Friday, September 6, 2019

A Clean Well-Lighted Place to Read

Where do you normally read? In bed? A favorite chair? Listen to audio when commuting?

by Paul D. Marks

Well, since I basically commute from the bedroom or kitchen to my home office, a distance of about thirty or forty feet, I don’t do much reading on my commute. But if I did – and if I had a self-driving car – I’d be reading a hardcopy book or one on a Kindle app. I find that if I try to listen to an audio book my mind drifts too much. I don’t know why.

These days I do most of my reading at home, because I’m home most of the time – you see, there’s a logic to it. There’s various spots I like, nothing out of the ordinary like sitting in a tree or while hang-gliding. There’s three or four places that I do most of my reading: in bed, a chair in the bedroom that faces out to the view, on the family room couch, a particular chair in the living room and outside on the patio. I don’t take many baths but when I do I like reading in the tub, but I’m very careful not to get anything wet…except me. Most of my books look unread and if I got one wet – or too wet – I’d freak out. Not really, but almost. I guess I’m pretty nitpicky about that, but I like to keep them pristine. So much so that sometimes we buy Amy, the wife, a separate book of the same thing so mine doesn’t get messed up. She’s not as particular as I am. And when we had a pool I liked reading outside on the deck or on a pool lounger. I wish I could say I read at the beach these days, but alas I don’t get there as much as I used to. We do live just outside the national forest and sometimes I think about going up there and reading but it’s pretty nice here and if I don’t have to go anywhere, I pretty much don’t.

Here's one of my favorite reading spots with the ubiquitous slip covers because of the dog hair everywhere. I forgot what the upholstery looked like until I took the cover off the ottoman.

When we travel I like to read on planes, as long as there’s no loud or obnoxious flyers, so that does limit plane-reading sometimes. And if we had a boat, ah, but I can dream, can’t I?

Like others have mentioned, I have stacks of TBR books all over the place and a virtual stack on the Kindle app. I have some audio books around that I listen to now and then, but as I said, I tend to lose focus. Amy reads on audio a lot, as she commutes to work on the train. However her brain is wired vs. the way mine is allows her to concentrate on audio books and her mind doesn’t seem to wander. She really enjoys her audio books and I’m envious because I would like to “read” them. It just doesn’t work out.
Buster was enjoying the July/August, 2019, issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, which includes my story Past is Prologue. Then he just zonked out using my leg as a pillow. Hope it wasn’t my story that put him to sleep.

And like Frank, I often have at least one non-fiction (though sometimes more) and one fiction book going. I usually don’t read more than one fiction book at a time, but I might be reading short stories while I have a novel going.

Here's the view at sunset from another of my reading spots.

How about you? Where do you like to enjoy a book? And now excuse me, I gotta go hit the hang glider and get some reading done.


And now for the usual BSP:

Don't forget to check out Broken Windows, the sequel to my Shamus award-winning novel, White Heat. Betty Webb at Mystery Scene magazine says: "Broken Windows is extraordinary."

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Jacqueline Seewald said...


I most like reading out on our terrace. We're high up on the Palisades overlooking the Hudson River with NYC across from us. There are lots of birds and trees on our side of the river. It's a very peaceful location to sit and read.

Paul D. Marks said...

That sounds really nice, Jacqueline!

Terry said...

A bath reader, myself. I used to say it was B-B-B--bath, book and brandy. Now the brandy not so much.

We will be on a boat for the next two weeks, and I'm looking forward to lots of reading time.

GBPool said...

I read in bed under the ceiling fan during the summer. It's too hot upstairs in the guest room. I read there when it gets cooler because it's closer to my office. I can go back and forth between reading and writing my own books. I'll let the Kindle read to me while ironing, but mostly I like to add my own inflection to the story. That's what taking acting lessons years ago does for you. I buy new books and used books, so their condition varies, but they all get treated like old friends.

Kevin R. Tipple said...

I mainly read here at the house in the den, though I also read out in the backyard under the tree, over at UTD, and various medical places.

I read print and digital though I prefer print. I also find that things get easily buring in the digital realm while I can see the physicla stacks and imaging them all muttering to themselves when I select one of tehir breathern to read next.

Anonymous said...

Like you, Paul, I have lots of reading spots: bed, porch, family room, office, etc. Also like you, I have a hard time concentrating on audio books. I started listening to them in the car after the Northridge quake when my hellish commute became much more so. But since moving to Virginia, I drive little and my trips are short. It’s challenging to listen to Jonathan Kellerman or Michael Connelly five minutes at a time.

Paul D. Marks said...

Terry, the B-B-B method sounds pretty good. And the boat even better. Enjoy your time on it.

Paul D. Marks said...

Your plan of going back and forth sounds good, Gayle. And I’ve never tried having the Kindle read to me, but I probably wouldn’t be able to get into it ‘cause as I said, my mind wanders. I buy used books sometimes, too, so everything’s not pristine. But if I buy something new I do try to keep it in good shape, at least these days.

Paul D. Marks said...

I always bring something to read to the doctor’s office, Kevin. But then I almost never read it these days. I used to. But now there’s TVs on and people talking on their phones and it’s too distracting to try to read there. And I know what you mean about them muttering when you select one of their brethren :-) .

Paul D. Marks said...

I know what you’re saying about listening to books for five minutes at a time, Maggie. But even if I could listen for an hour or two my mind just wanders. But listening for five minutes would be really frustrating.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Buster looks like a really good reading buddy.

Lawrence Maddox said...

I read all over the place.

Paul D. Marks said...

Buster is definitely a good reading buddy, Dietrich. He's huge, but like a giant dog version of a teddy bear. But also very protective. He's really a great dog.

Paul D. Marks said...

Larry, you're a reader about town :-) .