Bed, Chair, Sofa, or Floor?

victorian-woman-reading-magnet-c11748947And no, I’m not talking about certain recreational activities.  I’m just wondering where you guys like to read.

See, I used to have this image of a “proper” reader: Someone who sits straight-backed in a chair, or lounges with dignity in an armchair, legs crossed, holding a book in two hands, serenely flipping the pages.

But I discovered early on that I’m not like that.  Me, I sprawl.  I fidget.  I cross my legs in a chair, then turn ninety degrees and hang my legs over the arms, then flop onto the floor and lean against my desk.  I do all sorts of random stuff.  And that’s only at my desk.  So I need space to move.

By and large, there are four reading options for me:


If I’m reading in bed, it’s at night.  And if it’s at night, that means a limited period of time.  Which kinda sucks if I’m in the middle of a really gripping passage, but hey – self control, right?  I also sometimes do work in bed, because I like having the space to spread out.  But when it comes to leisure reading, I find that no matter how I start off (leaning back, cross-legged, etc.), I always end up on my stomach with a pillow under my chin.


For a brief period of time, I actually owned an armchair with those extendable footrests, and lord above, that was wonderful.  This was my ideal reading situation, because I could lounge on my back or side, or I could prop my feet flat, or whatever.  The world was my oyster!  Sadly, the armchair disappeared, and now if I read in a stationary chair, the default position is cross-legged, provided the chair’s big enough.  Otherwise, I start my random fidgeting (see above).


I find them deadly uncomfortable.  Neither bed nor chair nor floor, and just a weird combination of angles that makes for discomfort.  Then again, maybe all that means is that I have an uncomfortable sofa.  So why do I still read there?  Because aside from my front doorstep, it’s the only place I can see the neighourhood.


Weirdly enough, this actually is an option for me.  Sometimes if I know I have to go somewhere, but take the time to read a chapter or two, then I’ll sit on the floor.  It’s comfy enough that I can get immersed in the book, but not soft enough that I’ll plant myself there for ages.  Exception: When I got engrossed in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, and didn’t move for hours.

Standing in front of an open window in my bloomers

I’m just kidding.  I don’t actually do that.  (And yes, I know she’s actually wearing a combination.)

I do some outdoor reading, but not a lot, because the bugs love me.  So no outdoor hammocks, although occasionally I plop myself on the front steps.  I hate reading or studying in libraries because the endless quiet sort of freaks me out.  I also do some reading on the subway, but not the bus – that just makes me vomit.

Overall, I’d say my reading venues consist mostly of the bed with a side helping of my armchair.  What about you?  Are there any places I’ve left out that you’d like to share?

- Jean AAR

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35 Responses to Bed, Chair, Sofa, or Floor?

  1. maggie b. says:

    All of the above except the floor and bloomer/Window combo. I also read in my car while waiting for children to exit school/swimming lessons/karate/whatever and at tables while eating meals. There’s nothing like a good book and good sandwich to pass a lunch hour.

    maggie b.

  2. Beebs says:

    Bed, sofa (mine is very comfy) or floor but I am a fidgeter.

  3. Leigh says:

    Bed is my favorite place to read. I read in bed at night and early in the morning or if I take a mental health day, and decide to stay in bed and read all day. I love rainy days for that reason and ditto on snow days too. I tell myself it is a waste of time to clean because with my dogs they will just track mud in.
    My sofa is not bad, but I don’t have a lot of room for my dogs so the bed is better. I have the same problem with the chair. Where I am the dogs want to be. I have to put up with getting squashed in the chair, and growling from my dogs as they crowd each other vying for position. I have bare floors, so I don’t read much there. Plus if I down there I see that I need to clean. I like to read outside, but the forty dollar lounge chair is not that comfortable. And if it is nice outside, I have a difficult justify reading if my lawn needs mowing or cleaning off the deck, etc.
    So hibernating in my room is my favorite. I can’t see the yard work or house work that needs doing, and my furry friends have plenty of room.

  4. wenmc says:

    I almost always read on the sofa. Comfy for me. If it is nice weather, I will read outside on my porch swing, so I can keep an eye on the kids. Never in bed or on the floor.

  5. lauren says:

    During the day I am usually found in my Ikea Poang chair in my knitting/library/office room with the itunes radio playing soundtracks…at night (which is where I do most of my reading) is in bed with a great juicy romance (historical of course) and my pillow! Reading in bed for me is the most relaxing and usually within an hr I am off to dreamland! :)

  6. Danie says:

    I read my kindle on my way to work. The walk takes me an hour and I read most of the way. Obviously, when it’s busy and I encounter a lot of other people, I’ll stop reading to navigate the traffic but the rest of the time, I’m walking and reading. This is much easier to do with a kindle than with an actual physical book.

    Other than that, I read wherever I am. In bed, on the couch, in a chair, waiting in a queue, standing at the window and wherever else I might find myself with a book.

  7. LeeB. says:

    Couch/sofa for me in the evening and bed if I can’t sleep at night and early in the morning on weekends.

  8. Susan says:

    The sofa is too close to the TV, so I read in my recliner in my office/craft room/library, and sometimes in bed right before lights-out.

  9. Patty Champion says:

    I love reading on the couch because it’s a big overstuffed but worn out sofa & I can get immersed in a book but not feel like I’m igorning the family (when in actuality I am because I get so engrossed!)

    I enjoy reading in bed, too. But never fails, as soon as I get comfy hubby is ready for bed.

    I never used to be able to read in the car until I got my Kindle. Now I carry it with me everywhere just in case.

    Have to agree… The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was a great book. The audio version was even better.

