reading rules

Bedtime books must be interesting but familiar. Unfamiliar books want to be read to the end, which is two or four hours after bedtime and wrecks the delicate sleep patterns. Familiar books can have momentum without drive — can hold focus/attention without waking the brain.

Bedtime books need to be books, not magazines. Bedtime books do double-duty as middle-of-night, re-groove brain-into-sleep tools. They must have quiet pages, stiff spines, solid (not floppy) covers, and stand less than 8”. Taller materials require a broader flashlight beam, which offer a greater risk in waking up the bed partner. This also drives the “quiet pages” requirement. Newspapers are a complete non-starter.

Morning reading tends to connect to the day — newspapers, quick-turnover digital. Scrolling feels very much like reading, but might not turn out to be the same.

Magazines are good at the lunch table, where they can be spread out. Or on airplanes… they also have tables.

Food writing and cookbooks are only good to read during or after meals. They generate eating in their wake!

Somehow, the sofas here have very little to do with reading. For me. The wing chair is better.

The wing chair is the perfect place for scholarly reading — cushions, but an upright back and arms. The wing chair needs new seat-springs.

The desk-chair is ok for reading but not great, regardless of content. The desk-chair is primarily in relationship with the keyboard(s), and is not welcoming to non-keyboard activities. The desk-chair is great for reference work, though.

Somewhere in my 40s, the floor became an impossible place to read. Unless there’s a wall for back support, and even then my tailbone hates it.

Laptops are adequate for reading scholarly work but not great; they’re hard to annotate on.

The garden chairs are fantastic for reading! Except when it’s hot+humid, when my clothes stick. Except when mosquitoes whine in my ear and sting my limbs. And not when it’s raining, either — I don’t have water-resistant reading materials. Reading in wind can be difficult. So that leaves 6 weeks in spring and 6 weeks in fall… which may not be contiguous ones. Keep your eyes open.

I can’t speak to reading in the tub because my stopper has a slow leak. Holding a book while covered in a film of water is not my idea of a good time. There’s a reason I took six towels to three-event swim meets.

Pocket computers have lessened the need for purse-sized reading material, but not eliminated it. Let’s face it, it’s easier to stick with sustaining material when it’s in tangible form; bit-displays tempt one to wander off in the scratchy weeds.

More reading. Less itching.

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