This past week, I nearly hit an older man with my car as he walked on a snowy Minnesota road. He was walking while reading a book. It was shocking enough to see him on the tight shoulder, but when I tried to make eye contact with him to reassure him I didn’t plan to mow him down, it was then I realized he was too glued to his book to notice. It wasn’t a small book either. It was a textbook-sized distraction that worried me enough I watched him in my rearview mirror to make sure he made it over the snow-covered bridge. Within the same hour, I found myself taking a second glance at the engrossed 11-year-old girl who sat reading her book in the loud, chaotic hockey rink during a game.
What were these people doing? Hasn’t someone told them there are all sorts of other places more conducive to reading? I venture to guess neither of these people would name a frigid roadside or a bustling hockey bleacher as their favorite places to read, but maybe they like the white noise of a rink or the life-gamble of reading in close proximity to speeding cars. I didn’t have a chance to ask them.
We did, however, ask Readers Write subscribers and folks online where and how they read and write best. Here is what we asked:
National Book Award winner William Alexander prefers to write in near darkness. Where is your favorite place to read or write? Does your local coffee shop get your creative juices flowing? Prefer to read at the lakeshore? What sorts of places provide the most inspiration for you as a writer or a book lover and why?
A few of the comments shared with us:
Via our Twitter @booksmake:
Mr. Kevin English @Mr_KevinEnglish writes:
“Any coffee shop or comfy chair! I have to be comfortable and I love to snack while reading!”
On our Facebook page:
“I hate to say it, but my favorite place to read is on the toilet, and my favorite place to write is lying in bed.”
“At my computer in my bedroom. I have a separate computer which is never connected to Internet for total file security.”
“The local coffee house is my norm, but the best writing session I ever had was at Harbin Hot Springs, in a private cottage (had to save up for it) near the hot pools. One could go soak whenever a break was needed. And it was quiet. Well worth a small investment.”
“I wrote my first novel, sporadically, over 2 years and found that the majority of my writing I would do with pen and paper, usually late into the night, headphones on, immersed in music. Only into the 2nd draft do I head to the computer.”
“It has to be quiet for me to write and to read. Most of the time, I write at home sitting by the fireplace with my laptop in my lap. Other times, I will go to a park on a pretty day. Sit by a beach or even someplace public—but alone. When an inspiration hits, I try to grab that moment, wherever it takes place.
It’s my opinion that writing is a personal journey, and in some respects reading is, as well. When you read, it’s like inhaling a fragrance—what it says to you, may be totally different than what it says to me. It can take you places in your imagination, memories or fantasy. It stimulates your brain in ways nothing else can. From the writer’s perspective, it is setting that fragrance loose that is inside you, revealing it to others who wish to join you in your journey.
I would be lost without either—writing or reading.”
“I write inside my apartment and I write my best when it’s pin drop quiet and I have prayed to the spirit in sincerity. I love to read all books, but since I am a writer and now I am writing my very own first novel, I read up on all the latest, such as Pretty Little Liars by Sara Shepard and the vampire diaries too. That sort of gives me a feel and voice for my novel. I also write children’s books. I have been in love with writing and reading since I can remember what all of it was. Reading and writing is a business thing and a love interest for me and there are times when if I am not writing I type in imagination or think of a great book. I love it!!!!”
“I wrote an entire novel while standing at the island in my kitchen. I left the laptop open and whenever inspiration hit me, I left whatever I was doing and went to the computer to write it out.”
“I love to read novels when I go on summer vacation. My sister is a voracious reader and gives me the books she’s already read and loved. I know I won’t be able to put them down.”
What about you? Where do you enjoy reading and writing? Keep the conversation going. We love it when Readers Write.