Sunday, March 6, 2011

Where I Read

I haven’t finished this week’s book, so instead of a review I will set down some thoughts on where I read. Since where I’m reading, I’m discovering, has a bearing on my feelings about the book. My ideal place for reading would be a wingback chair, matching ottoman, roaring fire, my cat and a short glass of whiskey. A rainy dusk. Though I’m pretty sure that exact combination has never happened. Nor is it likely to.

Reading for me is pleasure. The idea of having to read for a living, to wake up and be forced to open a book, to be a professional book reviewer, makes reading lose its appeal for me. The act of reading would degrade into a job like any other. And I want to keep it special.

I am a worker, a mother, a wife. This means that in 2011, in America, every minute of my day is scheduled. I must schedule when I read and therefore I also schedule where I read. Three places, usually – the plane, the bed, the vacation.

The plane is my favorite, the best place – three or four or five hours of uninterrupted concentration. I have a monthly plane trip. The difficult books, the chewy ones, the Victorians, the modernists, the ones with any chance of boredom are saved for the plane. The only setback is my employer’s quite rational expectation that I do some work on the plane. (Since I am getting paid) So I lug around “The Spreadsheet”, reassuringly thick, highlighted and scribbled on. In case, my boss should peek on a stroll to the lavatory. Ah, MT with her spreadsheet, so diligent!

I also read daily, for thirty minutes after I get into bed. The major problem with this, as you can imagine, is that I grow sleepy. But I am consistent. Good writing makes me alert. But when I’m tired, the boring stuff gets so much more boring.

Vacation – Reluctantly I think I must give up reading books on vacation. Between the hora de feliz and the margaritas and keeping an eye on the children playing in the surf and the juicy juicy gossip of my friends, I can’t muster the concentration to follow a novel. Next time I’m bringing a suitcase of magazines.

I still holding out for that wingback chair – but that might be when I retire.

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