Today’s Thursday Thoughts (hosted by Ok, Let’s Read) are on “reading conditions”. Taking a tiny snippet of that post to start me off: Do you love rain when you’re reading? Are you able to listen to music while reading? If so, how?! I can’t for the life of me do that. Are you the kind of person who falls asleep while reading? What time of day do you read?
I like the sound of rain in general, but it does add a special cosiness to reading. It can cover up traffic noise, dogs barking, etc, and just surround you in a cocoon of noise that doesn’t demand your attention. For a morning in bed with a book, there’s nothing better. I like it in a car, too, when I’m a passenger, though then it makes me sleepy and makes it harder to focus on reading!
I only listen to music while reading when there’s something I need to block out. Like that dog barking. Generally I pick something unobtrusive by virtue of being very familiar but not too beloved: Sarah McLachlan works because I can let that just be soothing sound, but Dar Williams doesn’t because I want to sing along. Soundtrack music isn’t always helpful — the Captain America or Lord of the Rings soundtracks are too distinctive, somehow. The Mass Effect 2 soundtrack worked well, though.
I can’t fall asleep while reading. I sometimes get to the point where I can barely keep my eyes open, and I have fallen asleep with a book or my ereader on my chest, but there’s always a moment where I realise I’m too sleepy, and close the book before I close my eyes.
Otherwise, I read anytime, anywhere. I read while standing up at the eye clinic I volunteer at; I read in bed before I sleep; I read with my feet curled under me on my sofa; I read standing up by my shelves because a book hooked me in fast; I read while I’m chatting on my computer. Kobo actually has badges/awards for reading multiple times at various times of the day, and I have them all, even the late night/early morning ones.
When I was a kid, I always wanted to read, even when we were seeing family I hadn’t seen in ages. Guess I always had a very easily drained social battery. Anyway, there’d inevitably come a time when I’d go and seek out my quiet spot — and I was a creature of habit, it didn’t vary. At my nan’s house, it’d be the front room. That was often a little bit cold so there’d be huddling, and eventually I’d usually ask for the gas fire to be put on. Then I’d toast myself thoroughly. The good part of that — quite aside from eating up all the books I had with me — was that my nan’s dog would come on through looking for me after a while and often stay, putting his head on my feet to encourage me to stay put. (Mum says they could tell he was looking for me, because he’d push on the door to the passage between the rooms until someone let him through. He didn’t go to the front room if I wasn’t there.)
At Grandma and Grandad’s house, my place of refuge was the stairs. It was kinda close enough to hear people talking in a general buzz, but not so it was distracting. I got a lot read there. When I was being disturbed too often, I sometimes hid myself in their shower room. It was tiny, but so was I.
Actually, I quite liked stairs at home, too. There used to be a kind of magic in stacking up a bunch of Enid Blyton books and reading my way up and down the stairs. Read a chapter? Down a step. (Or up.)
I don’t really have any habits like that anymore. I just read whenever I can snatch a minute, which doesn’t always work well on the bus (I get travel sick easily). I used to read in school under the desk in maths, because that’s where I could get away with it (sorry, Mr Carter). I’d read while walking between classes if I could.
In short, reading conditions: preferably continuous and uninterrupted. Comfort optional.
(N.B. Due to the number of posts already today, I’m not going to do a Throwback Thursday post this week.)