Monday, May 24, 2010


Hi! Ruth Ann here.

I’m sure you’ve never dropped a book in the bathtub.

You have? You mean I’m not the only one who reads in the bathtub? For an hour or more?

Dropping your book into the water is one of the hazards of reading while you soak and relax in the bubbles. The last time I dunked a book, I sun-dried it and then spent hours ironing it page by page. It’s still legible, but has a decidedly puffy look, so I was overjoyed when I found a tip on reviving a book which has almost drowned. The writer of the tip advocated sealing the sodden book in a plastic bag and then freezing it.

Hmmmm, how could this work? I didn’t know but decided it was worth giving it a try. I took an old book that was earmarked for paper recycling and dipped it in warm water. I shook off the excess water and then used a nifty kitchen gadget to vacuum seal it in plastic. I left the enrobed book in my deep freeze for a couple of days to ensure it was thoroughly frozen.

When the time for testing came, I cut the plastic bag and slid the book out. I tried to open it, but it disintegrated into several frozen sections. I left them to thaw, and later in the day I no longer had frozen pages. I had soggy pages.

I still wonder what I did wrong. If you know, or can suggest an alternative solution, please leave a comment below.

All this set me wondering about places where books are read. As a child growing up in Africa, I climbed the trees in my yard and pulled up my books on a specially devised pulley system. The mulberry tree was especially handy as I could snack on fruit in season. When we visited my grandparents in England I loved sitting upstairs with a book in the window seat of their two hundred year old house.

A friend relates with a smile how, as a child, she read on a platform under the water tank on the roof of her house. Another friend’s teenage son read in the shower- he braced his back against one side on the shower, his legs on the other and stuck his head, one arm and book out of the shower.

A new friend in South Africa describes Kaapsehoop, one of her favorite reading spots. "There's a natural rock formation and the Kaapsehoop wild horses. I drive up the mountain and sit in the rocks and if you go early enough the wild horses come out of the forest through the mist. They almost look like ghosts. It is an amazing sight . . .  This place is a little part of Heaven on Earth.

When you leave, a part of your heart and soul is left behind to roam across the canvas of His master piece, wrapped up in the rich soil, peace and tranquility. There’s no doubt; you’re woven into His tapestry of beauty."  

Don't you long to join her there? I do.

I’ve compiled a list of favorite spots from readers all over the world.

·        at a red stoplight
·        next to a roaring log fire in winter
·        on an exercise cycle or treadmill at the gym
·        in the kitchen while cooking a meal (please note, librarians are not happy when you return burnt books!)
·        at the computer while waiting for internet pages to download
·        in front of a mirror while blow drying hair
·        in  the wind free zone behind the driver of a motor bike while on a ride
·        in a tent using a flashlight
·        in the bathroom while brushing your teeth
·        by a river or lake with a fishing pole in one hand, book in the other
·        in a closet with the door closed using a flashlight
·        in a funeral home
·        in a car stuck in a traffic jam
·        next to a campfire
·        in the emergency room awaiting treatment
·        on the beach
·        on a blanket or bench at the botanical gardens
·        in a studio while getting a tattoo
·        on the roof of a shed
·        at the top of the  Eiffel tower
·        outside in a hammock
·        on the stairs in a sunbeam
·        backstage at the theatre during rehearsal
·        propped against an old oak tree
·        at the bottom of a ski slope with skiers gliding round you
·        on a hiking trail on a patch of grass or a boulder with a view
·        in bed with a storm raging outside
·        next to a window when it’s raining or snowing outside
·         in the grocery checkout line, the queue at the bank, the doctor’s surgery- anywhere that requires waiting
·        in a car, train, tram, plane, boat- any form of transport

Please leave a comment in the section below and tell me about your favorite or most unusual reading haunt.

Enjoy reading in your favorite spot today!

Ruth Ann Dell writes children's stories and international Christian fiction from her home in a sunny South African suburb. She is a member of several writing groups including the American Christian Fiction Writers and Writer's Ink. Her desire is to craft gripping stories which draw her readers into a closer relationship with God.
Ruth Ann and her husband have lived in several countries and are renovating a cottage in the heart of Ireland.


  1. Super post Ruth. During my childhood in Rhodesia (before it became Zimbabwe), I too used to perch up in a mulberry tree with my ever ready snacks growing around me in season.

    Out of season, I used to cross the road and climb a kopje (steep rocky hill) and clamber onto a high rock. There I would sit for hours, my back against a convenient tree, surveying the countryside for miles. I would also enjoy watching the antics of the many monkeys playing overhead and in neighboring trees. No wonder I became an avid reader!

  2. Ruth, great post! I also read in the car whilst my kids are playing sport. And on the weekend we unfortunately lost a number of books due to one of my kids having gastro/stomach flu. I'd prefer to lose books in the bathtub :-)

  3. My best place is snuggled up in bed (just before I go to sleep). Of course, this is more of a challenge at the moment because the book I'm currently reading is an e-book, so snuggling doesn't work as well with a PC as opposed to a paperback. Believe it or not, the other day I slipped beneath the bathtup bubbles with my laptop propped on a chair beside the bath. I wouldn't try that in the shower though :)

  4. anytime, anywhere is good for a read, but the shower :)

  5. As a child there was a cemetery a half mile down the road. Leaning against a tombstone was a nice quiet spot for a read.

    Ruth Ann, for freeze-drying your book, try leaving off the plastic. Plastic seals in the moisture. You want that with food, but if the point is to dry your book, you don't. I would leave it months, not days.

  6. I have to say I cant work the bathtub reading out as I would get the book soaked. I have a nice spot in the garden in summer.,
    In Summer I love going and watching live cricket. I take my book and read before, during breaks like drinks, lunch and tea, If the cricket is really boring I may read while its playing.
    I tend to read and listen to the cricket on the tv also.

  7. Hi Shirl, Narelle, Marion, LeAnne and Ausjenny,

    Thank you for leaving comments on my blog. I enjoyed hearing about your reading haunts.

    LeAnne thank you for your tip re freeze drying books- I'll try again.

    Hugs and God bless

    Ruth Ann

  8. I read on the toilet, while brushing my teeth and in the bath; in waiting rooms, on buses, trains, metros and in bed.

    I have dropped a lot of books in the bath. Just as I began to read it, I dropped one of Julia Cameron's books in the bath: The Sound Of Paper! (In this case, it went "Splosh" and I dried it on the radiator, so the book doubled in size, the pages became corrugated and it fell apart).