I love to read. I don’t just enjoy it. Reading is an unfailingly rewarding part of my life, I love reading. I enjoy both fiction and non-fiction, biographies, short stories, and history. I have a fondness for certain things like science fiction and humorous fiction but I can make do with anything in a pinch.
A couple of things add to my enjoyment of reading. Proper temperature being the first one, it is hard (though not impossible) to enjoy reading when you are either too hot or too cold, wiping sweat from your digital reading device or the pages of your book is very distracting. On the opposite end of the thermometer turning pages while wearing gloves also lessens the joy of reading. But since temperature is a very personal thing I will not declare what temperature is the correct one, my perfect temperature might be wildly uncomfortable to you.
Another condition that seriously effects reading enjoyment is lighting. Too bright, like direct sunlight also effects temperature range not to mention the need for sunglasses. While too dark places a strain on your eyes and while human eyeballs are wonderfully adaptive there is no sense making them work harder than they need to. Your needs for the proper illumination may vary also according to genetics and wear and tear of your biological optical system due to heavy and prolonged usage.
So if those two things are in proper range of comfort the next thing is place. Where you are and how you are seated/reclined/suspended or accommodated. I like reading occasionally in an upright chair with a table to lean on. This covers some of my favorite places, a library or in a restaurant when you are alone. A library of course meet the temperature and lighting perfectly, and restaurants almost always meet the first two condition as well. Sitting at a table and reading has many advantages, no need to support the book, a place to position a beverage or maybe something to nibble on if you find that necessary. The downsides to those places; a library has too many distractions with all the other possibilities to be reading. Restaurants, well it could be good, if the place is not to busy, you have a good wait staff who does not mind you taking up space while occasionally refilling the beverage of your choice.
I would list a bar as a place to read but, somehow I can never concentrate well on a book after my second or fifth drink, then someone starts playing AC/DC on the jukebox and then ladies come up and and hit on me which leads me to throwing darts which then leads me stepping outside with a guy who I hit with a dart after the above mentioned ladies keep buying me drinks. All these things makes it really hard to follow the plot points of a novel.
Reading at a table can also translate onto trains, if you are lucky enough to grab a seat in the club car. May I suggest though when riding on a train and reading you sit facing the same direction the training is going, otherwise it can be a little disconcerting to look up after a chapter or two and find yourself going backwards at one hundred miles an hour.
Reading in any type of comfortable chair is great, even better if you can put your feet up, or the chair rocks or reclines. A helpful hint, a small table nearby that can hold your phone, a glass of water, maybe a bookmark, or the ever helpful pen and paper.
One of my favorite place to read is in bed. Upsides; if you get tired you can take a nap, or if you are with another person who enjoys reading in bed and is desirable to you and you them it might lead to other activities. Activities (not reading) in bed should only be undertaken by people of the proper age of consent and with mature moral judgement. Downside to reading in bed (I will not go into the downside of other activities that take place in a bed) you can sometimes fall asleep unintentionally, there is not always a good way to hold a book for a very long time, so it is limiting if you are reading a heavy hard cover edition.
Moving to an exterior location you get to more advanced areas of obtaining comfort while reading and ones that usually take a lot more planning and a bit of luck if you take into account the temperature and lighting aspects. Reading while on a blanket on the ground has its points, you are reclining but usually on uneven and potentially rocky ground so I do not recommend this for beginners. If you desire to read while outside but with some bit of control over your environment may I recommend a porch swing (or if your porch is not suited a glider), with some adaptive technology (pillows) and proper distance from your siblings (Mike and Kevin leave me alone!), this platform can give you the illusion of being outside and some air flow from movement while providing support and comfort.
This next one may seem to be on the same level as a porch swing but that is very deceptive. While reading in a hammock you only have one way to be situated laying down, this means that the book must be held at all time by your arms in an upright position. I am an advanced hammock user and even to me this can be a bit tiring. Another problem with hammock use is unless equipped and you plan ahead if you start to doze off and dropping the book does not wake you up you have a problem, either the book or device gets jammed in the hammock with you or it falls to the ground eventually. This can be hard on your reading material, especially if it is a library book that you must return. I have a very high end hammock system that I not only take backpacking with me, but set up in my backyard in the summer and spend hours in. I am not saying don’t try reading in a hammock, try it, but be warned it is more complex than you think.
Places I find extremely difficult to read. Airports, hardly any good furniture and one ear has to be tuned to the public address system for boarding call for your flight to Detroit. In malls or any type of public space, there is usually too much going on, and the way I am wired to be scanning my surroundings it does not allow me to enjoy reading. Lastly in a car, I just can’t seem to read in moving car and I have known very few people that can.
I would like to try reading on a ship, I imagine that if it is large enough the motion would not be factor and the excitement of movement would also fuel my wanderlust. To me a long sea voyage where I could read and write while going somewhere seems like a fairy tale, I just hope I don’t get seasick when I get the chance.
Closing out with a word from the man who introduced so many to reading , the great and wonderful Dr. Theodor Seuss Geisel
The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go” – I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!.
The picture of the guy reading in the snow is from this very interesting fellow, Brian Malow, here is his website, http://www.sciencecomedian.com/.
Categories: Travel and Diversions