Monday, 15 October 2012

But I Digress | Reading Rituals

Well, that's it, isn't it? Summer's over.

And winter, of course, is coming. I've felt the frost already, and if you squint into the slate-grey skies, you can nearly see the snow. Hell, if the supermarkets are to be believed, it's a fine time to start thinking about Christmas.

But let's not get quite so far ahead of ourselves!

Let's lament the end of the summer before we start celebrating the beginning of winter.

'Twas a mean season for me, I suppose. I had hoped to take a few weeks away from work over the holidays, but other factors intruded: a death in the family, changing obligations, sudden monetary troubles and so on. All the while the kiddies kept coming in, so I kept showing up to the education centre I teach English at.

As it stands, the plan is to steal off somewhere warm as soon as humanly possible - more on that as the story develops - but I'm running on empty at the moment. Have been since I got back from America in March: coming back from a life-changing experience only to have life kick in immediately will do that, I know now.

It hasn't, however, been doom and gloom all day and night in my little corner of Scotland. The rare sunny days we've had hereabouts have been a huge highlight, because earlier in 2012, I got myself a hobby: I decided the time had come to turn the rampant wilderness I called my back yard into a proper goddamn garden.

Well, it isn't perfect yet - and I don't imagine I'll be able to do much more with it till next spring - but six months of back-breaking, at times bloody labour later, I've got a lawn, a rock garden, and a pretty paved path between the two. A pretty paved path that proved the perfect place to drop a pair of camping chairs and improvise a table.

I have many happy memories of afternoons in my brand new garden this summer. Yes, the weather could have been better, but often enough there was some sun, and whenever there was, I took out my book, and I read.

And I read and I read and I read!

This became rather a habit. A ritual, if you will — which brings me to my point.

Now that I can't go out there, under pain of mild frostbite or a simple soaking, I've had to say goodbye to the garden for the time being. That I can live with. What I've having more trouble overcoming is the loss of the spot I spoke of, where I spent, shall we say, some serious time reading.

I'm a creature of habit, I confess. Most of what I read, I read in bed, immediately before nodding off. I did this all through the summer, in addition to which I had a couple of hours every couple of days with my book in the back yard. Absent that, it's back to burning the midnight oil until some replacement pattern arises, so my reading, recently, has dropped off dramatically.

How I miss my afternoons in the garden! :(

On the bright side, this got me thinking. Am I just an oddity, or do we all have specific spots where we get the bulk of our bookworming done? Places where we can go, or things that we do, to get away from it all, you know?

With so many other things competing for our attention, reading for a protracted period - for me at least - isn't easy these days. Without my camping chair in the garden, I'm having trouble getting through more than a book a week.

So I want to know: what are your reading rituals?

Inspire me, people, please!


  1. It's not just you. Most of my reading gets done either on the bus (which means I use any excuse to take long bus rides, so I can fit more reading time in), or curled up in a chair or the couch in my living room. The latter works best when my roommate is having a long session of playing Skyrim, because having that in the background always puts me in the mood to read good fantasy!

  2. Most of my reading time comes from my bus commute, but I read at breakfast, lunch and get a bit of time before bed each night too. My current reading habits provide me with more reading time than I'm accustomed to, so I get more reading than usual done these days.

  3. Like you, my reading gets done in bed until I fall asleep. I've kind of accepted that there aren't any serious reading spots for the near future due to time constraints. I'm considering three reading locations, all with different books: a lengthy novel on the nightstand; a medium-sized novel in my car to read on my breaks at work so that I'm not disturbed in my cubicle; and a short book for bathroom reading, if you know what I mean.

    If I had my wish, I'd be reading in front of the woodstove in an easy chair - but then I'd probably be so comfortable I'd fall asleep anyway!

  4. I used to read anywhere, anytime and always carried a book with me. While I still tend to do the latter, I find that most of my reading gets done at night after the girls are in bed these days. That usually gives me two solid hours of reading time, plus whatever I can sneak by during the day. I used to read at work as well during my lunch break, but these days I spend that half hour working on the blog.

    My reading spots are either the couch or bed :-)

  5. I read anywhere and everywhere. Mostly it's in front of my laptop. Other times, when i am outside, i've got books in my phone and it makes it easy to read multiple books. If i hit a patch of boredom in one, i can quickly switch to another. Keeps life interesting. Hope your garden is coming along well.

    First time at your blog, and I must say, lovely header!