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Inside the Blogosphere: Reading Rooms

This time I asked:

What is your ideal reading environment?

Lisa @ Danger Girl: Sometimes it can be difficult to find just the right spot. I’m talking about the perfect spot to read (what were you thinking?)

During this past summer, my favorite reading spot was out on my deck, the sun setting and a glass of Chardonnay next to me. However, I’ve been known to read anywhere I can: in the car tooling around town (I’m not driving), at the beach, on a boat, in bed, on the couch oblivious to my surroundings. I’ve taken books to sporting events, the doctor’s office, the subway. I’m not coordinated enough to read while walking on the treadmill, but I know people who manage that. I’m such an avid reader that I download audio books to my iPod to listen to while working out on the treadmill. I just can’t let that time pass without absorbing a story somehow. I’ll even confess that I’ve read a book while sitting in stop-and-go traffic (mostly stop).
Basically, I find my spot all the time and am a happier woman for it.

Heather @ The Galaxy Express: As I contemplated my answer for this question, I realized that much of my “perfect setting” relates to what must occur before I begin reading. To begin, I realized that I don’t do a lot of reading before lunchtime. Not sure why except that I usually devote mornings to errands or domestic duties.

I also prefer to read on a full stomach. Not only that, but even though I adore coffee & dessert, I become distracted if I attempt to read while imbibing a hazelnut latte and blackberry cobbler. So I don’t mix reading with meals or snacks. Another potent distraction is a full bladder. Ah…was that more information than you sought? 😉 Anyway, I make the requisite trip to the bathroom before settling down.

Temperature is important too. I prefer a warm room, but if colder months dictate a budget friendly 65 degrees, I’ll settle for thick socks, a sweatshirt, quilt, whatever it takes. I do the majority of my reading at home because otherwise I might tear or bend covers shifting books in and out of my purse.

My favorite time to read is in the afternoon and late evening. While I do read sitting up occasionally, I feel the most relaxed and focused if I’m lying on my back on a bed or couch. I also prefer to read without my contacts or glasses. I’m nearsighted, but even with corrective lenses I experience some distortion. So this means that I even prefer my eyes to “feel relaxed” while reading!

At the moment, since I’m a full-time parent of a young child, all of the above goes out the window! (Don’t you love twist endings?) My ideal reading environment is anywhere & anytime I can read and supervise my daughter simultaneously.

Mark @ Walker of Worlds: My ideal reading environment would be on the sofa at home, legs stretched out and Snoop, my cocker spaniel, sprawled out by my feet. Of course, it never ends up like that, I usually get pushed to one side by him and forced to sit a little uncomfortably while he tries to stick his nose in every few minutes for a hug. Still, I love him despite that. Apart from the trusted sofa, I almost always take a book up to bed with me – I find I can get much more comfortable (especially when I’m not getting earache from the wife for keeping the light on – does anyone ever win that argument?) and the light is just situated in a much better position for reading.

Above all else, the ultimate must for reading: peace and quiet. I find that having that quiet time makes me enjoy a book more, take in all the little details and immerse myself in that setting. Perhaps that’s a reason I’m slower than I’d like with my reading, but environment is everything when it comes down to it. If I’m in a good place, then the book gets read easier and quicker, but more importantly, enjoyed :)

Alice @ Sandstorm Reviews: Well, obviously my preferred reading environment would be a comfy sofa in an airy room, with a good view and a handy table on which to place my glass of wine (or cup of tea, depending on time of day), but unfortunately I don’t get much time for reading at home. Mostly I do my reading on the train to work and back – this is actually a very suitable environment, as I don’t feel any pressure to be doing other things and so can just get on with it.

If a book’s really good then I can read it pretty much anywhere, but I’m baffled by the people who say they read in the bath or shower. For one thing, my eyesight’s so bad that the whole logistics of book/towel/glasses is just too much of a chore to bother with, but there’s also the problem that if you get carried away with the book, you’ll soon find yourself soaking in a tub of cold water. Where’s the fun in that?

Tia @ Fantasy Debut: I like to recline on either a couch or a recliner, with a light just behind my head. I prefer natural sunlight, but I’ll take what I can get. I prefer reading a paperback, because then I can hold it with one hand. Music is optional. Distractions are ok.

