Monday, June 15, 2009

Nice places to read

It's Toronto-only, plus there's a definite centre-North skew here, but I thought I'd get it started and hope that others would chip in...anyone?

--Third floor library, window seat (feet on radiator), Hart House, University of Toronto.

--Tiny parkette (three benches plus tree; possibly owned by apartment building), Shepherd just east of Yonge, north side; on benches only (no grass).

--Tequila Bookroom rooftop patio (or anywhere else in that restaurant, really).

--Swiss Chalet, any. Bustling enough that one conversation doesn't take over, friendly yet impersonal, and you can stay for hours without a murmur from staff. Especially good if you *have* to read something for work or school.

--Front Street median, just in front of Union Station. Don't knock it till you've tried it, but probably not good for serious Proustian reads, either.

--Queen's Park, northern edge (above Parliament), lying on grass under trees. Benches available but pointless; grass is best.

--Starbucks on Yonge just south of Lawrence, west side. Some people hate Starbucks, I know, but if you don't, this is the best one, in my opinion. Leather chair by the fireplace (!) is big enough for me plus laptop, notes, several books, plus (sealed) cup.

--Departures lounge, Pearson Airport. Again, bustle drowns out individual conversations, plus Zen feeling of adventure-about-to-begin makes for good reading headspace. Chairs reasonably confortable, floor not bad.

--Desks near children's area, Northern District Library. Window seats are better for heavy reading, couchs near entry good also (but if you put your feet anywhere near the [vinyl!] upholstry, you risk humiliating reprimand).

--As far from computers as possible, Sanderson Library. Outside the library works too, in a pinch (this is the noisiest library ever; I find that inspiring).

--Futures Bakery patio. Indoors is a bit dark and, I find, slightly damp, but certainly congenial enough on rainy/winter days.

--Grass or benches by Philosopher's Walk. Benches: any; grass: especially on the east side.

--The 34 bus. Any window seat behind the back doors, particularly the second row on the right.

--The blue chair under my living room window, curled up in a ball. Special permission needed for this one.

Then the bridge disappears / and I'm standing on air


August said...

I think the biggest problem with reading in a Swiss Chalet is that they'd expect you to buy something, and I can't imagine a circumstance that would compel to eat their food.

I don't really 'go out' to read. If I happen to be out and stop in one place long enough, I'll crack open my book, and obviously I read on transit, but leaving my home with the intention of poking my nose in a book just doesn't work for me. (I can't really afford it, either; even going for coffee is something I only have the scratch for a couple times a month.) I can get some good writing done, in those situations, though. If I could afford to sit and work someplace where I had to be a paying patron, it would be Manic Coffee on College. Best coffee in the city, imho, great atmosphere, and hot baristas (my female friends tell me that's true of the male baristas too, but I'm not sure if I believe them. Too many of those sex-offender mustaches that hipsters tend to favour these days).

writer_guy said...

I used to like reading in the "rafters" at Wychwood Library on Bathurst St., but I'm funny in that I enjoying reading in those little carrels. Knox College Library at U of T is also a great spot, and agree with your view of Hart House (except I also tend to fall asleep when I read there in the winter - they really blast the heat!). If you want tranquility and an inspiring view, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library is tough to beat. (Anne Marie Macdonald has been spotted a few times.)

You'd also be hard pressed to beat my huge back deck, particularly in the evening when the back alley is quiet and there's good red wine to be drunk.

frede said...

I did 70% of my studying for the bar exam at the Swiss Chalet corner Montreal Rd. and St-Laurent!!! I thought it was just this particular SC that was conducive to reading mounds of boring stuff but I see all of them will do !! They have terrible perogies that I adore.