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Favorite bookish location: A used bookstore with piles in aisles and quirky art work on the walls.

Favorite reading spot: Upright at the kitchen table. I have comfortable chairs but almost always end up at kitchen table.

Drink while reading: White wine or chai latte. (Maybe partially why I want the table.)

Companion: Someone who wants to hear my little bits from the book I'm reading, but doesn't interrupt me with theirs (unfair, you say?)

Scenario: Bookshelves filled nearby.

Too intimidated by authors to chat with them. (Silly, I know. I would rather chat with other readers.)

the velvet nap

I'm afraid I like your reading spot better than mine! (which is in bed after everyone is asleep and all is quiet -so no drinks, talking, or view outside the circle of booklight)...


Favourite bookish location: A bookshop with TONS of books where I can spend hours browsing.

Preferred reading spot: At the beach, if only it were summer everyday. Otherwise, in bed, under the covers, or on the couch, half lying down.

Background music: Preferably the sounds of nature, especially the sound of the waves. A little music is okay, sometimes, specifically books delving on the subject of music. I like to match the music to whatever type of music the book's about.

Smell: Any smell is okay, so long as it's pleasant. Food smells sometimes distracts me. :)

Eat and drink: Tea or coffee. Or lemon water. And chips! Unfortunately, we rarely ever buy chips so sometimes I nibble on cheese.

View: I love looking out the window in between reads. Especially when it's raining or cloudy and grey.

Companion: I prefer being alone when I read. I don't mind reading with my family around, but I'd rather interact with them when they're there. My reading time is usually when the children are in school and husband at work and I'm alone at home, and then late at night when they're all sleeping because I sleep very late.

Odds and ends: Blanket and pillows are a must. I also need tiny post-its to mark passages that strike me.

Books around: Two or three within reach is fine by me. Sometimes I switch to erase tedium.

Author: Intimidating! But maybe Nicole Krauss because The History of Love is so much a book after my own heart. Or Emily Brontë because Wuthering Heights, too.


Dark Puss

Favourite location: a library.

Reading spot: a chair.

Background: Silence!!!!

Smells: As long as pleasant and not too strong then I am not concerned.

Eating/Drinking: I don't really want to do either usually.

View: no "view"; too distracting.

Companions: I'd want to talk with them rather than read.

Odds and ends: none.

Ideal scenario: one book for one brain.

Author: Colette, but I'd need to work on my French first!


favourite bookish location - Scottish Poetry Library

preferred reading location - my old comfy armchair in my living room - though when the weather's good i do like to read outdoors, it's just that the Edinburgh weather just hasn't been reliable enough for that over the past year

In the background - silence or birdsong

drinking green tea

I don't need a view in my living room though I love summer when I can see the swifts flying about outside the window.

companion - I like to read out snippets to my partner, which probably annoys him....

Books around - I'm generally reading several books at the same time (poetry, non-fiction, novel, short stories. I like to have at least this choice by my side in the living room, though if I'm reading outdoors one book is enough


Being a creature of habit, my husband leaves the house every weekday morning at 6.50 a.m. After waving goodbye, I take a scalding hot mug of tea back to bed. There are, of course, books in our bedroom and on the bed-side tables. At this time of year, as I glance up from my book, I see the sky lightening and the wonderful autumn colours emerging on the trees in the garden. About an hour later I realise the day has other claims and get up but it's a very precious hour which I love.


Bookish location - a rambling second hand bookshop.

Reading spot - either curled up in the corner of a sofa with high back and arms (I covet a Knole sofa)or at a table outside in the summer.

Background sounds would have to be silence or natural sounds (birdsong, the wind in the trees).

Smells - either spicy cinnamon-y smells indoors or flowers and plants outdoors.

I like a big mug of coffee and some toast and marmalade in the morning, a big mug of tea and a slice of carrot cake in the afternoon and a glass of chilled white wine in the evening with perhaps some olives to nibble.

A view over a Tuscan valley or a white sand Atlantic beach would be nice!