The perfect environment would be in my bay window in my bedroom, on the chaise lounge that I don’t own yet. The time of day would be late morning–late enough so that direct sunlight is not on my book, yet there is still lots of light. Perhaps roses are blooming along the back fence. A glass of ice water is ready within easy reach, as is an apple.

Neth @ Nethspace: Hmm…Ideal reading environment…now I get to dream.

I suppose it’s somewhat of a toss-up. I often dream of a nice, plush leather chair with an ottoman on a nice Persian rug in the library of my dreams – a 2-3 story, octagonal room with bookshelves lining the walls and maybe a saltwater fish aquarium. Of course there would be a nice fire in the fireplace and a glass of scotch – expensive, cask-strength stuff with a bit of water (not the pre-watered and colored stuff that I usually find around here).

Another oft-dream of mine is one I’ve actually fulfilled a couple of times. An ocean-side hammock strung between two palm trees with a nice sea breeze and a cool beverage. Anytime I make it to the tropics I go through great strides to fulfill this love – my wife’s favorite picture is of me reading in a hammock like I described above in Bora Bora (don’t I wish I could afford more trips like that!).

I also love to read outside, though I often find it so relaxing and distracting that I don’t get much actual reading done. Among the pine trees in back yard, next to the lake when I visit my parents or someplace more exotic – like reading in a park in Prague with a beautiful, panoramic view of the city below – reading outside is just plain nice.

Of course the reality is that I read on the couch after everyone has gone to bed – but I often have that glass of scotch – and it’s good enough.

SMD @ The World in the Satin Bag: I like to read in silence or in the sounds of chaos. If I can make out conversations while I’m reading, that’s an instant killer for me, but if there are so many voices all at once I have no problem tuning them out and it can actually help me focus (although I don’t go around looking for loud crowds to read in, because that’s just ridiculous).

When I’m at home, I like silence or the sound of running water–which makes having aquatic turtles rather convenient–and I like being reclined, but not so much that I’m laying on my back, or on my stomach. Other than that, I don’t care too much where I am, so long as the conditions are right. I used to like reading by the beach until all the crazy homeless people started hanging out there in droves, screaming at the top of their lungs for no reason whatsoever and essentially freaking me out (they also randomly smoke when I’m sitting there, without asking if it’s okay to do so next to me, which seems like a breach of civilized protocol to me).

Other than that, I need a good, engaging book. And I mean e-n-g-a-g-i-n-g. Boring books make the reading process difficult and usually makes me ansy. I start moving a lot and can’t sit still, and have to periodically get up and walk around. I shouldn’t say only boring books do this. Even good books do it, but the rare few that actually keep me planted on my butt and reading are the books ideal for reading. Immersive fiction. I love authors who can captivate me so much that I don’t want to move. I was like this with Karen Miller’s The Innocent Mage and The Awakened Mage, and with Tobias S. Buckell’s recent novel Sly Mongoose, and a few others in the past that I’ve read. I love being oblivious to the world around me. That’s the best kind of experience you can have.

Daya @ The Road Not Taken: The whole reason I read is that books take me “elsewhere”. It doesn’t matter where I am — pulling out a book immediately transports me to my “happy place”!

But, if I had to pick an “ideal” reading environment, it would be at home, on my couch. Preferably cozied up with my red blanket (yes, it has to be the red one, that’s the only good one), mug of tea, TV/stereo remotes, cell phone, and laptop all within reaching distance (blanket and tea being weather dependent). Then I have everything I need without leaving the warmth of my cocoon and I won’t be anxious that I’m missing a phone call or the VP debates. I’m also pretty notorious for being able to completely tune out when reading. The TV being on, my honey listening to music, etc., none of that really bothers me.

Really really ideal would be to have one of those mug warmer thingies that would keep my tea warm since I’m a slow drinker. And a chaise built into my couch. The whole reclining thing seems pretty sexy.

And now that you’ve got me fantasizing, a magical end table that is continually stocked with both my favorites and new releases.

Before they come out.

If you would like to participate in our next discussion and you own a blog (authors who blog are welcome too!) send me an email, or leave a comment. Question suggestions are also more than welcome.