With New Zealand’s winter beginning to set in, reading is one of my favourite ways to spend the chilly days and darker evenings. A good book is the perfect thing to curl up with while wind and weather are battling outside. But, in the wintertime there are also a few reading accoutrements to consider which can definitely make the experience more comfortable and soothing.
A Cosy Blanket or Duvet
This is a must for winter reading, particularly in the evening. My favourite is the plaid woollen pictured above. Its retro colours and slight scratchiness just seem to go with the smell of ink on paper. It’s the leather elbow-patched tweed jacket of blankets.
A Hot Drink
Tea, coffee or hot chocolate add a bright centre of warmth to the winter reading experience. As it happens, I’ve perfected a blanket-draped sitting technique that allows my hot drink to be cradled without spilling, leaving my hands free to turn pages. This may be one of the great achievements of my life.
A Warm Bath
Less compatible with the cosy blanket, but equally well-paired with the hot drink, I find a warm bath is best suited to reading beaten-up paperbacks, just in case (click through for info on how to save books from water damage).
A Hot Water Bottle
I find the hot water bottle pairs best with winter reading that takes place in bed, where the equally warming hot drink is more liable to be spilled, particularly if, like me, you have a tall dog who likes to knock things off your bedside table. Because I believe whimsy has a necessary place in the hearts of all readers, I also encourage the use of hot water bottles that come in fanciful and/or ridiculous covers. As per above, mine is a sheep. Wearing a bow.
A Well-stoked Fire
While any fireplace goes well with winter reading, I prefer one that has a glassed-in front, allowing me to glance up and watch the flames at natural pauses in the narrative. This specific reading experience is particularly well suited to environments–such as your lounge–where it would be acceptable to read until you drowse off, the red-gold flicker easing you into sleep as outside the frost crystallizes on the leaves.