Reading, a Guilty Pleasure?

          This month, WARA members discussed where we read. My simple answer is everywhere, particularly my library, (see last month’s post) but I wanted to share another part of that. I love to read and can read anywhere, but I feel SO GUILTY sitting down and reading a book. I just know there is something else I could be doing instead. Something I should be doing. Writing my own story, cleaning the house, playing with my children, making dinner. How many of us have delayed or forgotten dinner completely, because we were lost in a book we just couldn’t put down!?
If I pull out a book, it’s at night by my bedside after the kids are asleep and the day is “done.” That’s a terrible thing to do, if I don’t fall asleep or worse yet stay up way too late. That’s if I pick up a book. By the time I get into the bed, my eyes won’t stay open long enough to start a chapter.
My school-aged children are required to read daily and I note it on their logs. I don’t always do that which makes me feel like a terrible mother. I know my kids read, but I don’t keep track of how much. How can I make them read when they don’t see me reading? Fortunately, they read all the time. If my son finds a series he likes, he’ll be reading the book at the breakfast table.
So readers and writers, what should I do? Indulge in the guilty pleasure of reading? Any tips on a happy medium? 
AND if you want to indulge in a bit of mystery reading, check out Fish or Cut Bait: A Guppy Anthology that includes my short story The Bones in the Box. I'm so thrilled it's out! You can find it at Amazon, B&N, and Wildside Press. 

Where Do I Read? (Kate O'Hara)

Almost anywhere is a good spot for a good read. My first choice is my cozy bed. I can read until my eyes get tired and doze off dreaming about the characters in the story. I read anytime and anyplace I have to wait: doctor’s office, dentist, DMV, etc.  It makes the wait seem shorter and keeps my brain alert. Reading is something I do every day if I can.

While I do like a real hardbound book with real print when I’m reading in bed, I hate carrying one around when I leave home. I don’t like the small print in paperbacks either. I have adopted Kindle as my reading app and love it! I carry a Kindle Fire in my briefcase on trips out of town. I can adjust the brightness to fit nearly any surrounding and change the font size to suit my eyes. For jaunts about town, I read from the Kindle app on my phone. It’s so handy and has nearly all the features of my larger Kindle.

I do some proofing and beta-reads for other authors. I use to do these on the computer, but now send the files to my Kindle. It’s so easy to tap the screen and make a note to check later. That way I’m not stuck at the computer and can proof anywhere. My only complaint is Kindle doesn’t have a means to print the notes after I’ve finished. I have to either make the corrections on the .doc copy or send a list of changes in an email. I have talked to Amazon and suggested adding that feature to future apps, but they aren’t quick to change something which obviously works well for most users.

Wherever you read, enjoy yourself. Reading changes lives, opinions, outlooks and hearts. Be the change you want to see in the world.


The Parking Lot

Yes, I do most of my reading in the parking lot of somewhere.  I love it.

