When you’re a compulsive reader, there are few places you won’t bring a book. Grocery shopping, parties, roller coasters … okay, maybe that last one was just me.
Lovely as curling up by the fire or soaking in a bubble bath with a book is, the world is full of places that double as emergency reading stations.
Although if you’re in a line, please pay attention to how fast it’s moving. I make these mistakes so you don’t have to.
Here are the top five strangest places I’ve read:
1. Behind the Christmas Tree
I don’t know exactly when I worked out that the corner behind the Christmas tree in my childhood home was perfect for hiding away with a book and avoiding being roped into tidying, cooking or spending quality time with my loved ones. Some of my favorite festive memories have me tucked away there, undetected and free to immerse myself in whatever book I’d just unwrapped. Clearly my parents started buying larger Christmas trees because, for some reason, I just can’t hide as convincingly anymore.
2. In a Bar, with a Cocktail
Now, I consider this perfectly normal behavior. Who doesn’t freshen up their lipstick and hightail it to the nearest licensed establishment for a post-work date with Mr. Darcy? I’ve had pitying looks, curious comments and one ill-fated attempt to steal my book in what was a very misguided attempt at a pick-up. Still, there’s nothing more decadent than propping up the bar, martini in one hand and Breakfast at Tiffany’s in the other. It’s what Holly Golightly would do.
One of the staples of my convent school – from the ages of 11 to 18 – was weekly Mass in the school chapel. In the closest I ever got to real teenage rebellion, I used to sneak a novel into my prayer book and sit with my head bowed devoutly, turning the pages when no one was looking. I got through the entire Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy that way and never got caught. While Douglas Adams, confirmed atheist, would have approved, I’m not sure that the nuns would have. I was voted ‘Most Likely to Become First Female Pope’ in our school yearbook – not that I noticed, since I had a book hidden away in that as well.
4. In a Lock-in at a Bookshop
For National Novel Writing Month a few years ago the kindly proprietors of my local bookshop, the Big Green Bookshop in London, gave us the keys and let us write in there all night. By 3:00 a.m., having written 15,000 words, I collapsed on the pile of coats with a copy of Blackhearts in Battersea and fulfilled my childhood dream of getting shut into a bookshop after closing time.
5. At My Wedding
There are three things I’ll always remember from my wedding earlier this year – the look on my wife’s face when she said “I do,” the bitterly cold New York weather, and the few pages of Brooklyn Follies I managed to sneak in while waiting for the City Hall registrar to finish marrying the couple before us. Luckily I have an understanding wife who loves reading as much as I do – and besides, as I pointed out to her, she didn’t really want to marry someone who hadn’t read Paul Auster anyway.
[Photo Credit: Golden Pixels LLC/Shutterstock.com]
Where’s the strangest place you’ve taken a book? Have you ever snuck a book in when you were meant to be doing something else? Share in a comment!