The best way to make today’s column vivid would be to include the many photographs that readers sent in response to my query of favorite places to read.
The photos — most involving well-padded chairs with ottomans, big windows, and, often, lake views — made me jealous. So much cozier than the Metro Transit 3A bus, where I do a lot of my reading.
Sue Zumberge, who owns SubText Books in St. Paul, said that where she reads dictates what she reads. For instance, she reads “Essays in the kitchen where I can grab something short while waiting for the pasta water to boil,” she said. “Something light in the living room so I can read while my husband watches golf. Poetry in the car. The real reading gets done in bed or in the ‘reading room’ off the kitchen. But if a book comes out by a favorite author or on a favorite subject, it gets saved for the lake.”
Doris Olson of Bloomington reads every morning for two hours, surrounded by cats. “The front room window curtains are open and I sit on the couch,” she writes. “The diva Sophie stretches out on my lap, tiny little Julie curls up as close to me as possible, and sweet Sam sprawls across the back of the couch. Perfect/purrfect way to start a new day.”
It was Jerry Kohl’s photo of his reading spot in Grand Marais that made me sigh with envy. His living room “looks out at Lake Superior, no more than 30 feet away,” he wrote. “I love sitting here and reading year round, with the window open when weather permits.”
After years of raising kids, empty-nester Linda Oberman of Excelsior finally has her own space.
“We turned my smallish dining room into ‘Linda’s reading room,’ ” she wrote. “I have my favorite chair and ottoman next to a window, and a perfect vantage spot in the house to know what is going on in it as well as outside. I have my grandmother’s china cabinet, and a new couch. Isn’t it amazing how a comfy place to read can actually enhance the book?”
Jim Stromberg of North Oaks finds that his reading spots change with the seasons.
“In winter my favorite place is the recliner in my bedroom or the couch in the living area. They are great places to enjoy the afternoon sun,” he writes. “The porch is the draw in summer and early spring or late fall — listening to the rain, and watching all the wildlife in the wetland and the lake area behind the house is so calming.”
Mary-Clare Bates of Minneapolis finds the three-season porch to be a great reading place this time of year.
“On a summer evening, the crickets sing to me and in the morning I hear the birds call to each other,” she writes. “The aroma therapy may be fresh rain, newly mowed grass or a scented floral candle. In addition to the reading lamp, there are also strings of colorful lights hanging from the curtain rods. A ceiling fan keeps me comfortable in the summer and warm blankets keep me cozy in the spring and fall. My mind and senses come alive in my favorite reading room.”
Susan Schaefer of Minneapolis reads way, way up high.
“The reading nook in my high-rise condo is a sanctuary, perched 18 stories high like an eagle’s aerie, directly overlooking the Mississippi River,” she writes. “East-facing, my reading corner offers perfect daylight.” Along a granite window ledge, “I created a mini-conservatory of plants complete with a resonant waterfall fountain — the only sound I seek while reading. In summer, with the windows thrown open, I feel as if I’m in a cloud house.”
Sue Smukler gets the best of both worlds — reading, and being outdoors. “I will happily (or guiltily) read anywhere,” she writes. “But my current favorite locale is ‘reading’ while walking. Audiobooks are a sweet pleasure.”
Laurie Hertzel is the Star Tribune senior editor for books. On Twitter: @StribBooks.