I feel incredibly lucky when it comes to where I live. My county is one of the ones that inspired Tolkien when creating the Shire, and it’s beautiful and green. To top that off, I especially love the area where I live. Most people in my town aren’t even aware that we have a lake – but we do, and I live right next to it. It’s only really visible to the houses surrounding it, and it’s so peaceful and serene. So mostly, I love to do my reading outside, and the weather is perfect right now. Here are my favourite reading spots!
Lounging on the balcony
We have a little balcony overlooking the lake, and it gets the sun in the mornings. I can sit here for hours and read!
Sat on the patio
I also like studying out here (I am teaching myself Dutch), as I have more room to spread my books and notes out. I can often get at least some shade here – I melt in direct sunlight…
Lying on the grass
When the weather is really nice – like now, the UK is going through a heatwave! – I love to get a picnic blanket, grab some books, drinks, sometimes a few snacks and settle down on the grass for hours and hours.
Lazing in bed
For when the weather is being it’s usual British, rainy self, there’s always my super cosy bed!
I’m definitely a homebody, as you can tell. I like reading on the bus – I can generally stay super focused for the duration of the journey. I’m not really the type to go out for a coffee and then sit and read in the cafe. I like to be able to get really comfy, spread out and laze around, and I just don’t feel comfy enough in public for that!
Where are your favourite reading spots?
These are the covers that I could just stare at for hours, the kind that instantly draw me to a book – sometimes it is the reason I read the book in the first place. I definitely do judge a book by its cover…
One of the things I am always looking out for in bookshops (even if I don’t intend to buy them) is pretty versions of Homer’s The Iliad or The Odyssey. The new Penguin Classics hardbacks are beautiful, and I absolutely love the colour of this one:
Here are just some of the beautiful clothbound editions you can buy:
The cover of The Snow Child, by Eoywn Ivey, is also gorgeous. It mirrors the storybook within the book itself, and the print effect looks fantastic.
What covers do you really love? Do you judge a book by its cover?
I have had a bit of a rubbish time lately, and it made me think about my favourite books to read when I’m feeling down. These are what I call my ‘comfort’ books – books that I can escape into, no matter how I’m feeling. They tend to be books I’ve read countless times, so they’re very familiar. I’d love to know if any of you do this too (I’m sure you do!)
Bridget Jones’ Diary & Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
I’m really not one for chick lit. But I absolutely love the Bridget Jones books – they are funny and honestly just make me really happy (even when Bridget is down…). The same with the films, even with Hugh Grant playing the same character as he always does. I also like these books because Bridget is a very real character. She is a woman in her early thirties, unmarried, worrying about her body, appearance and lack of a husband, but she still enjoys life. She has real problems: trying to quit smoking, losing weight, unsuccessful flirting/dates. Yet everything that goes wrong for Bridget only works to make the books funnier – even when she gets thrown into prison in Thailand for (unknowingly) trying to smuggle drugs out of the country.
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
A very unsurprising entry, I’m sure. Harry Potter is a series that I have grown up with – and quite literally with the films. When the first film came out, I was eleven, so the same age as Harry, Ron and Hermione. Despite being about magic, it’s such an accessible series because it’s set in our world, and you could easily imagine that there really is this secretive, magical side of our world (I know they are, it’s just a trick for the Muggles, okay?). And I’ve read them so many times I can jump into the series at any book, any chapter and know what has already happened.
Azumanga Daioh by Kiyohoko Azuma
I don’t read anywhere near as much manga as I used to, the same for anime. I guess I’ve just passed that stage now – although I really want to catch up on Fairy Tail, I got to episode 131 and now it must be around 160. However, I do still have a couple of boxsets and book series, Azumanga Daioh being one of them. A short series about an incredibly intelligent eleven year old who skips several grades, and her high school friends, it is portrayed through four-panel comics. It is sweet and funny, and I can read/watch it again and again. If you’re not a particular anime/manga fan, but perhaps were interested in watching or reading some, this would be the series I’d recommend – it doesn’t start you off in the deep end.
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
This might be an odd choice for a ‘comfort’ book, since it’s a rather hefty volume (or three). But I’ve read The Lord of the Rings so many times – each book at least once a year since I was ten, and I am twenty-two next week – that I can pick it up anywhere and know what’s going on. There’s just something about escaping to Middle-earth that makes me feel better. And what problems of mine could be worse that what Frodo is facing? 😉 I am guessing that I have read The Fellowship of the Ring the most, judging by its condition… it is falling apart. I played Lord of the Rings Online for a year or so (although I haven’t played since about May or June), and the most exciting part of the game for me was exploring this world that I’d read so much about. I don’t want to uninstall the game, even though I never play, just so I know that I can go and explore Middle-earth if I feel like it. Naturally, my main character is a hobbit…