Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Discovering Books as an Adult, Part 2: Finding the Right Setting

In Part 1 we talked about how to find the time to read if it's not already part of your life and how important it is to set reasonable expectations of yourself, without comparing to other readers.  Now let's talk about where you're going to do your reading and how to create an environment that makes reading easy.

It's true that you can read anywhere and I see lots of recommendations for people to make time for books by reading in waiting rooms or in line at the store.  Those are great ideas, but they don't typically work for me.  I can't handle just a page here and there - if I'm going to read, I want to sit down and get into the book.  So the first step is to acknowledge your preferences and go with them.  If you'd rather just read a page here and there, stick a book in your purse and go wild every chance you get.  But if you're more like me, reading may be something that's more of a ritual.  Some ideas to consider:
  • Indoors or outdoors?  In the South, it's hot three quarters of the year.  We have some nice days, but most of my outdoor reading takes place in the fall, winter, and early spring because that's the only time it's comfortable to be outside.  While I love reading on my porch, with a view of the river behind my house, it's just not practical for large chunks of the year.  Your situation may be different.  I do have a cozy little porch nook set up for reading during the parts of the year that it's not sweltering.  
    • Pro tip: If you ARE into reading outside, put together either a reading spot or a reading basket you can carry with you.  I'd stick in a fuzzy blanket or quilt for sitting on, an extra pair of sunglasses, and some sunscreen.  When you're ready to go, grab your book and your reading basket and head to the nearest park or yard.
  • Set up a comfy spot.  If your preference is for indoor reading, think about where you're most comfortable.  For me, it's in bed, but for others it's hard to read in bed without falling asleep.  It should be a spot where you can relax and, if possible, have some expectation of quiet from those around you (I realize this is easier said than done in homes with children, but as I have no children, I don't have great advice for how to handle kids + reading.  Check out We Still Read for their Pro Tips on reading with kids).  
    • Pro tip: Just like reading outdoors, I like having some reading accessories stored in my reading spots (by my bed and in the living room).  I have two fuzzy blankets, one in each spot, for snuggling, a basket of fuzzy socks, as well as bookmarks and pens stored nearby for easy access.  
  • Minimize distractions.  I like to listen to either instrumental music or white noise while I read.  I have a white noise app on my phone (TM Soft's White Noise) and a Spotify playlist of reading music.  
    • Pro tip: Step away from the internet.  Put your phone down, turn off the computer, resist the urge to check Facebook or Instagram and concentrate on your book.  Even if it's just for a few minutes.
    • Pro tip #2: Read in a room without a TV.  I'm pretty good and tuning out distractions, but I have a really hard time avoiding the lure of TV when it's around.  I don't have a TV in my bedroom and I think that's one reason I do make so much time for reading - without a TV there to tempt me, it's easier devote an hour or two to a book before bed.
  • Treat yourself to something yummy while you read.  It doesn't have to be sweets or something fattening, but it's nice to reward yourself for making time for your brain with a cup of coffee or tea.  And it does tend to help stave off the sleepiness, if you're prone to snoozing mid-sentence.
My way may not be the best way for everyone - keep in mind that the main thing about coming back to books or coming to books for the first time as an adult is that you don't get caught up in what anyone else says you should or shouldn't do with your reading.  For me, having a special spot with reading aids nearby makes it a pleasant ritual that brings me peace.  I like the idea of having a designated time, space, and spot for reading, but I'm a huge fan of rituals for everything - morning, bedtime, eating, I like things a certain way.

Any suggestions you'd add for setting up a reading spot/choosing where to read?

1 comment:

  1. This is a really cute graphic!

    I always forget about having music or other nice background noise while I'm reading. Then our extra loud AC turns on and startles me, haha.