A Place to Read

August 3, 2009 at 1:08 pm 5 comments

The New York Times‘ book blog, Papercuts, recently had a little piece about literary goings on in Bryant Park. While it was just a little piece letting New Yorkers know that Bryant Park has some nice readings on occasion, it still got me thinking about the places we choose to read in and what makes us love them after making the fateful decision to read in any given and particular place.

Personally, despite being a bit vampiric in my dislike of sunlight and a little too popular with mosquitoes for my own comfort, I don’t think there is anything that can beat Central Park on a mild summer day with iced tea, one of those a green benches, and a good book. As I think about the places I love to read, Central Park absolutely tops the list.

This strikes me as an odd choice for myself since, were I to imagine my perfect place to read, it would undoubtedly be some slightly Gothic wood-paneled room with tall beautiful windows looking out on a rainy day. I would be plunked down in a large, brown leather armchair of some sort, feet happily dangling over the arm rest. But that place doesn’t exist (to my knowledge!), so sunny, beautiful Central Park comes to the fore.

So what makes the perfect reading place? Is it a comfortable seat? Quiet? Other people? Complete aloneness? I think it’s hard to define and even harder to spot. Walking primarily aimlessly through Central Park one weekend a few weeks ago, I never would have thought that particular bench would be my perfect place to read, and yet it proved itself to be so. As my two places, real and imagined, point out, I think it’s difficult to even define your perfect place for yourself. I would have thought I enjoyed a comfortable chair and no one else around, but it turns out I really enjoyed being outdoors and surrounded by the ambient noise of other people.

Obviously, where to read is a deeply personal choice and it isn’t easy to explain even once the choice is made. So does anyone else have a dichotomy between the places you do read and the ones you imagine yourself reading in? Or do you just have some great reading places to suggest? Either way, chime in below!


Entry filed under: Musings and Essays. Tags: , .

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. KT  |  August 3, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    I loved this post! I usually like reading in a coffeehouse, preferably Spot, but sometimes I feel guilty for taking up the comfy chairs for too long. :\ I also used to love reading in my nest chair, but as that’s in Buffalo, too, I have been doing much of my reading lately while sitting in the car waiting for my mother to come out of a store or finish with a doctor’s appointment. Weird place, but it’s actually oddly comfortable!

    • 2. Corey  |  August 4, 2009 at 6:07 am

      Mmm…coffee houses are excellent reading places! They have comfy chairs, good people-watching, endless food and drink options at your fingertips, and the benefit of historical intellectualism! Good choice! :D

  • 3. Kim  |  August 3, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    I really like this post too! It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. =]

    I always end up reading sitting in my bed or on the couch downstairs, which would really not be my ideal reading spot.

    I like reading outside when it’s a little darker and cooler-I’m not a big fan of sunlight either-but my favorite place I’ve ever read would probably be at my aunt and uncle’s house in New Hampshire. The room Katie and I stayed in has a delightful window seat that doubles as a bed and there’s these big white windows above it, built-in bookshelves on either end of the bed, and all you could see out the window were really green leaves from the trees, and it was really quiet so all you could hear was the wind rustling through the leaves.

    Sorry for the long-winded explanation. Haha. If I had a picture uploaded on Facebook, I would post a link. =[

    • 4. Corey  |  August 4, 2009 at 6:08 am

      Glad to hear you liked it! :D

      That room in NH sounds amazing! I often crave a window seat; they just look so lovely and comfortable. It sounds like a great place to read!

  • 5. neuroticmom  |  August 7, 2009 at 9:27 am

    I guess my favorite place to read now is in the lazy boy chair, my favorite place in Buffalo was on the deck in the summertime on the glider with an ice tea ~ sadly I don’t read outside in CA because I find the dogs too distracting. BUT I imagine being all curled up in a comfy chair and half with an ice tea or hot chocolate – depending on the weather – would be my all time favorite and most definitely I would need quiet ~ I get distracted too easily otherwise.


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