Books transport you to wondrous places! They take you on journeys to distant lands! Escape reality with a book!
These are, of course, true, if a little bit precious, completely clichéd, and totally overused statements. However, they are so because there is that grain of truth to them. Books really can make you forget your surroundings, drop all cares and make reality unimportant for a little while.
The problem is, however, getting there. Getting immersed in a book is heavily dependent on how much you can let yourself be taken in by it. I find, personally, that unless I’ve already gotten in deep with a book and it’s one of those that I’m thinking about even when I’m not reading, when I’m planning the next time I can really sit down and make another dent in the pages, that it takes some settling in to focus.
Oddly, I’ve found I concentrate best on a book when I’m not at home surrounded by all those cozy comforts. My favorite reading locales are bustling cafes, bars and coffee shops. Couldn’t tell you why, and I don’t know that it’s completely normal, but the complete familiarity of my apartment* and the quietness I find there is more of a distraction than continuous chatter, background music and movement.
Sometimes I prefer going out alone solely so I can sit by myself and read—it makes me happy and I focus on a book all the better for it. Just last night, I was reading alone at my favorite watering hole and it was there that I was finally able to get to the point of “okay, I’ve got the measure of this book now” where I couldn’t when I had started it at home mere minutes earlier. The lights went down, but one of the bartenders came over and made me a makeshift candle tower (not as precarious as it sounds, I promise) and so read on I did.
Where do you read best? Is it home with something nice to drink or munch on, in the park, library, café, bar or anywhere else? Am I less of an oddball than I imagined? Whenever I’m out at a coffee shop I see more people on laptops than anything else, so I suppose the home-away-from-home aspect transcends all media, but then again, computers come with headphones, and I’m no good at reading with headphones in, so there’s that. Rambling over, and awaiting your replies!
*Oddly, the same is not true of my childhood home, where I can read on the living room couch ‘til the cows come home, but I’d say that’s more a matter of habit than any kind of conscious preference.