  10. Heather says:

    In the corner of my big overstuffed leather couch, feet tucked up under me. That’s the favorite. I balance the book or my iPad on the arm of the sofa.

    Second favorite is in bed, on my stomach, with the book/iPad propped against the pillow.

    However, position and location is not as important as the actual reading. I have walked and read. I have cooked and read (not recommended with food that takes concentration). I have read in the laundry room, bathroom, car, plane, train, bus, and airport. I have a nook and Kindle app on my smartphone so I can read if I can’t take the book or a bigger electronic.

    So, while location and position can increase the reading comfort level, it is more important to be READING.

    Oh, and yes, the floor works if I’m cleaning all those books off my nightstand shelf…

  11. xina says:

    I enjoy reading at night. So, it might be the couch, which is very comfy,or it might be the bed too. I also like to read outside, on our deck…sometimes at night, from my ipad that has a lighted screen. The dogs are by me and we listen to the night noises. But the bugs…the bugs, can drive me back inside. I also read from my phone in the car when my daughter is driving. She thinks she’s a wonderful driver, but no, she’s not. My book on my phone keeps me happily occupied instead of seeing my life flash before my eyes.

  12. Diane says:

    Usually on the sofa, sometimes at the kitchen table; not on the bed, neck and shoulders suffer too much and same with the floor. But on the sofa, I have a pillow behind my back, a stool for my feet, the coffee table in front of me with a cup of tea on it.

  13. DJ says:

    Anywhere but the floor and not while walking, but otherwise just about anyplace, including standing in the kitchen while waiting for dinner to finish cooking.

  14. RobinB says:

    I’m primarily a bed reader, but I also read when I’m in a “waiting” situation: an appointment, for the car when I’m at the mechanic, or for the boarding call for a plane flight! When I’m on the sofa/recliner, I also read, but it’s usually a newspaper or a magazine–books (hard copies or NOOK copies) are my bedtime companions!

  15. Jean Wan says:

    I’m so jealous of people who can read in moving vehicles. I can only read on trains or subways, and then only if I’m sitting sideways. Not backwards or forwards – just sideways. Go figure.

    Danie – I tried reading while walking, and I never got anywhere. So I stopped.

    Heather – Reading while cooking is also a bad idea for me, ever since I burned the pasta.

  16. Syd says:

    My main spot for reading is on our soft comfy couch. After that comes my husband’s leather recliner, turned 90 degrees with my legs hanging over the arm. That’s usually only when my daughter tsteals my couch spot to use my laptop. Also, in bed, but only in the very early morning hours if I can’t go back to sleep after my husband gets ready for work.

  17. Connie says:

    My favorite place of reading is on my bed.

    “I find that no matter how I start off (leaning back, cross-legged, etc.), I always end up on my stomach with a pillow under my chin.” This really cracked me up. I couldn’t agree more! I always thought I was the only one that does that. LOL!

    • Jean Wan says:

      Connie: My favorite place of reading is on my bed.“I find that no matter how I start off (leaning back, cross-legged, etc.), I always end up on my stomach with a pillow under my chin.” This really cracked me up.I couldn’t agree more!I always thought I was the only one that does that. LOL!

      Connie, you’re definitely not alone!

  18. Lynn Davis says:

    I most often read in bed at night but my favorite place is sitting on the steps of our pool in the summer! I get so much more reading done in the summer.

  19. wendy says:

    Did no one mention reading while lounging in the bathtub? I know lots of other people do it because of the number of used books I buy that have wet fingertip marks on the page edges!

  20. Susan says:

    Yep, I read in the bathtub, too. With my Kindle in a ziplock freezer bag.

  21. Love this question!

    Summer: the very, very best is back in the yard in the shade of the maple, in what Canadians call a Muskoka chair; think Adirondack. There is something about the angle of the seat and back that is just perfect for reading, and it has wide arms for my cup of tea or glass of wine!

    The rest of the year: I have an overstuffed chair, and I can prop myself in that comfy chair with a hassock under my legs, and it’s perfect for any book or my Sony eReader.

  22. wendy says:

    @Susan – I’m stealing that idea. I’ve read with my Nook in the tub a couple of times, but worry about ruining it ruined my bath!

  23. Jean Wan says:

    I can’t read in the bathtub. I tried it a few times, but I had no place to rest anything – head, elbows, feet, book – and in the end I just gave up and accepted that I’m not a bather.

    @Donna Simpson – Yes! Muskoka chairs! That’s exactly the perfect shape of an armchair.

  24. Judy says:

    I love to read in bed, getting all snuggly and have that tucked in feeling.
    In all, I guess I could read just about anywhere, including on the recumbent bike.

  25. Ashley says:

    I like to get comfy on one of our 2 giant beanbags. One for me and one for the dogs. They inevitably end up draped over me but it makes for a warm place to read. Until one of them passes gas.

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  27. Lindsay* says:

    All of the above, but my bed is my favorite. I like the pillow chin-prop too. I also like how comfortably I can lay on my back and hold my kindle over my head or propped up on a pillow on my chest. This never worked very well with a regular book….

    As a kid I started reading in the bathroom because I wasn’t allowed to read for pleasure until my homework was done, and I could hide it from my mom if I read in the bathroom. For years she was convinced I had some sort of GI disorder… :-)

    I also read while on the treadmill at the gym — I never used to be able to do that, but now that I can enlarge the text on my kindle I’m saving a lot of money that I used to spend on audio books! (Although I still enjoy those as well.)

    Susan: Yep, I read in the bathtub, too. With my Kindle in a ziplock freezer bag.

    What a great idea! Up until now I’ve only taken hard copies of books into the bathtub cause I’ve been so scared I would drop my kindle!

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