No human companions but at least one of the cats will appear as soon as I sit down if I'm at home and sometimes all three - one on the back of the sofa, one on the arm and one on my knee.

I like a blanket if it is chilly but otherwise just a nice bookmark.

As I tend to be reading more than one book at a time, I will usually have a couple with me - one fiction and one either non-fiction or short stories.

Authors - either the late Roger Deakin or Mary Stewart - although I think I would be terribly in awe of both of them.

Alison P

Bookish location : Hay on Wye
Favourite spot : the leather arm chair in my study
Sound : rain and/or an open fire
Eat/drink : tea and cake (day), a glass of wine (evening)
View : the wall of books my leather arm chair faces in the study
Companion : my dogs curled at my feet, content after a long walk
Ideal scenario : Shelves and shelves of unread books to choose from (which I'm happy to say I have!)
Author : William Trevor (living), Jane Austen (dead).


Favorite imaginary bookish location: a room in my house with every book I want to read in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves made of a warm dark wood, a lovely fireplace with a beautiful carved mantel, floor covered with a worn Aubusson carpet and a very comfy wing chair with a padded footstool, a small table and good lighting over the chair.
Preferred reading spot currently? In bed.
Sounds of? Silence.
Smells? Fresh, clean air.
Eat or drink? Endless pots of tea and a scone.
View? Roaring fire in winter; or nature out the window (no houses/people visible)
Companion or not? Alone. (DH feels the pressing need to read to me whatever he is reading-a hugely annoying habit)
Extra odds and ends? cashmere throw (fantasy, right?)
ideal scenario? reading in my (fantasy) library…books are everywhere.
Author to chat up? Having trouble narrowing that one down.

Thanks, a lovely fantasy!

Ruth M.

What's clear to me is that I would like to visit all the responders here. Our ideal book lives are appealingly similar. I once rented an old house with its own library, an upstairs corner room with windows on two sides and all other walls filled with build-tin bookshelves. It was heaven. I need to be comfortable when I read, so that means feet up, no sitting at tables. Usually bed or couch, sometimes outside in a hanging hammock. Almost always with a light coverlet tucked around my toes. No voices, preferably no one in sight, though I don't mind small companionable noises from another room. Silence or nature rather than music. Stacks of books in reach so I don't have to move. I'm always reading half a dozen at once. I enjoy the first sips of perfect coffee (lots of cream)but usually forget and let it get cold. Whenever I despair of humanity, I remember books and think there's hope yet.

Ruth M.

Oh, and I'd love to have a cat or two to curl up with, but my Bill is allergic, so that has to remain a fantasy.


Much as I love bookshops and libraries, having worked as a librarian for forty years, my preferred reading spot at home (or elsewhere) is a chair near a window, preferably with a pleasant view or in summer under the pear tree in my garden. Sounds and scents are fairly immaterial but should be unobtrusive A drink to hand is usually coffee, tea or soft drink. I do most of my concentrated reading on my own, but will read for short spells when others are around. I usually have one or more books around that I am actually reading, plus a few more waiting to be read. Even if I take a Kindle when travelling, I still carry a physical book, just in case. My favourite bookmarks are from Persephone Books, but anything in a similar line will do. There are too many favourite authors with whom I’d like to chat to list here.


Bed, in a warm bedroom, in a circle of lamplight, late,(too late for phone calls or visitors), listening to owls in the forest, or rain on the window - heaven!

Have to think some more about the rest - lovely questions!

The Willoughby Book Club

Curled up in the armchair in front of the wood burning stove - glass of wine in one hand, book in the other. Normally after a lovely meal on a friday/saturday night...


I have two favourite locations- in bed, under the covers or on the couch in my living room with my feet up, usually on the coffee table. My cup of tea or coffee usually gets cold before I get around to drinking it.

In my living room I have my bookcases and the fireplace is lit and it's cosy. Maybe the cat will curl up next to me. It is usually quiet. I love the smell of anything baking -cookies or bread. My bedside table is overflowing with my tbr pile as I seem to always have two or three books on the go at the same time.

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