During the last couple of weeks The Dish ran a pair of posts about people’s favourite places to read. You can find them here and here. Reading them got me thinking about my favourite places to read and I realised, looking back over my reading life, that the places I liked to read have said a lot about my life at the time.
As a teenage student (A levels and Uni) my place of choice for reading when staying with my parents was in the grounds of the old Priory in Dudley. After a visit to the main library I’d take my haul of books, walk to the outskirts of the town and settle down on the lawns and read. I have strong memories of reading portions of Lenny Bruce’s and William Blake’s biographies under the shade of the ruined walls.
Also while a student I spent a great deal of time on trains and continue to this day to find reading on trains an absolute pleasure. As a student I remember reading Trainspotting during trips between Stoke and Cardiff. More recently, in June of this year I devoured Kjell Askildsun’s Collected Stories travelling to London for the Short Story Festival.
After training to become a teacher, I spent my NQT year living in Southampton and in the brighter months, when at a loose end, could often be found in the city’s park, camped under a tree with a book. For some reason I seem to clearly recall reading Stephen Fry’s The Liar there, though I remember absolutely nothing about the novel except it’s title.
Fast forward to today and my favourite place to read is in the rocking chair set beside and upstairs window at home. What with work, children and my writing, reading time is at a premium so I prefer to stay closer to home now and make he most of the time. We have great views of the Lincolnshire countryside and it is a great spot whatever the weather. Most recently I powered through Paul Kingsnorth’s Booker long listed debut, The Wake, an excellent exploration of the dark time directly following the Norman Invasion of England. It felt particularly apt to be reading it while looking out over the fields of Lincolnshire.
Where’s your favourite place to read?