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Emma Donoghue

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Where I Like To Read

Posted: 10/31/2012 2:00 pm

I like to read in motion. Not just the kind of journey you might expect - a long train ride, through green and yellow fields, with a grande latte and a table to lean on - but also the shabbier, jerkier kind, such as going three stops on the London Tube. I'll read standing up, clinging to a strap with one hand, or perched on one of those too-narrow-to-sleep-on ledges in a bus shelter in the rain. I specialize in seizing even the briefest opportunities for reading, while other passengers stare into space or check their messages. (When I was younger I tried reading while walking, until I walked smack into a telephone pole.)

Most days of the year I'm at home, you see, on my laptop, allowing myself only a brief snatch of reading over breakfast or lunch, so when I'm away from home, spending days travelling, I take it as an excuse to read greedily, for hours on end. On a plane or train I usually try to work first, but I get a bit embarrassed if I think the man in the next seat can see how over-egged my first drafts are, so after a while I click the laptop shut and slide back into reading. I bring a handful of paperbacks - not having converted to e-books yet - and if I'm not enjoying one I simply stuff it down the seat-back, because the next person might. (I used to finish just about every book I started, but since I've had kids I only give each fifty pages.) I have no trouble concentrating; in fact, the only danger is that I might well miss my stop - which I consider the ultimate tribute to a good book.

 
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