It’s not what you read but where you read

Over the weekend, in between wandering through the Motown Museum in Detroit and watching the fantastic Michigan Wolverines beat Ohio State for the first time in eight years, I read this piece in the Wall Street Journal.  It made me think that we spend a lot of time talking about what we are reading in terms of subject matter and what we are reading on (i.e., Kindles, tablets, phones, and other electronic devices or actual physical books) but we don’t spend a lot of time, though, thinking about where we like to be when we read for pleasure.

For example, I work every night in my home office, editing proposals, answering e-mails, reading query letters.  But when I want to read a book for pleasure I immediately gravitate to a big comfortable chair in my living room where I can curl up and really enjoy the whole experience of reading.  Oftentimes, one or both of my dogs will join me which makes the experience all the more cozy.  I actually find that I cannot read for pleasure anywhere else in my house (except perhaps in bed right before I go to sleep).

Then, of course, there is the beach where we try to go for vacation at least once a year—I can sit under an umbrella and read on the beach for hours at a time.  In fact, I’ll be on a beach with a good book in just a few weeks when we close our offices for the holidays.

It seems that I’m not the only one thinking about reading comfort zones (check this out!) so tell me, where’s your favorite place to read?

8 Responses to It’s not what you read but where you read

  1. Like Steve, I increased my reading by listening to audiobooks. I can listen to a book in about a week to 10 days just driving to and from work. Since I get all my audiobooks from the library, sometimes I’m limited by selection, so I’ve tried out books I wouldn’t have been interested in otherwise.

    I took Stephen King’s advice from On Writing and intentionally ignore coworkers at lunch at least a couple times a week so I can read. I can read at least 50 pages in one sitting at lunch and feel so refreshed afterward. I’m willing to give up lunch table gossip to read.

    Lastly, I read in bed. The problem with this is I become so engaged I stay up way past my bedtime. I suppose it’s not that bad of a problem to have…

  2. Sarah says:

    My local coffee shop is one of my favorite places. Great chairs, low music, tasty coffee. It’s only bad if there’s a particularly noisy group in there while I’m reading. Curled up on the couch at home with a cat is a great place too, or the tub with a glass of wine, or in bed, but there’s always distractions when I’m home. Like laundry or dishes, yuck.

  3. Steve says:

    Out of necessity rather than choice, I do most of my reading while driving my car. I guess I should more accurately report that I do my “reading” while driving. I have a one-hour commute each morning and evening. And with work and family, I don’t get much time to hold an actual book. So I listen to a lot of audiobooks.

    I was pleasantly surprised to find I quickly adapted to this form. A talented narrator can add new dimensions and richness to a book. I’m more likely to hear the voices of Ron Weasley and Snape created by Jim Dale with his reading of the Harry Potter books than to hear the movie versions. Jim Dale is that good and even if you’ve read the Potter books, their worth another “read” in their audio versions. I’m currently listening to “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Zora N. Hurston. With her marvelous mastery of dialect, narrator Ruby Dee truly makes this a very different book by reading it with my ears rather than my eyes.

    I also find a certain pleasure in the irony of these high-tech books allowing me to experience the most primitive medium of storytelling–the human voice.

  4. During the warmer months, out on my porch. My front porch early in the morning until the sun’s in my eyes, then my back porch. I like to write both places as well, and will frequently read, say, a chapter, then write a bit, back and forth like that. During the colder months, I prefer a rocking chair in my living room, looking out my front window.

  5. On the bus and in the bath. There’s nothing like a hot bath and a good book….

    • Clix says:

      THIS. Sometimes with a cold glass of milk and a cookie. It’s just so soothing.

      And it’s probably why I don’t have any sort of electronic reader, too ;D

  6. Andrea says:

    If the weather is nice: outside on the balcony, or somewhere in the mountains, listening to the sounds of nature while reading.
    If cold and/or raining: on the couch with a cat purring somewhere near me, or in bed.
    Oh, and always with a real book… I need to feel and smell the paper, be able to flick through (real) pages and listen to the rustling sound, and be inspired by the real books in my bookcase. I quite like techno-stuff, but some things are more enjoyable for a not-so-visual person like me if I can use more than just one sense. I´m dreading the day I won´t be able to buy paper copies of a book… (sorry, a bit off-topic).

  7. Anywhere but a desk chair, but usually my couch or bed. I just spend so much time in desk chairs between work, writing, and goofing off on the Internet that I can’t be comfortable there with a book.

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