Back in college, one of my professors shared that she enjoyed spending time walking and reading. In my head, I took it like, “Oh, she enjoys walking, and she enjoys reading,” until I saw her outside after classes one day, hoofing it down the street at a pace that must have been doing wonders for her heart rate, holding a book, reading away. I was amazed to realize she’d meant she enjoyed reading while she was walking.
I’d never seen anyone read that way before, and kudos to her for having that level of skill and concentration. I couldn’t imagine myself doing that without tripping over uneven pavement or running into a tree. When I hear other readers talk about how they like to read best, most of them have “curl up” answers, whether they like curling up on the couch, in bed, or in a particular chair with a good book.
I myself have a lifelong preference for the classic curl up. However, being a writer and editor, I already spend a lot of my time sitting down. Knowing that a sedentary lifestyle isn’t the best type for one’s health, I’ve adopted the practice of standing up while reading sometimes. I don’t yet have the skill level to take off at a full speed clip while I’m reading, but I do pace or stay in some kind of moderate motion while I’m on my feet with a book.
At first I thought I’d find it uncomfortable to spend my pleasure reading time that way, but I’ve found that once I’m engrossed in a book, I’m not even thinking about the fact that I’m moving around.
I’m currently reading Les Misérables in stages in between all of the other reading I do. (An unabridged version, naturally, though I realize that if I stay at my current pace, it’ll take me half of forever to finish it. But, since I’ve seen the 2012 film from Universal Pictures–LOVE IT!–I’m not constantly left in suspense about what’s going to happen, at least, and I know the book will go on my list of all-time favorites after I finish.) I’ve found Les Mis not only to be a great one for standing up with but also for another reading practice of mine: reading aloud. It’s a nice discipline, improves my enunciation, gets more of my senses and personal love for drama involved with the reading experience. I’d bet it’s also been a benefit to my public speaking skills.
How about you? What are some of your reading preferences and practices?