Where to Read at Carleton
by Rabia Singh
There are a few places in the world that are more readerly than others. It is a very subjective matter, the corner in which you sit down with the book (or e-book or laptop). The book chooses the spot for this particular reader just like the wand chooses the wizard (Mr. Potter). Since this winter will be the third that this reader will spend on Carleton campus, she has found some spots that suit her disposition.
The obvious one – The Library
More specifically, this particular window on the third floor which is fifth or sixth from the wall. It has a beautiful view in every season, a conveniently close plug in point for chargers and is located on a silent floor. This marks the spot for all the dense theory that is hard to grapple with yet essential to understand. When the sentences get too long I break them down in chunks and digest each one as I look at the tree, the road and the canal. Take some food along as well if the sentences don’t provide all the nourishment.
Wordsworth’s summer palace- The Canal
If you keep walking along the canal from the Stacie Building towards Loeb you will find paths that have been worn into the grass. If you follow these paths down to the canal you will find yourself here. I usually sit on a rock and bring a snack. I read poetry here. The Romantics, Elliot, Neruda, Walcott have all been here with me. Along with bugs, alas!
The Picnic Spot- Canal Part II
This is the more conventional part of the reading spots along the Canal. It is a little removed from the centre though so the crowd isn’t thick here. The wind is usually strong and makes the pages flutter. I bring my novels here, especially during the summer. The readings are long but so are the days, the sun shines on your back (and/or face). Along with fellow readers I have taken Marquez, Chaucer, and even an anthology or two.
This part is behind Dunton Tower and is the water body you see from the library window. Cyclists, joggers, dog walkers all pass you by as you sit on your bench. It’s especially pretty on a warm autumn day. I bring short reads here. Two to three page articles to be read for the class, short stories, or pieces I mean to read in short bites like Ash Wednesday, The Waste Land or even Shakespearean play- tragedies, not the comedies.
Getting Drunk On Books- Mike’s Place
Yes, the noisy, crowded, tiny Mike’s Place. I only take the books I mean to absolutely relish here. A drink, a book and the noise is no longer bothersome; it’s a nice background to the beautiful narrative. The genre doesn’t matter here as long as it is something that drowns out the crowd. Read till you don’t hear the noise, and then take the bus home.
Res sweet res-Lennox and Addington House
There are many advantages of living on residence, not the least of which is the views. Though I no longer enjoy the benefits of res-life, it is reading next to the corridor or the study-room windows that I miss the most. Cold sunny days were especially stunning in the glass exterior rooms that were toasty despite the plunging temperatures.
This is the park that nestles against the Dow’s lake and is a short walk from the campus. It is especially beautiful during the Tulip festival and if you can find a quiet spot near a tree after your walk, you may spend the entire day reading there as tourists walk by with their clicking cameras. I read the books that are a part of my research here. The essay doesn’t practically write itself(I wish!) but trudging through gnarly ideas that don’t make any sense yet becomes a lot more pleasant. Beware the tourist that wants a picture taken, look especially busy and troubled if you sense the possibility of a picture taking request. I go near the end of the festival, when the craze has worn off. The benches near the lake are also prime reading spots, I find them a tad too uncomfortable.
Most of these are summer spots, I know, but there are spots I don’t know of yet. It shall be my project this winter to find more readerly places around campus. There is a lot of reading ahead so more spots will be needed and more spots shall be found. I did not want to include writerly places; those are more dark and anxious spaces when deadlines are two weeks away.