A Reading Retreat


I’ve been on many writing retreats – ones where writers gather to work on their stories and later share with one another to offer encouragement and suggestions. I love going on them and am very productive.  But, lately, I’d been craving a different kind of retreat. One where I do nothing but read.  Why can’t I do that at home? Well, I can, but it’s challenging. My work-in-progress throws me neglected glances, dirty dishes and laundry beckon, errands call, Trixie (my dog) drops toys at my feet for me to throw.  Distractions come at me and I willingly allow them to take me from my reading time. Plus, I feel a little guilty indulging in such pleasure when there are things to be done.

A generous friend offered me the use of her vacation home in Geyserville (about an hour and a half drive North of San Francisco), so I pounced on the opportunity to create a reading retreat afternoon. A like-minded book-loving friend and I drove up, shared a picnic lunch, and then settled into an afternoon of reading.

The house is surrounded by lush hillsides covered with eucalyptus trees and grapevines. Birds chirped and crashed in the treetops, deer tread softly through the brush. The breeze was light, the sun was bright, the sky was blue, and the temps were fine.

The most challenging task for the day was choosing where to sit.

The living room with high ceilings (and a loft overlooking the room) contained cozy and inviting chairs.

The back deck overlooked the hillside.

Down the hillside from the house was a wood bench under a shady tree. (I used this as my meditation spot.)

The front porch (complete with deck chairs and a porch swing) was bathed in the sunlight.

 I started off flipping through a fun “journal” of Beatrix Potter, filled with photographs, drawings, and pull-out cards of letters and her writing.

Then it was time for serious, sustained reading!  We chose our separate reading corners, poured tea, and settled in for hours of uninterrupted reading time. It was blissful, serene, and relaxing!

Lynn spent the afternoon on the front porch,

and I spent my reading time on the back deck.

Hours flew by and too soon it was time to head home (after a lovely dinner in town).  We’re definitely up for doing another reading retreat! We bid good-bye to our reading haven with promises to return as soon as we can.

How about you? How does a reading retreat sound? Have you taken one before? Will you now? I would love to hear about it! Happy reading!


14 responses »

  1. What a lovely idea — and your friend’s home is gorgeous. What beautiful views — the perfect serene spot!

    I have that Beatrix Potter book :). Love all the goodies in it.

    A reading retreat sounds like the ultimate luxury — I would love to go on one and have George Clooney serve refreshments (tea and macarons)!

  2. What a delicious sounding afternoon! I’m one of those obsessive readers–I read at intervals during the day, at breakfast, at lunch, at tea time, while I’m waiting for dinner to cook, after dinner, in bed. I’ve somehow convinced myself it’s part of a writers life, an industry necessity, so I never feel guilty. Good trick, huh?

    • Great trick! You’re a wise woman! I do read during the day, but there’s something glorious about reading for hours in a row without worrying about doing anything else. I’m now fantasizing about a reading vacation!! 🙂

  3. Debbi,
    Just a note to tell you that I received Greg Fishbone’s, The Challengers, that I won from your blog…Thank you so much. Guess I’m on a bit of a reading retreat now!!!!
    Thanks so much!!!!

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