Room to Read

The title of this post should actually be: Where I Would Like to Read, If I Ever Manage to Finish Doing the Dishes.

This is our living room, on a day when the fog came in and never left, when we found one of those presto log things in the back of the closet in the hall where hockey sticks and toy lightsabers migrate. The people in the picture over the fireplace are the heirs to this living room. They do read in here. Most often, they can be found lying on the couch or the floor with their feet up in the air and a book above their heads, kind of the way a beetle might read were it to find itself upside down on its back with a copy of TinTin in its hands.

Over at Susan Hill’s marvelous blog, there’s a lovely discussion of the places where people read. I paid attention to this question yesterday and discovered that I read: on the train (no surprise there), sometimes on the train platform if the book is really compelling (Half a Yellow Sun, the book I’m reading these days is that compelling), at the dining room table while the children are doing their homework (setting a fine example), on the kitchen counter, while I’m waiting for the pasta water to boil, sitting in a chair next to my smallest son while he falls asleep, and on the edge of my bed in the morning, right after I’ve taken a shower. And sometimes I do read in that nice chair by the fire at night. I’d like to do it more often and, now that I’ve pointed this out to myself, maybe I will.


23 thoughts on “Room to Read

  1. If I get any older, or my eyes any worse, and my arms still too short, I may have to lie on my back and hold my book with my feet, too. May I use your couch in that beautiful room beneath the photos of the beetle-like heirs?

  2. Of course David! The heirs know how to share. Litlove, lately we’ve been having these hot winds that tell you it’s the end of good weather, and soon to become dark early and foggy and chilly. It’s time to get some more of those log things.

  3. If it’s really compelling as a novel, I read while walking.

    Causes all sorts of issues and is particularly sad when I’ve already read the book 15 or so times…

    “Twas brillig and the slithy toves….”

  4. I feel such a wuss, I barely read at all these days. In fact I’ve joined a bookgroup to make sure I do. At the moment I am reading the internet, and then I have half a dozen books on my bed for reading at night.

    Mind you, I am planning to hole-up this weekend and do nothing but lie in bed with the one I lie in bed with, reading and – er – lying in bed. 😉

    Isn’t a real fire just wonderful?


  5. What a lovely picture! My reading takes place almost exclusively up in my study, in my corner on my comfortable chair with a bookshelf to my left, full of books and sometimes with a bowl of popcorn on the bottom shelf.

  6. Great spot you’ve got there. My usual place is on the old couch in my ‘study’ (ha!), late at night when everybody else is asleep. Nice and peaceful. I used to read on the train as well, and loved it but sadly I now have to commute by bus. Ready on the bus makes me queasy within two minutes…

  7. That looks a wonderful spot to read in (oh how I wish I had a fireplace). I read on my balcony in the morning sun, on my big red couch with my cat fighting with the book for space on my lap, in bed at night, on public transport (and I have to concur with Edwin about reading on buses), walking along the street and even while crossing the street. I’ve not been run over yet…

  8. In north central British Columbia, between Prince George and the Bulkley Valley, the two-lane highway has major lengthy straight stretches. They just go on and on. In my university days driving home from school in the south, there would often be even fewer vehicles on the road than now.

    I would prop my paperback novel on the steering wheel, and while peering up from time to time with only a swerve or two, drive for hundreds of miles while having quite a good time reading my book.

    Reading dangerously… a new pursuit.


  9. That is a very inviting reading place, bloglily. Yesterday, my 7 year old daughter kept reading as she walked up the stairs to get ready for school– book in front of her face, hair everywhere, one pajama leg hiked up to her knee. So adorable I wanted to cry. Bookworms rule. Love, Marymom

  10. Good to hear from you again fencer. You may have triggered a great spin off on reading while driving. Not to one up, but I did drive to college one cold morning in Ohio, blanket around my legs, in a 49 Ford that I could (manual) shift without the clutch, French book the same place as your novel, steering with my knees, cramming for a test. Unfortunately, a policeman claimed I ran a red light. I hadn’t noticed. That was the quarter I did poorly in French. I’m sure there are similar or better stories.

  11. That spot looks so cozy. I read most often in bed before I go to sleep and I would really, really like to change that. And I don’t have one really great reading spot. I’d like to change that too.

    May I use yours? 🙂
    Have a wonderful weekend.

  12. Who knew reading could be such a physically dangerous pursuit? I’d forgotten about walking around holding a book, especially on the way home from the library, when I was a child. Kerryn, Crossing the street!! Wow, you are brave. You too Mick! (Marymom, That’s a very sweet, funny picture of a reading-obsessed child.) But I’d never thought anyone could drive a 49 ford with a book on their knees — or drive hundreds of miles on a two lane road and finish whole stretches of War & Peace on the way to school. I’m impressed!

    Hello Courtney — Come on over! You too Eoin. It would be lovely to have a bunch of people sitting around drinking tea (or beer … or wine) talking about where they read and what they read. Much better than doing the dishes.

    Edwin, I think many of us would put certain rooms of our house in quotation marks also, the intended use and the actual use often diverging widely. I can’t read on the bus partly because I’m distracted by what’s out the window. The train’s mostly underground and very unpleasant, so reading is the best thing to do.

    Dorothy — I think I’ve seen your reading space — didn’t you post about it over the summer? It looked very cosy. And the bowl of popcorn is a nice touch.

    Aphra — You are so not a wuss, my dear. And I’m glad you’ll be lying in bed, with… well, you know. I’m sure you’ll find an inner fire.

  13. I think part of the sex appeal of mid-century office supplies (wow — there’s a sentence I never thought I’d start) has to do with the *durability* of the objects. Back then we didn’t have much of a relationship to inexpensive manufacturing in China. We made tape dispensers out of metal, and pens you didn’t throw away. Hence design itself was on a completely different level, since you could convince yourself of the need for art in an object assumed to be more permanent. Hence the curves. Hence the sex.

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