Years ago I would spend hours reading in the tub—warming it twice over before coming out. But then, I moved away from the tub and have seldom found another worth it. For you see, the best tub for reading sets in an oasis of calm and order—and is contoured for lounging as well as deep enough for perfect submersion. I yearn for space to have one.
Later I spent hours lounging on the corner of a couch. No Roman empress could lounge better. With a cup of heated or iced beverage close at hand, a bookmark, and quiet, I spent hours in faraway places doing impossible feats.
Propped over a pillow, stomach down on my bed isn’t bad, but there’s no beverages in my bedrooms so it ranks secondary.
Then I got the perfect job!! I was a outside messenger for a large hospital in Denver. When my route, delivering medical reports to doctor’s offices was finished for the day, and no other work needing done, my time was my own. The previous person in my job had spent the extra time in bars drinking. He also managed to make the route take five hours. I reworked the route and could get done in three.  In wonderful weather I could be found at beautiful park, in my vehicle, under a tree, windows open, and reading.  In foul weather I could be found in a restaurant booth near large windows watching it rain or snow, having coffee brought to me, maybe a cinnamon roll—hot from the oven, reading.
Then I got an almost perfect job. I was in a high rise building downtown Denver. On the fifth floor was an outdoor balcony—very good for reading in good weather, but they also had a small library for the employees—that was nice too.
Then I came home to southwest Kansas and into my current location. For the last thirty-five years lounging furniture has come and gone. I have huge windows to look out of at inclement weather—if I don’t have to be out in it, but the downside is no one brings me coffee or cinnamon rolls.  Since I took up writing, I occasionally will go to a cafĂ© and write there—with the accompanying coffee and roll or meal—I like those days best, but they are irregular.
But you can’t beat a vehicle in a parking lot. It has all of the best in window views, no one can find you, and you can bring your own beverage made just as you like it.  The seats are comfortable and you can have open windows or heating or cooling—just as you like.
I read or edit in my husband’s pickup truck wherever he has gone to look at something wonderful—which includes the sacred tool section of our local Sears store. Local being ninety miles from home. I’ve been parked in parking lots for malls, other stores, factories or other points of non-interest on every trip to many states  of this ol USA. This even includes in Hawaii where my darling wanted to go tour a sea shipping company. Matson, when I called to get him the ‘school’ tour was quite kind and had us show up the next day. It turns out, no one had ever asked for a tour before and he had the yard engineer, who was quite excited to show someone around, for a tour guide. They were at it for three hours. Happily, the daughters and I were parked under a tree with our books, enjoying the area.  Luckily, he was back in time for the required comfort break.
When I need to escape for a while, I work some time into my ‘town day’. The day per week I do all town errands. I have places in different towns where I can park and read, plan with a notebook, or nap for an hour or two—no worries, no trouble, no one knows where I am. I love it.  I have a friend who needed some respite from her family at home and shared a couple of the spots with her.  Everyone should have an escape. I use mine and read.
I must also mention that as a young woman I went on a ski vacation with three friends. I don’t ski, but ski lodges are great places to read. On another vacation, I had to do laundry for the family. I took a book and headed for the local laundry room where I got to read and overhear a couple of other women talk about being on a world golfing tour with their husbands.  Really. There’s nothing like a couple of women dragged around the world to obscure places like Easter Island to wait for their guy to golf. There was one place that they got no sleep because the crabs kept trying to get in to eat them at night.  The clicking of the claws was quite disturbing.  Yay-uh, I’ll take my guy any day. I don’t think I could read comfortably listening to hungry crabs.
I’m thinking I’d like to go to one of those hunting lodge places and read. They look so inviting with those fireplaces in the ads.

Where Is My Favorite Reading Place? (Z. Minor)

I read wherever I can balance a book on my lap or in my hand. I do have a Kindle which I kind of like – more because of the purchase price of the books. If I am traveling I don’t have to cart along a box of books. In truth I don’t like to read a story on a computer either.

When I read my own novels I usually print them out. I can write comments on the paper and later go to my office, in the basement, and make any necessary changes.

An actually printed book is my preference of reading material. I like the feel of the cover in my hands and the actually touching of the pages. If it is a research book and it belongs to me I sometimes will write in the margins or on the blank pages in the back or front of the book. When I find an interesting historical tidbits, usually when I am doing specific research for one of my stories, I will sometimes write a heading for the type of information and the page number when the details can be found. That way I don’t have to scour the entire book looking for the information a second time.  I find it very hard to go backward in a Kindle book looking for information be it a novel or research material.

If a book is well written the story carries me to the time and place of the novel. So it matters not where I am actually reading. Most often I read in our small library/TV room. I sit in a recliner, which is a fairly comfortable chair. We do need to buy some new chairs as we have worn out the ones we are currently using.

Most often, I will read and kind of watch a T.V. show at the same time. I usually can follow the show on the T.V. while I read. Of course it depends on the type of book/show. Sometimes I only read when the commercials come on- however on some T.V. stations the ads seem to run longer than the actual shows.

I love to read so I always find time to do so no matter where I am.

