THINKING ABOUT WHERE TO READ by Gill-Marie Stewart

Yes you read that title right. I’m not talking today about WHAT to read but WHERE to read. Think of reading as an active thing to do. The experience of reading (where you are, your mood, etc) can change how you perceive what you read, how you think of it, even which book you choose to read.

Ardnackaig harbour

Rubha Caol – a good place to read?

And it’s such fun looking for good places to read, seeking them out and enjoying them. There are the obvious places and times – over coffee, in bed before you put the light out. But what about sitting on that rock over-looking the shore? In a library surrounded by other thoughtful people reading?

I’m not talking about the times you end up reading just to pass the time, although obviously you can do useful reading here too. On a bus or train, waiting to pick someone up. But these are rarely actively chosen for their reading potential, they are just blank bits of time that can be usefully filled.

The best reading moments are when you are somewhere special, maybe you haven’t planned to read but you of course always have a book with you. And then you realise that this place is where you should sit and enjoy.

Some memories to share – sitting back to back with good friend Zelda, on the shore at Seapoint, Cape Town, South Africa, reading D H Lawrence (I was a student, I was allowed to like D H Lawrence!). Balanced precariously on a rock over-looking a loch, somewhere off the Fort William–Mallaig road, reading Nigel Tranter. Tranter’s books are set in historical, rural, Scotland, so this was definitely a win-win. Curled up on the windowsill of an old vicarage where I was working as an au pair, reading Jane Austen and Rupert Brooke (what else could you possibly read in an old English vicarage?).

You can set a reading date up intentionally, or it can just be happy serendipity. But one thing to remember is, when you are somewhere new and exciting and interesting, don’t just enjoy being there, enjoy reading there too.

Here are a few suggestions of good places to read – the bath (but oh don’t drop your book/kindle in), on the steps of a beautiful building e.g. Kelvingrove Art Gallery, so you have that amazing structure rising up behind you, whilst sitting on the terrace of a café with life going on all around you, in a bookshop (yes Waterstones et al have cottoned on to this idea with their coffee shops in situ). And you don’t have to spend money to read, you can read anywhere (as long as there’s light!).

With thanks to Alexis Mes, whose refrain ‘oh this is a good place to read’ was one of the many great things about our recent trip to South Africa.


Gill-Marie writes YA mystery/romances as Gill-Marie Stewart. As Gilly Stewart she also writes women’s contemporary fiction. The first book in her YA series about George and Finn is Music and Lies (try out the first chapter here).

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One Response to THINKING ABOUT WHERE TO READ by Gill-Marie Stewart

  1. I remember reading Graham Greene’s Loser Takes All on a park bench in Montecarlo where it was set: a very clear memory. Since then, I’ve gone to some length to unearth books set in the places where I’ve travelled – and unearthed some real gems in the process. Thanks Gill!

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