The Joys of Reading Outside

Josie Leavitt - April 5, 2010

Today’s post is, quite simply, an ode to the loveliness of being able to read out of doors. It is not normally 80 degrees in April in Vermont during Easter weekend. This glorious gift of sun caused celebrations of many book lovers, young and old.
I had Saturday off, and amid the rapid-fire errand running, I stopped and noticed that City Hall Park was full of people, doing nothing but reading. Sitting on the steps to Town Hall, stretched out on the grass, young families on blankets, everyone was either reading or being read to. Young children sat next to their parents as they were read to. Bright eyes glinting in the sun eagerly listening to stories of pirates and in several cases, the Easter bunny.
Vermonters are a hardy bunch, of that there can be no dispute. But we’re also not foolish about the sun. Gifts of warm early spring weekends do not get lost on us. We go out and when we’re tired of cleaning the yard, we read under a tree, on a deck, at a bus stop, anywhere we can feel the sun we can be found with a book in our hands. There is a bus stop right at the front of the store, and I noticed that one person was reading when I left to do errands, and she was still there, an hour and a half later, when I returned. I know our bus system is slow, but it’s not that slow, I can only surmise she opted for staying right where she was, comfy on a wide perch, fully engrossed in her book.
I take a class at the University of Vermont and I saw the students enjoy the sun.  For every Frisbee-playing young man, and occasional woman, there were ten times as many students just sitting around reading. Yes, most of them were probably reading for classes, but I suspect that every book read on the lawn while feeling the warmth of the sun is more pleasurable than in the library.
There is a freedom that comes with being able to read outside after a long winter. It is quite simply the hope that warmer weather has finally arrived and I am filled with a simple joy: a book, a chair and a glass of water, my dogs cavorting in the yard, and  I’m almost as happy as I can get.

7 thoughts on “The Joys of Reading Outside

  1. Jenni Burke

    Reading outside is one of my highest pleasures, too, as it combines two of my favorite experiences. While the Easter weekend weather in Oregon was not nearly so pleasant as in Vermont, I look forward to catching those warm moments in the sun with my books and manuscripts in the coming months. Thank you for this lovely post.
    Jenni Burke
    Literary Agent

  2. Joni Sussman, Kar-Ben Publishing

    We had an unusually warm and lovely weekend in Minnesota, too. And while the trees and buds were confused about the early warm weather, readers were not, as here, too, kids and adults sat outside reading, many next to one of our 10,000 lakes, where we’ve had the earliest “ice out” in years.

  3. Fran Manushkin

    Easter Sunday in NYC brought many readers out to the park. I brought my lawn chair to Turtle Pond and read a Donna Leon mystery about Venice. I looked up from the book at one point and was charmed to see water in front of me. I thought I might still be reading.

  4. Nina Wright

    In Dallas we regard reading outside as a gift at this time of year because in a month it will be stifling. And that’s when I will pine for those long Michigan summer evenings I know so well. . . . For now, though, I love reading outdoors in Dallas, listening to the mockingbirds sing. Happy Spring, y’all.
    Nina Wright
    author of the Whiskey Mattimoe mysteries

  5. Julie Dietzel-Glair

    I’ve often thought that libraries and bookstores should try to bring some of their books outside on beautiful sunny days. People walking by will surely realize that reading outside is delightful and checkout or purchase books. I’m in Maryland and was also able to delight in this gorgeous weather with a book on my roof top deck.


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