I think it’s fair to say we all share the love of a good book, but I sometimes wonder what it is that creates the perfect setting for a really good book. This got me to thinking about a range of things connected with reading, and what we need in order to enjoy it.
I thought about how I have read books, and in what manner in the past, and how these things have affected what I felt about the book, and even how I remembered it.
Back when Stephen King released his new book Cell , I recall having a digital copy of it on my small electronic PDA. This was before the widespread use of smart phones and tablets, when people used electronic PDA devices for everything that smart phones do, only back then not as well. The screens were not high resolution, and usually only black and white, but when it came to writing notes and even reading ebooks, they did the job. I spent an entire week, each night having a bath, laid in hot water, reading that book of Mr King’s. I will admit, it wasn’t one of his best, but it was enjoyable anyway, and I think all the more memorable because I read it while in the bath, and using this PDA, which was a first for me.
I got to thinking of all the ways I have enjoyed a book, and how the setting of my reading contributed to my enjoyment. That time in the bath was unique, and enjoyable, but mostly my reading takes place when I am in bed. I have a small night light on, by the side of my bed, and I am snugly comfy under the plush covers, propped up by some lovely pillows, with a drink and a snack if I can find the time to put the book down long enough to enjoy them. I have read countless books this way, and for me it is a moment of tranquillity and solitude, while I lose myself in a book, where my imagination can roam and my attention is lost within its world.
I know one family member of mine has a very large armchair, quite huge in fact. She gets a very large fleece, wraps herself in it, and curls up on the chair with her new book and reads it for hours.
The place where we sit or lay to enjoy our new book can become symbiotic with its enjoyment, as if we are cocooned within a shell, protected from disturbances, transported away so that our minds can truly connect with the characters and situations within.
So I think it is fair to say that how we prepare where we read is as important as anything else. It provides us with a base from which we can remain relaxed and focused on the journey into the next book.
I think where we are to do this is as important as any element in our experience as readers, so that through this we can soak up every word and every detail, unhinge our imaginations and enjoy all the thrills and emotions, good or bad from a novel, without having to worry about feeling uncomfortable or stiff, or cold, or how our surroundings keep impinging on what we are trying to experience.
I no longer read books in the bath, far too many curled pages from the steam on my beloved paperbacks. Now I mirror that of a family member, a lovely large leather chair, with a footstool, and a huge fleece which buries me. I even go so far as to wear ear plugs now! Because I take those first steps into that new world of literature, nothing can possible stop me!
We are spoilt in a way, so many choices, not only of the books we want to read, but how and where we can do it. That’s the beauty of reading; we can do it anywhere.
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