A Reading Retreat

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Last week, my very good friend Lynn and I went on Reading Retreat number 2.  It was even better than the first one (mostly because this time we didn’t hit traffic and made it to the house in 2 hours instead of the 3 it took the first time).  What is a reading retreat? It’s a day of reading! Doesn’t that sound glorious?

It’s not that I need a special day put aside for reading to read, it’s just that doing this makes reading all the more special!  You don’t have to go away to have a successful reading retreat, but it’s a nice bonus.  Being out of the house means being free of any distractions, like the laundry that beckons or the computer that dings with new email.I’m grateful to my friend Lisa and her family for generously allowing us to use their vacation home to do this.

We arrived at the house a little before 11 AM and the first thing we did was have lunch. I’d brought the caldo verde (Portuguese potato and kale soup) that I’d made the previous day, along with Bob’s freshly baked bread. Lynn brought fabulous snacks from Trader Joe’s, including the best apples I’ve ever tasted – Cripp’s Pink!  After a hearty lunch, we kept the tea kettle singing for constant refills of tea, and settled in for five wonderful hours of reading.

We both sat on the sun-drenched porch, but kept to our rule of no talking. I got lost in my reading.I brought my Kindle and a few other books. I mostly read Jennifer Donnelly’s The Winter Rose (adult historical fiction). I also journaled, read from the two nonfiction books I brought, and a sampling of Mary Oliver poetry. Bliss! I also took time to appreciate the view.

The silence was intermittently punctuated by the occasional bird call or car crunching over gravel in the distance. At one  point I could have sworn I heard moo-ing. A curious hummingbird visited us several times over the course of the afternoon.

It wasn’t until the sun started creeping down that we noticed the chill in the air. It was time to pack it up. We ended the day by stopping for dinner at a fabulous restaurant – Daviola. Amazingly fresh fare and house-cured sausages made for a delicious Italian meal. And probably the best crunchy breadsticks I’ve had in my life (they had a slight kick). The tagliatelle with pork cheek ragu was my favorite and I’d go back and have that again!

We hope to do another reading retreat in the spring! If you end up having a retreat of your own, I’d love to hear about it! Happy reading!

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