Friday, October 13, 2006

Where do you read?

The weather’s changed, gone cooler and so very dark early in the evening. Sometimes on Sunday mornings, I crawl out of bed, pull on thick socks and pajama pants, and wander out to my couch with my book. It’s a futon, more a second bed than a couch really, and after wrapping up in a thick blanket, it is the world’s best reading and napping spot. If the book is good I’ll read through the screaming of my tea kettle. I’ll read until the tea I make is cold in the cup and the sun stops fighting to get through my windows. I’ll read until there really is no point in putting on street clothes after I turn that last page—Nope, I should just crawl back into bed.

And if the book is bad? Oh well, the futon really is the best napping place in the world. Rearrange a few pillows, curl down against the side, and perfection. Nap away until the church bells chime that it is time to find some breakfast.

If what I’m reading requires me to sit up and take notice, to closely examine the text or the page for clues to the author’s meaning or the character’s motivations then I sit in the big, green chair. Best garage sale find ever, that chair is; plush and so large it tries to swallow me whole. Wide enough to let me sit cross legged or sideways with my legs draped over the arm. I’ve highlighted many a text in that chair, tried to memorize facts and figures or just understand the classics. Never with the correct posture, of course, but I think that is more my fault than the chair’s.

And if I should need a break from my facts, figures, or classical texts? The bookshelf behind my chair is filled: knitting supplies to Christopher Moore to Elizabeth George to the Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. I just have to reach back and some book will take me away.

I’ve been known to read in the car—passenger or back seat, obviously—but the motion of the vehicle always makes me sleepy. I’m much too likely to nod off in the middle of a paragraph and awaken to find that I don’t remember what I’d last read.

I do read on the train, in the mornings, but the commute (if you can even call it that) is short and people watching can be fun. Any reading seems to occur in snippets and paragraphs, interspersed with me covertly trying to find out what everyone else is reading (and whether or not I’ve sold it to them), listening to the odd bits of conversation from those around me, and looking for the man who always rides with his cat perched upon his shoulder. I never get lost in a book on the train, but then again, I never have time, but maybe that’s the point. If the book is good enough those snippets will stick with me until I make my way back to my apartment to fall onto the couch or drape across the chair. It will keep me from detouring to a local pub for a snack and a beer or calling a friend.

If the book is good enough I’ll want to find a nice, soft place to return to its world as quickly as possible.

How about you? Where do you read?

23 comments:

Robin Brande said...

Couch, big black Lab curled beside me with his head on my lap, a long fantasy novel that sucks me in--perfection in every degree.

Penny L. Richards said...

Rarely at home, except in bed, a few pages before collapsing. More often I read in cafes, doctors' waiting rooms, the gym, a bench at the playground, the beach. I get a lot of reading done at Chuck E. Cheese and other indoor playspaces--the noise doesn't bother me all, so as long as my kids are having fun and I've got a book handy, we're good.

Shanna Swendson said...

My ultimate reading spot is the loft over my living room, which I have set up as kind of a library, with big bookcases along all the walls. I have a chaise lounge there with a handy side table for holding a cup of tea, as well as a stereo with a three-disc CD changer and a remote. It's the best place to be on a cold or rainy day because it's the warmest spot in the house. I can spend hours there, curled up with a book, the stereo playing appropriate music.

Unfortunately, I can't sit there in warm weather because it's the warmest spot in the house and the only room in the house without a ceiling fan. In hot weather, I haven't yet found the perfect spot. Usually, I just lie on the sofa in the living room. I think I need to get a good reading chair to go by the window in my bedroom.

I probably do most of my reading in bed, though, in that half hour or so (or, depending on the book, 2 or 3 or more hours) before I go to sleep. I also love reading on airplanes. It's totally guilt-free reading, because what else am I supposed to be doing during that time?

Michelle K said...

Hah! Where don't I read?

I read at the dinner table, I read on the PRT (public transportation), I read at the lunch table, I read lying in bed before falling asleep, I read stretched out on the sofa, I read sitting on the front porch with my feet propped up, I read in the car (not driving) although if I'm the only passenger, I try to keep the driver company.

Though where I read the most, when I'm settling in for a couple of hours, is stretched out on the sofa, feather pillow under my head (if you're going to have pillows on the sofa, that HAVE PILLOWS on the sofa I say), curled up under a quilt, with feline passers-by occasionally stopping to snuggle.

Beverages (hot or cold depending upon the season) are optional.

lady t said...

I love to read in bed(have a sleigh bed which is so condusive to lounging)and sometimes,will have a book while watching TV to read during the commericals.

Long bus rides are great for catching up with a book,too. When I was up for jury duty a few years ago,The Barrytown trilogy kept me company.

mapletree7 said...

