Where do you read?

We here at iUMBC like to read. It’s no secret. We’ve talked a bit about the differences between physical books and ereaders, but another important aspect to the reading experience has to do with the environment one decides to read in.

When it’s really time to sit down and delve into a book, we need a go-to spot. Especially in our day and age when the internet and tv are doing their best to shorten our attention spans, having a place that focuses you is a must. It could be a place that is distraction free, or maybe you need enough peripheral activity to keep you from falling asleep or drifting, or the perfect combination of both.

Where do you find yourself reading? What are your go-to spots?

Here are some top options:

1. The Reading Chair

That spot given specifically to one purpose only: reading. The chair doesn’t face a television of any kind. It would most likely be suitably be surrounded by bookshelves. A curved lamp stands on the floor next to it by the side table for your cup of coffee. A window brings in perfect morning light. It’s a spot to read the morning newspaper (on your kindle, right?), or to burn away the night diving into a novel.


2. The Coffee Shop

If you like to have activity around you, this is the place. Though the espresso grinders and smoothie blenders can penetrate most headphones, the general chatter and activity of place generates an undeniable energy. So does the caffeine, but we’re not sure exactly how to break up the percentages on that. The environment comes with a price tag, but usually a small one. And most coffee shops are more than welcoming to folks sticking around for awhile. The right environment of a coffee shop most often has to be searched for though, weighing factors such as quality of coffee, seating choices, in-store music, size, punch sleeves, and much more. But once the perfect shop is found, it becomes a haven–one that’s a delight to read in.

3. In Bed

Many people like to close their day reading. Turn on the lamp beside the bed and unwind with a book. If you don’t mind the danger of falling asleep while reading (or if that’s your goal), then this can be a very peaceful place to read. There are a few dangers to be aware of though: keeping the other person in bed awake too long, a sore neck from the improper amount of pillows for neck and back support, and the prospect of not getting enough sleep because you became too absorbed in your book. Once you’ve conquered those risks, read away into the night.

4. The Toilet

Come on guys, let’s be honest, one of life’s more sublime pleasures is a quiet moment on the john. Sometimes it’s the only place to get away from all the craziness of the world outside that one door with the small handle lock. At times we need the absolute still moment, but most the time it’s nice to have a little reading material there. If we’re trying to avoid interruptions entirely, this is the place to go. But beware of books left in the bathroom taking on a distinctive smell, as well as the possibility of numbness setting in.


5. The Porch

This may be taking it back a bit, but people used to sit on their porches. Especially before air conditioning. Houses even used to have porches in the front of the house! Preposterous, I know. And people would walk by. And perhaps even have a conversation. Depending on where you live, you may have some experience of one or more of these things (let’s hope conversations at least). But maybe you have a back porch with a rocking chair or patio furniture, or an apartment balcony. You can feel the breeze and look out over nature (or the city). It is weather dependent of course, so it must be a seasonal spot, which is limiting.


Where else do you read? Where did we miss? What are your favorite spots?

About Luke

Luke learned to read at the age of two, whereupon he decided, like much of the male population, that it was a chore to be done only when absolutely necessary. Then suddenly at age nineteen, he discovered good books—he has been reading voraciously ever since, earning multiple literature and writing degrees. At any given moment you'll find him reading at least one book, smoking a cigar, up fifty feet in a tree he free-climbed.

Currently Reading:
Collected Stories by Alexander Pushkin
-Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas
The Mystery of Being by Gabriel Marcel

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