Thursday, September 06, 2007

Booking Through Thursday: Goldilocks

Okay, so the other day, a friend was commenting on my monthly reading list and asked when I found the time to read. In the ensuing discussion, she described herself as a “goldilocks” when it comes to reading–she needs to have everything juuuuuust right to be able to focus. This caught my attention because, first, I thought that was a charming way of describing the condition, but, two, while we’ve talked about our reading habits, this is an interesting wrinkle. I’d never really thought about it that way.

So, this is my question to you–are you a Goldilocks kind of reader?

Do you need the light just right, the background noise just so loud but not too loud, the chair just right, the distractions at a minimum?

Or can you open a book at any time and dip right in, whether it’s for twenty seconds, while waiting for the kettle to boil, or indefinitely, like while waiting interminably at the hospital–as long as the book is open in front of your nose, you’re happy to read?

I can usually read almost anywhere. On a hard chair, a soft sofa, lying in bed, standing up in the train, on a plane. Unfortunately I can't read in cars or buses though. Something about the motion and that car-smell makes me nauseous. The amount of light doesn't matter. I've been known to read in very dim light so as not to bother H. Noise though is my main distraction downfall. I have a hard time reading if there's any kind of loud noise, music playing or if the TV is on. It's ok if it's background noise like when commuting on the train but ideally silence is better. Of course reading with a tall glass of something cold in summer and a big mug of tea in the winter, curled up somewhere comfy, is best!


  1. I'm almost exactly like you when it comes to my reading habits, down to reading in the very dim light when my husband is sleeping next to me, and reading while food is cooking etc. I do get carsick, for the most part, when trying to read in vehicles, though if I'm in the front seat and it's a long stretch of interstate, I'm okay. Noise, for the most part, is distracting to me too. I rarely watch TV, but when I do, I mute the commercials and read during them.

  2. I can't read in the car, either. Thank goodness for books on tape.

    It weird though, I can read with the tv on if there are just people talking, but if I hear explosions, or fighting, or violence of any kind, I can't concentrate.

  3. Loud noises bother me too when I'm reading. I don't mind most background noises as long as the volume isn't overwhelming.

  4. Perfect is great, but doesn't happen often.

  5. Teresa,
    How nice to see you here, and to find that you have your own blog now. :)
    Sometimes I can read if I'm in the front and the road is straight, but generally not unfortunately.

    We don't have a car and don't really need one here so it's not usually much of an issue.
    For the noise, maybe for you people talking is like background noise whereas the sudden loud noises are harder to ignore?

    Volume is the key for me too. Even a conversation can be distracting for me if it's really loud.

    I completely agree. But we can still aspire for perfect! :)

  6. I'm pretty much the same as you. I can read on buses mostly, but not cars at all as it makes me travel sick. Noise is ok if it is music, but it's harder if it's the tv. I know what you mean though, the best place is on the sofa with a giant mug of hot chocolate.

  7. Rhinoa,
    Even music can distract me unless it's quite soft.
    mmm.. hot chocolate is nice too! :)

  8. I'm pretty much like you. Dim light doesn't bother me. I can read stretched out on the sofa, curled up in a chair, lying in bed, sitting on a plane, etc. Cars are out unless we're on a long stretch of Interstate. Noise is my biggest problem. No tv or radio while I'm reading. They're far too distracting! I prefer peace and quiet in my life anyway and generally don't have either on (although I do listen to music in the car and while I walk).

    Good question!

  9. Les,
    I generally prefer peace and quiet too. I never leave the TV on for noise, it's only on when I'm actually watching something. Even music I mainly listen on my ipod while commuting, not at home.

  10. I get sick reading on cars or buses too. I gave my long-ish answer to Dew on her site.

  11. i didn't think about the motion sickness-thing when i answered this question - but i cannot read in a moving car. i have been known to pull out the book at all rest stops, regardless of how long, however. :o)

    thanks for stopping by!

  12. Nat, I can read almost anywhere, noisy places, deathly quiet places, with the TV on and even in a moving car and bus. However I can't read in the tub or in a jacuzzi, I think it's because I am always on edge wondering if I will accidentally wet my book...perhaps if I carried a glass of wine in there I might not care so much, eh? :)

  13. Christine,
    There seems to be quite a few of us who can't read in a moving vehicle. Will check out your answer to Dewey.

    LOL. Thanks goodness for rest stops! :P

    I forgot to mention that but I don't read in the bath either. Like you, I'm too worried about getting the book wet. Besides I tend to shower a lot and that just wouldn't work! :)


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