Getting out of bed was your first mistake. Just stay there and read!

Trish Ryan said...

Bed is my favorite place to be...alternating chapters with little naps makes for a happy afternoon!

And Shanna's right about guilt-free plane reading. Love that.

M said...

i like to read next to a window with a good view so that i can look up occasionally and watch the birds.

i saw a guy reading at the YMCA....he was stretching and getting ready to run but his nose was stuck in a book! i love it.

i have seen people read while walking on treadmill but never on the track!

Lisa Hunter said...

The bathtub. It's the only place where my family won't interrupt me.

Bernita said...

Everywhere, but mostly in bed.

Ovation Leader said...

I read whenever and wherever I have a moment of blessed peace.

Jen Robinson said...

I read most often in bed, needing a book to unwind before I go to sleep. However, I prefer to read lying on the couch, with a feather pillow under my head. It's a short couch, more of a loveseat really, and I can put my feet up on the arm when I'm lying down - because I'm pretty short, it's the perfect size for me. There's nothing like stretching out with a great book and a whole afternoon free (I rarely read in the mornings for some reason). One of my favorite things is to spend the day after a Christmas or Thanksgiving or my birthday lying on the couch with a new hardcover novel in my hands, and perhaps some chocolate nearby.

I also read by listening to audiobooks when I walk, clean house, or go on long car trips. I can't actually read books in the car because I get sick almost instantly, but audiobooks work well.

I also travel quite a bit, so much of my reading is done on airplanes and in airport terminals. I consider this uninterrupted reading time pretty much the only upside to traveling for business.

I guess what it really comes down to is that, like others above, I read whenever and wherever I can.

Thanks for the opportunity think about this!

jarvenpa said...

How I wish I could read on buses or trains or cars--I never have been able to do this without having the words swim and my stomach lurch. It was a great disappointment when I was a child, and thought reading the best use of one's life.
Actually, I may still think that, in my secret heart.
These days I read in my bookstore (though erratically; people who think bookstore owners or workers spend all their working time reading have never been in the business). I read in bed, on couches, sitting in the garden waiting for turkeys or bears. (My dear partner once offered to get me some sort of frame so, if I preferred, I could read through sex--but I that is one time I usually put the books aside). When I was about 11 I thought I could read while walking. I could, but the drivers on the cross streets had a hard time of it.
I have been known to sneak in a page or two at political meetings as well.

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

I generally have two books going. One is the book I keep by my bed, to read before going to sleep (10-20 pages, sometimes more) or in the loo. The other book is in my van, and I sit in the van and read it during my lunch breaks at work, and before work if I get there early.

But, of course, I'm willing to read just about anywhere - front porch, living room, in the car while my wife is driving....

Sam said...

Trains, planes, but not automobiles - I get car sick.
Mostly in bed, propped up with pillows, curled up in a flannel quilt, and with a cup of tea nearby.

Anonymous said...

In Bed or on a plane (but not while it is moving on the ground).
johnwrt1.livejournal.com or johnwrt1@yahoo.com

quiche said...

Unfortunately the only place I seem to read is in the living room, in my cat ravaged chair. Sometimes I read a few pages while waiting to pick up my son from school. Don't read in bed as my husband goes to sleep early and has to have darkness.

Kelly said...

I'll read anywhere, but I'm like many people here--I'm a couch reader. I've always loved a good book, a cup of coffee (which is becoming, more and more often, a cup o'tea), and a couch.

You can read, drift off to sleep, read again. It can't be beat.

When I was a child, I had a favorite branch in a tree as my reading spot. Even now, second to a couch, under a canopy of leaves is my favorite place. My father has always said--there are tree people and vista people. I'm a tree person (though I never know their names).

Love this topic! I've always wanted a window seat, but have never been comfortable reading in one.

Simon Haynes said...

I do all my reading in bookstores.

(Kidding, just kidding.)

Bethany K. Warner said...

Most of my reading ends up being at the dining room table. I read while I eat.

But I can read anywhere and usually lug a book with me wherever I go.

Erin said...

Curled up on the couch with an afghan on my lap, a roaring fire on the hearth, and a hot cup of chai tea.

Pretty much anywhere works for me though. It was pretty fun reading a book straight through a football game, especially with all the weird looks I was getting. :)

Wolfwhispers said...

enjoyed your blog. I'l read pretty much anywhere, but when it's convienent I read in bed with about a half dozen pillows propping me up

Liz Kreger said...

Great blog. I wish I had something like the recliner you described. My mom has one and you can get lost in one of them.

I try to read when and where I can. Mostly in bed just before falling asleep, or waiting in doctor's offices. Sometimes I even indulge myself and take a break from writing to read.