A Quiet Place to Read

From Joanie:

I love to read. I come from a family of readers, and I married into one as well. This is one of my greatest joys.

But where is the crazy in this, you might be wondering?

Well, there’s this: my family, though they love to read, are not quiet people. I know this is really surprising for those of you who know us…at all.

With a family full of auctioneers and musicians, it’s no wonder that there’s little quiet to be found.


My dad has the uncanny ability to completely ignore any and all outside noise while he is reading. It’s like he’s in a sound-proof booth, and no matter how many times my sisters and I would say, “dad..dad…dad…DAD..DAD…DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD DAD” he was impervious to us.

My mom was less able to shut us out, so she read when mostly we were asleep, or in college.

She would often use the times when we were reading to dive into a book. These times when all of us wanted to read at the same time were just too [expletive deleted] rare.

Though I take after my dad in many, many ways, the inability to shut out noise is one that I got from my mom. It’s made me a very careful listener and a good musician, but it means that if there’s a loud guy from Jersey on an airplane talking about how much better Jersey is than Pennsylvania, I can’t just read my book in [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] [expletive deleted] peace, but instead let the murderous rage fester until there are fingernail marks in whatever hardback library book I took on the plane.

 Not that I’m bitter.

As a kid, it was always easier to find a quiet place to read. Mostly because I was so adept at climbing things.

No one looks for you when you’re 50 feet in the air, sitting on a branch with a book. And even when they’re calling your name, it’s easier to ignore them, since you’re so far away, you can’t hear them.

Sadly, I have less access to good climbing trees now that I’m an adult—partly because my dad hasn’t put a climbing rope to get me started on any of the trees at my apartment complex, and also because the closer I get to 30, the more likely I am to want to sit in a soft chair instead of sap-covered branches, and therefore my selection criteria for “excellent tree in which to read a book” is more refined.

My search for a quiet place to read, where I’m not bothered by students who don’t understand the meaning of “lunch break” or by annoying people who plop their umbrella near mine at the beach and blast Mexican polka music (which, if you’d read our post on camping in Big Bend Park, you’d know is not one of my favorite genres) or by the loud cell phone talkers in parks and the airport, has become more strained over the years.

Even my  home is not impermeable to distracting noises---as I write this post, the ice cream truck that plays just the first four measures of “Turkey in the straw” has driven past us. Twice.


Try reading with THAT going through your head for the next year of your life.

On those blissful occasions where I do find that wonderful time when I can enjoy a book in peace, I truly do. I sit and read, and as the silence washes over me while I’m cherishing the words on the page…


Sorry, I fell asleep what with all that blasted SILENCE.

Wait, I seem to have lost my page…