Whenever I receive notice that Ste J from Book to the Future has written a new post, a smile comes across my face. I know that I will either be introduced to a new book or revisiting an old favorite.
But it’s not just that he discusses books; it’s how he discusses them. He loves books – tattered secondhand ones, the great classics of our times, pulp fiction, obscure ones on cartography, and he describes each reading experience through his unique wit and style.
I asked him if he would be willing to write something for my blog about where he reads as it’s something that always intrigues me about his posts. Much to my delight, he agreed. Here it is:
Before it gets too cold, I thought I would try my hand at reading in a church yard, which is very distracting as it’s too peaceful, which it turns out is a real thing. Yet it does feel good to read somewhere that creates new thoughts and so brings life – in it’s own way – to the tranquil graves .
It did get me thinking about the effect that the nature of one’s chosen reading place has on the book itself. The book as we know exudes its own powerful effect on each reader and spending so much time in intimate contact with your book there must logically and inevitably be mutual give and take on both sides, a symbiotic relationship if you will.
By reading in a certain place, we associate the book with certain elements, be it the smell of coffee, the song that’s always on in the pub or perhaps just the short length of sanity a break allows at work. These stimulus allow the book to live on and be recalled, recommended and scattered to readers elsewhere, it is one of the more subtle evolutionary traits, I find.
Having started a new job recently, people are already asking what I am reading, my debut novel, What is Religion? by Leo Tolstoy gave them an impression of my tatses which was quickly changed as I then went onto Crabs: The Human Sacrifice, but it’s this playing with genre and reading location that keeps the experience fresh and can keep a book alive longer in the mind, even if the world tries to get in the way.
For me I love to read in a pub with a nice pint of whatever guest ale looks the most inviting (by which I mean the one with the best name), mainly as a little alcohol opens up the brain circuits (I’m guessing) and allows you to see more deeply into the book, literally after a few pints. It’s not the beverage I’m imbibing so much as the ambience, the gentle murmur of talking, the gaudy flashing of the slot machine, the regulars known by sight and of course having your own table.
It’s almost a home from home, I have been known to stand at the bar as my table and back up reading table were both taken and I wouldn’t have been able to read anywhere else, I’m not weird I’m dedicated to my art. The idiosyncrasies of book lovers have always fascinated me and I would be most intrigued to hear of any eccentricities that my fellow readers embrace to enhance the pleasure of our wonderful pastime.
If you’re not already following Ste J, check out his wonderful blog here: Book to the Future.