape when they were little, as they were lying in bed at night? I did. Almost every night until I was 6 or 7.  Lots of different stories. My parents would just slide a tape in the tape player (I’m dating myself- we may even still have the tape player in the attic).

It occurred to me recently that this history may explain why To sometimes find listening to ASMR at night so relaxing.


The one I listened to the most was Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon (My Father’s dragon, Elmer and the Dragon, and The Dragons of Blueland), a story I don’t think I ever read as a text, but look back on very fondly. From the lion with bows in his mane to King Can the 11th, to skunk cabbage and ostrich ferns to learning what a culvert was and the goodness of cows. I can recite a lot of it by heart: “One day, when my father was a little boy, he met an old alley cat on his street. The cat was very drippy and uncomfortable, so my father said, “Wouldn’t you like to come home with me?” This surprised the cat, who had never before met anyone who cared about old alley cats.”
And when I do, I hear the voice in my head.

I remember nothing about The Golly Sisters Go West, but I have the sneaking suspicion that even at age five I found their mishaps painfully embarrassing. Funnily enough, there’s a social media-driven suspense film out this year, Ingrid Goes West, that keeps recalling this to my mind, and that I would very much like to see.

The Josefina Story Quilt is about an old chicken who saves her West-traveling human family from burglars and then dies (spoiler). And they never appreciated her during her life. She should have watched their throats get slit and then joined the burglars. But life isn’t fair. This book made me cry. I’m still bitter for Josefina’s sacrifice.


ALL the Roald Dahls. Well, not ALL of them, but a very lot of them.  I remember The Magic Finger least well, but the story of a might pissed off girl who fucks shit up is pretty appealing. Also… do they mean THE finger?
James and the Giant Peach I also definitely listened to a good few times, but my memory of the audio blends together with my memory of the book and of that bizarrely creepy film.
The Enormous Crocodile and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were the two I listened to more than any other.  Looking back I’m surprised The Enormous Crocodile wasn’t a tad too sinister. And I don’t know about the others, but Charlie at least was read by Roald Dahl, which felt very special.

I don’t think I’m forgetting any. My repertoire was pretty small- you don’t want anything very stimulating or surprising when you’re trying to sleep 😉

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