Have You A Favorite Reading Space?

About sixteen years ago, my husband and I were in the Cinque Terre for our honeymoon. We stayed on a beach in Monterosso, Italy which looked just like this, (see below) and if I wasn’t so enchanted with the environment, it would have been my ideal place to read. The sea, the umbrellas, the cotton chaise chairs rented for about $5.00 a day were blissful.

Cinque Terre beach

But, my day to day life does not consist of sitting on an Italian beach surrounded by my favorite sights and sounds. My every day life consists mostly of teaching elementary school, a job which has fulfilled me for over thirty years.

Sometimes the children come into my classroom, having completely read a book which they chose from one of my shelves the day before.

“How did you read this in one night?!” I ask in astonishment. (I forget that they do not have dinner to make, or dishes to wash, or papers to check in the evening.)

“I lay on my stomach, in my room, and I read until I’m done,” they often say. I don’t catch my breath on “read until I’m done” as much as I do with “lay on my stomach.”

I do not lay on my stomach to read any more.

For one thing, it brings the print up far too close for my monovision. For another, my back starts to cramp, or my arms begin to ache, from holding my torso up. No, at this point in my life, I want something else to hold me up. I want something soft, and enveloping. And yet, at the same time, it must be beautiful.  I have long had a penchant for the furniture from MacKenzie Childs. Even though it’s very bright, I love either of these two arrangements:

Or, a more simple arrangement such as this chair alone:

arhaus ghost sky

I could drape my legs over the side, or sit cross-legged when they became too heavy. The thick cushion looks heavenly after a day of teaching on my feet. Even the simple background decreases any distracting visual stimulation.

Or, I would enjoy reading in bed. My bed at home is a beautiful sleigh bed, chosen for design more than comfort. If I could choose again, I would be so tempted by this teak daybed, or this tufted backboard, on which to recline:

 

With the coming of summer, and thus much more free time for this teacher to read, I’m reviewing the possibilities. I’m perusing catalogs, and online sites (the later pictures taken from Arhaus) and dreaming of perfect spaces. These images seem just right, if I can no longer lie on the stony beaches of the Mediterranean.

And you? Where do you envision your summer reading taking place?

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36 thoughts on “Have You A Favorite Reading Space?”

  1. I loooove the pink throne although I might feel I had to dress up in a big whig and have a dress with a bustle to dare sit in it! Most of my reading is done in bed – half an hour or so before I go to bed and that sounds extremely boring!

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    1. Most of my reading is done in bed, too, or in my husband’s grandfather’s chair and ottoman. Neither are as luxurious as that pink chair from MacKenzie-Childs! I can only hope to own it one day, and sit in it with whatever it is I happen to be wearing. 🙂

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  2. Like you, I’m a teacher (older age group, so they don’t many of them read unless they have to), so I’m also looking forward to the summer break when I can indulge myself with more than usual amounts of reading. I favour my comfortable armchair, or mornings and evenings in bed – so if I don’t have to get up for work, I can carry on as long as I like. Mind you, a beach in Portugal is beckoning next month…

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    1. Fancy you being a teacher as well! It is quite a wonderful job, despite its arduous moments, isn’t it? I love the connection to be made with one’s students.

      I have never been to Portugal, so hopefully you will share some of your moments there.

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  3. Love the reading space you’ve shown. Mine is in my office/library – a chair purchased just for me. But…I also have other spots, including a bit in bed before sleeping. I remember reading on my stomach and I don’t do it anymore either. Wish I could. LOL

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    1. I used to read much more often in bed before marriage; now if I’m not reading with my kindle or nook, the light is too bright for my husband. We will remember the times of reading on our stomachs with joy, but alas, of time gone by.

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  4. I used to read in my grandmother’s cherry tree during the summer holidays, or on the porch of my other grandmother’s house. Bliss! Nowadays, I prefer the bed on rainy days (with a cat curled up on my lap) or the conservatory on a fine day. I have a lovely rocking chair from Vitra in there, which I soften with a cushion.

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    1. Oh, up in a cherry tree?! How lovely! Or, a porch? You have depicted two most wonderful places. My mother has fond memories of reading at her grandmother’s house as a child; me, not so much. I remember telling my grandmother I had just finished a book, running to her as she made dinner with great joy, and she said, “You did not.” I don’t think she knew how well I could read even in first grade. I’m glad your memories are happier.

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      1. I don’t think the cherry tree would be too kind on me old bones nowadays. My family tolerated my reading propensities (both of my parents are great readers), although they did worry that I wasn’t getting enough fresh air, hence the reading outside.

