This week I’m off on holiday in the Lake District, and while I’ll mostly be going on walks and spending time with my friends, I’m definitely excited about the chance to spend some time reading in such a gorgeous location.
Langdale Pike – Copyright Nick Thorne ©
It’s got me thinking about my favourite places to read – curled up on the sofa, absolutely. But where else? What makes a place the perfect spot to read?
The places I read most often are on the sofa, in bed or in the bath – a risky business, but I haven’t dropped a book in the bath since Christopher Paolini’s Brisingr. It was already a hefty book at over 700 pages, but it’s been comically large since it’s dunk, and the memory somehow seems to have improved my grip.
I find it interesting how different books I’ve read in different settings – in the bath I read most of Orbiting Jupiter, and Am I Normal Yet?, while Life After Life I read exclusively on the sofa, and the Throne of Glass books I read equally between bed, sofa and bath.
The other week I found enjoying an unusual opportunity to sit outside and read for half an hour, and I loved it. Little snippets of reading within the day are so joyful in themselves, but usually I’m at home for them. I loved taking that moment not only to enjoy a book, but to be somewhere different to enjoy it. Occasionally, I do read in coffee shops or on trains, but in general, I find reading in public difficult because of how distracted I am in those situations. I think of myself as needing to be able to concentrate on a story – and yet I ignore all sorts of situations at home to continue reading. As children my sister and I were both known for the weird ways we sat while deep in a book.
So perhaps it isn’t about concentration but about privacy – about how personal, in fact, the experience of fiction can be, and feeling in danger of exposing oneself a little too much by risking reading in public.
The ways we interact with fiction not just personally but physically and geographically are something I’m really interested in at the moment – I’d love to hear any thoughts you have on where you read and why.