Saturday on the Couch – Curling up with a good book 0



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There are few things nicer than curling up with a good book. For me, it’s been almost a habit of a lifetime.

I actually don’t remember being read to as a child, but as I could read before I went to school, I must have been read to.

When I was about nine we lived in an old house in a town on the Clarence River. We had beautiful views of the river and the house had an attic. Not much was kept in the attic except the cemetery records for the Methodist section of the local cemetery, so I would take myself off with a pillow and a book, probably an Enid Blyton,  to while away a few hours.

When we moved to the inner city of Sydney, one of my new friends was the daughter of the local milkman. They lived in a charming wooden cottage with a vacant block of land next door. It had a high fence to the street and down the back of the block were the old stables. Tall pine trees provided shade near the fence, and, having been given a glass of milk and an apple, we would take our Angela Brazil’s or Ethel Turners out and read and gossip. My friend’s mother had a collection of these old books and my mother would buy old books for me at church fetes.

High school, university and teaching saw much compulsory reading, much of which I enjoyed but it was wonderful to escape in the long holidays with books of my own choosing.

These days, like an old dog or cat, I chase the warmth or coolness to read. In winter, our front verandah is bathed in morning sunshine. With reading glasses with transition lenses, I am comfortably set up with a wooden straight-backed chair. These days I find my preference is for modern Australian literature, though my favourite read of the last year has been All the Light We Cannot See.

For warmth or coolness, I often retreat to another straight-backed chair indoors with cushions. In summer, the doors are open and the sea breeze comes. In winter the heater gives warmth.

As a reviewer for Starts at Sixty, I am never without something to read. A few of these books I would not normally have read, and reading others’ reviews has left me with a long list of “Must Read’ books.

Reading in bed is only done on my kindle these days as I now find books too heavy to hold lying down. This is a great trap. With no lamp disturbing my husband, I read on and on, particularly if it’s a light novel or I have to find out whodunit. With a yawn, I’ll glance at the time on the kindle, only to realise it’s the next day.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr is available from Dymocks.

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