Where and when do we read? I’ve come to the conclusion that the answer depends on age. I’m no longer young and with the exception of medical appointments and food preparation, my twenty-four-hour day is usually my own. When much younger, reading came in bits and pieces between everything else: classes, work, and child-rearing. But for seniors, if in reasonable health, reading is much more viable. I now read for work (book reviewing and website maintenance) and pleasure (book clubs and my ever-growing “to read” stack).
My condo has a deck with enough room for comfortable reading, which means weather is the only factor to consider if reading outdoors. Today the snow is melted off the immediate mountainsides, the temperature is in the mid to high 60s, and my book of choice is Benjamin Black’s murder mystery, The Silver Swan.
When reading indoors, distractions abound: telephone calls, breakfast dishes to put away, another load of laundry to do, a carpet needing vacuuming, the list can be fatal to uninterrupted reading. And even if the household tasks have been attended to, the need to pause in one’s attention to a story, to look up and think about what has just been read, is always present. From my living room reading chair, if I look up from reading, what I see across the room is a wall of bookshelves, but upon those bookshelves are old black and white and sepia photos, pictures of relatives who are no longer alive. Do I really want to read about a dead person inside a room with a gallery of the familial deceased?
Or do I take my book outdoors?
Ah, the mountains, the Truckee, the clouds, some with a mere hint of possible moisture, but the sun still bright enough to leave my 99¢ Store reading glasses inside. And even if the mystery plot thickens, I may pause and look up, but only to hear and see life: Birds chirping, the Truckee carrying life downstream, and the clouds always a drift.
Are you kidding? Outdoors wins! – Sunny Solomon