30th September, 2022
Bookish Stuff: Reading Retreat - Do it at Home Version
As I'm writing this, I'm on my way to Hawarden in Wales to join my friends for our annual reading retreat at the fabulous Gladstone's Library. And because I obviously can't take all of you with me, I thought I'd share some tips so that you can set up your own one-day bookish retreat at home instead.
We're living in difficult and scary times and often feel like we need to escape for while. A home reading retreat comes with the additional perks of being cheap, comfortable and there being no time wasted on travel or checking in.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A READING RETREAT?
Quite simply put, it’s time set away from all chores and duties to read without distraction, an opportunity to hide from the real world for a few hours.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO ORGANIZE A DAY TO ESCAPE WITH BOOKS?
You can of course do this all year round, but I personally prefer an autumn retreat. The autumn months just add this extra level of cosyness for me.
IS IT BETTER TO DO A READING RETREAT ALONE OR WITH OTHER PEOPLE?
If you only have half a day then I’d suggest doing it on your own. However, if you have a whole day or a weekend then sharing your bookish retreat with another bibliophile could really enrich the day. You could even read the same book and discuss it afterwards.
DO I NEED TO BUDGET FOR A READING RETREAT?
Creating a bookish sanctuary at home can be as low-cost or as expensive as you want it to be. The three essentials you need are:
- A book
- A place where you won’t be distracted
You can add to this as you see fit and I’ve added some suggestions in the 5 steps below:
STEP ONE: RESERVE TIME TO READ
This seems obvious, but how many of us actually gift ourselves time to enjoy reading without interruption? There’s usually always something else to do, especially when you have a family. Weekends can be the best time, but taking a day off work for your bookish retreat can be extra-special. If you live with other people then the second option is also often a safer bet for peace and quiet because they'll be at work or school and you'll have the house to yourself.
Once you’ve made a decision, put your date in the diary and stick to it. Let friends and family know you’ll be busy on that day.
STEP TWO: CHOOSE TITLES FOR YOUR RETREAT
To reduce the chances of a book slump on the actual day, we recommend lining up a few reading options. These could be books from your TBR, a new publication, shorter books to give you a sense of achievement, etc. Go and have a browse at the bookshop or your local library.
Don’t worry about finishing your books either. The main thing here is that you have time to read and relax.
STEP THREE: PREPARE YOUR READING NOOK
You don’t have to rearrange your house for your bookish retreat, but setting up a small book nook will add to the experience. Add cushions and blankets to make the space more comfortable and re-arrange lighting to suit.
STEP FOUR: STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES
The sole aim of your reading retreat is to block out time for bookish pursuits so make sure you have everything on hand a few days beforehand. Here’s what to consider:
- Snacks, food and drink (as easy to make as possible). Takeaways is certainly also an option.
- A notepad and pen to record ideas
- Sticky tabs to annotate pages
- A scented candle for mood
- Playlists if you like to listen to music while you read
STEP FIVE: BLOCK OUT DISTRACTIONS IN YOUR BOOK SANCTUARY
Blocking out all distractions during your reading retreat is vitally important if you’re going to get the most out of your time to read. So switch off that phone of yours!
Other distractions to avoid include:
- Laptops, PCs, tablets – anything with an internet connection (if you’re reading an e-book then disconnect the Wi-Fi)
- People who dont share your need for time to read!
And now - enjoy! Happy reading!
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All texts and photographs are mine, unless indicated otherwise.