Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Reading Retreat: Addison Westlake

I love reading. What a luxury. It’s really such a joy; there’s nothing like it. Even when the book I’m reading is bad, it’s like pizza. Bad pizza is still pizza—it might not be awesome, but it won’t leave you sick for hours. You just, ‘eh’, shrug and move on to the next pizza place. You’re not turned off of pizza all together.

I have so many favorite places to read. There’s the couch, my comfy living room armchair, and my bed, of course, but those are just my most typical places to read. There’s a few yummy coffee shops, and even on the train commuting has some appeal since it can make you lose all track of the workday.

I love my ereader, but I love reading in bookstores, too. It’s like walking into a candy shop without that simultaneous guilt that you’re rotting your teeth and putting on pounds. A bookstore is calorie-free indulgence. The book covers are so pretty. Sometimes you can get a coffee and browse. Mostly I read from my Kindle these days—this is ebook addict, after all—but, oh the feel of a book! I’ll even admit I love the smell, too, I just don’t want to leave you with the image of me sniffing books…

My first favorite place to read—the place where I learned that I loved reading—was in a hammock on a screened-in porch in Maine. It was at our summer cabin, and I am not using the term ‘cabin’ to modestly describe my ancestor’s old-money compound occupying acres of lakehouse property. No, I’m referring to the shack my parents scraped together enough money to buy with no insulation, no TV, no heat or AC. But what it did have was woods, lots of woods, and a screened-in part of the porch with a hammock. Lying there, I read the whole series of Anne of Green Gables as the breeze blew in the birch trees. The rest, as they say, is history.  

All of this reminiscing has given me an idea. I’ve heard of a writer’s retreat. How about a reader’s retreat? Imagine a place with a limitless, free print and electronic library. I’m picturing it like a high-end resort only with a lot more comfy, plush spots to snuggle up and read, maybe with each with a cozy blanket so you never catch a chill. It’s in some gorgeous setting—I don’t care oceanfront or mountaintop—the key here is that 1) someone brings you tasty food and drinks wherever you are relaxing and reading and 2) that is the only disturbance allowed. The only other sound is the twitter of birds.

It’s not a bad idea. I’ve even done my homework: the resort’s target market is women. Because the majority of readers—especially those reading fiction—are women. I’ve heard as high as 80%.

So who’s in with me? It’ll be the Next Big Thing! And once we’re rich like kings we can hire someone else to manage the chain of resorts (I’m thinking big) so we can grab a book and snuggle in for our favorite pastime: reading!

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