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        1. Reading outside is a good way to get fresh air! My family are exercise enthusiasts, unlike me who only enjoys cycling or canoeing, but I tell them I have very strong fingers from holding books and turning pages. 😉

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  5. Bellezza, that beach in Italy looks pretty tempting. Gorgeous photo!
    In the meantime, I will settle for cozy, indoor reading spaces. 🙂

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    1. The beaches in Italy are so very beautiful, although many are much rockier than I am used to. Cozy, indoor spaces will work just fine, won’t they?

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  6. Im trying to find a comfortable lounger for the garden in the hope we get some sunshine this year. Ideally I’d like to be reading in a hammock but thats not possible in our garden

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    1. I like hammocks so much, too, except they tend to induce a nap. Sleeping medicine, I say to my husband. “This couch has sleeping medicine in it.” May you find the lounger you desire, or at least the ability to stay awake longer than I can.

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  7. While I was reading, this lovely post actually transported me away from the kitchen table and back to a trip to the French Riviera that I was so fortunate to take 23 years ago. Classic literature can do that and now I’ve associated your blog with the classics. It was a beautiful post to look at too

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    1. Classic literature can transport us; it’s almost as evocative as a photograph, or sometimes even more so. I bet you looked lovely on the Riviera.

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  8. I always have the opposite problem with my students — can’t seem to get most of them to read fast enough at all. I gave a first year college class 6 weeks for The Book Thief and it somehow wasn’t enough time for 90% of them? I also don’t read on my stomach much, anymore. I do remember when that used to be comfortable, though! I recall reading all of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows that way, lying on the living room rug and finishing it all in one night (went to the midnight release and read, read, read until I was done, then read it again, slowly, the following week because I knew I had gone too fast).

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    1. It amazes me how some people, regardless of age, simply refuse to read. I have a friend who’s husband is a High School teacher and says he has to READ ALOUD to them! Otherwise they won’t have the chapter done in time. What?! Read The Catcher in The Rye to teenagers? I devoured that novel (each time I’ve read it).

      As for Harry Potter, how well I remember the release parties and the subsequent read all night marathons. I read them mostly because of my dear son, who was obsessed with the entire series, but they were compelling. I would like to reread them some day, but somehow when I pick up fantasy I keep returning to The Chronicles of Narnia or The Lord of the Rings or even The Game of Thrones…

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  9. Comfortable chair on the front porch of a cabin in the woods facing a large lake with lots of bird song and squirrels and chipmunks. That is my idea of a great place to read. In summer or a warm autumn of course.

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    1. There were many summers when my son and I would go to the Northwoods of Wisconsin, into a cabin built in the 1920s there, off of a lake, and yes…the best environment ever. I agree.

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  10. I can’t read on my stomach either anymore. That belonged to the good old days! I normally read in bed or in the TV sofa. The problem is, the TV sofa is so comfy I normally fall asleep! I would love to have the perfect, beautiful, comfortable reading chair.

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    1. I fall asleep far too easily, too. And, not only do I desire the “perfect” chair, I find good lighting would be wonderful as well. So many times I turn to my Nook Glowlight because the print is lit.

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  11. Oh, I love Mackenzie-Childs! I have a few pieces of it, but not a whole chair. 🙂 I’ve long given up on reading in bed because it makes me instantly sleepy…though I do listen to audiobooks there. So I guess my favorite place is my cushy old sofa…not very original. 🙂 Happy reading, wherever you do it!

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    1. I can picture you perfectly with (in!) a MacKenzie-Child’s chair, Audrey. I have a few assorted things, too, like hooks and knobs for my bathroom, a teapot and a mouse for my computer…but for something really wonderful? I haven’t The funds right now. Someday, maybe, both of us will find ourselves in such idyllic comfort.

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  12. I love to read on the beach, and love your photo of that exotic beach! I’m also going to Barcelona this summer (like someone I don’t know, above in this thread).

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  13. I didn’t get much reading done in Cinque Terre — some beaches are just too crowded for good reading. I usually read in bed, sloped headboard, lots of pillows. I have a reading chair, too, a lounger, but that usually ends up being just for lazy weekends.

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    1. Lazy weekends, beds with many pillows, it all sounds lovely. No, I agree, there are other things to partake of in the Cinque Terre than one’s books.

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  14. While Summer is far from us, i can only dream of Italian beaches (although Aussie beaches are pretty much the best the in the world)… I actually do most of my reading during my 2 1/2 hr train commute to work and home twice a week. I also love reading on the back verandah on the weekends.

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  15. I can no longer read lying down. I’ll fall asleep very quickly if I do, doze off at least.

    I have two favorite reading places, moving trains and hotel lobbies. My partner hates that I read while riding the train when we travel, but I love it. Riding trains through Germany while reading books about Germany was wonderful.

    Many hotel lobbies have wonderful chairs, perfect for reading. There’s something about the way hotels are not quite in the world that make their lobbies perfect places to spend an hour reading a book.

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