 Z. Minor
Author of Historical Romantic & Contemporary Suspense Novels.

Favorite Reading Spaces by J Vincent

The one place I read in every day is my bed.  I read before I take my nap and I read again when we go to bed in the evening.  On my nightstand in the photo taken today are my Nook upon which I am reading April Lady by Georgette Heyer--a regency romance. My favorite place?  Although I enjoy my reading I don’t think the setting enhances it.

The second place I read every day is in my recliner in the living room.  If you look at the photo you can see the equipment I use for my CF vest treatment and my breathing treatments--these guarantee I am in this chair and thus reading every day.  What you can’t see is the book Prague Counterpoint (Zion Covenant Series Book 2) by Bodie Thoene.  I don’t often read paper copies of books these days due to my eyes but someone highly recommended this World War II series to me. I am captivated by it even as I’m horrified at some things that happen in it.  It’s a love story, a war story, a story of Jewish survival.  Since the series isn’t available as an epub I’ve been able to get the books at Wichita Public Library. Again, the recliner is not really a favorite place to read.

In the summer I have two favorite places to read.  The first and most often utilized is the glider on our deck. The view from there is my back yard with all our bird feeders and accompanying birds including orioles and humming birds that feed up on our deck, then a berm covered with blooming sunflowers.   Beyond that is a wheat field. Whenever I look up I am so thankful to have such a peaceful place which truly does enhance reading.

My most favorite place to read is at Thirty Mile Camp outside of Creede, CO. I’ve included two photos.  The first taken a couple of years ago with my grandchildren in camp.  The second is just some of scenery before me as I read.  Too bad we’re usually only there five days.  I make up for it by ready six or seven books.
Are your reading places similar?  Which of mine is your favorite?

My Favorite Place To Read (Katherine Pritchett)

      Where is my favorite place to read? Well, lately, it’s been airplane seats (especially during a 26-hour travel day, with an overnight spent in the Dallas airport). It’s one place that there is not much else I should be doing. At home, I read anywhere I don’t have to watch where I’m going or handle power tools. My recliner is pretty comfy, though it occasionally lulls me into dozing as I’m reading. I read in bed a lot, too, often waking with a book on my face. I read at the kitchen table while eating my lunch. Sometimes I read on the couch with my feet up, Wimpy Dog snuggled beside me. However, the loveseat is pretty small for the both of us, and his moaning and groaning trying to get me to move over when there is no room disturbs my focus on the words. He also drools. Or maybe I did. Sometimes I sit on my front porch and read with my coffee on Saturday mornings on those rare days when I don’t have a full day of yard work or a meeting to attend. I read when I’m watching my grandson, while he’s napping (after I’ve had mine!). My granddaughters read in a hammock slung between their deck and a nice tree, shaded in all but early morning. I didn’t try it out on my last trip, though, daunted by a foot of snow and air temps hovering just at one degree.

               Still, I don’t read as many novels as I’d like. When I start to read a novel, unless it is truly horrible, I can’t stop. I’m an addict. I have to have more. Besides cuddling in my favorite places, I’ve tried reading while vacuuming, riding the exercise bike, working out on the elliptical, while loading laundry or dishes, while cooking, at stoplights, in restaurants. I look forward to work travel, because it often means I have a room to myself and can read myself to sleep instead of putting in another hour working via email. Usually, whatever else I’m trying to do suffers as I read, but I don’t care, because I’m so immersed in the world on the page that when I do try to come out, I’m disoriented, one foot still in that world. And it keeps trying to pull me back. While I conduct other tasks, my mind is pondering the foreshadowing in the novel, wondering what twist will come next, feeling the characters’ emotions more than my own.

                Therefore, I stick to magazines, as I can sometimes force myself to stop with one article (or two) or the monthly excerpts our local critique group brings to share. Otherwise, my house is adrift in the fur Wimpy Dog sheds daily, I run out of clean dishes and clothes, I sleep through the alarm, skip meetings, and my yard is knee high. To function in my life, I must try to control my addiction. But I have two flights coming up in May, and four books set aside for reading on them…