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The ritual of curling up with a book

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Sometimes, we all just need time to escape, to transport ourselves somewhere other than here. That is the art of curling up with a book. A real paper book.

We have so many screens at our fingertips today and they seem to follow us everywhere and in all the things we carry. They offer us instant reminders of things done and to be done with beeps and vibrations. Then there’s the hustle and bustle of daily life; kids, melas, work and family. Sometimes, we just need an escape. Ah, a book. A genuine, paper book.

Taking time out to find a book and then reading it, is a personal ritual. We all have those little rituals in our daily lives; cooking and eating a meal, getting ready in the morning and at bedtime. These are all rituals. Some we perform because we have to and others are ones we create to calm ourselves or to feel happy. So it is with that ritual of reading a book. Especially so when it is for pleasure.

We all have different ways to go about that ritual. For some it is finding a quiet nook in the house or the end of the sofa or a big comfy chair. Some prefer early morning reads in the eloquent solitude before the world awakes. Some at night when darkness has fallen and a single, warm lamp provides the light as the world lies cloaked in darkness. Perhaps you enjoy a glass of wine as you read or a good hot cup of tea?

These moments we steal or oblige ourselves with, they are liminal moments, a time between worlds when all is suspended and we delve into a fantasy, mystery or tale of times past. We enter a time suspended, a time spent somewhere else, with someone else, who lives in our minds eye for that brief spell of an hour, or two or more.

There’s an exquisite moment of disconnect when finally, we lift our head from the pages, the world we have been drawn into so sublimely. We look up at the room around us and for but a few moments, we are neither here nor there. And we feel gratitude before we move on.

Iff you don’t have a ritual behind any special reading time, perhaps create one. Preparing the space where you’ll read in comfort, adjusting the light as you’d prefer, perhaps quiet music in the background and some hot tea. Doing these things as part of the ritual play a key role in putting your mind where you want it and helping you relax.

If it’s been a while since you’ve taken that time to be with a book, take it. Find your ritual and find that space most comforting and hey, maybe in your pyjamas! Put away the Kindle or the Kobo. Return to paper, to its crisp feel and the flow of words across the page. Turning the page almost without thinking. Spotting a line that sparks your imagination. 

What book will you curl up with today?

More Inspiration: Check out this cool article on building inner calm in times of high stress and anxiety.


  • Alex Hurst is a writer for HUM@Nmedia covering Optimyz and Silver magazines in print and digital editions and is based in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

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