What's Your Favorite (Reading) Position?

BlogHer Original Post

Person lying on a couch reading a book

How do you like to do it? On your back? Your side? With one leg thrown over the side of the couch? Or maybe you are one of those rare beings that like doing it on your stomach? Yes, I’m taking about reading positions. What did you think I was talking about?

When I say that I'm curling up with a book I mean it. My default position is propped up by pillows (it doesn't matter where I'm reading, there will be pillows) with my legs bent in front of me. I rest part of the book on my thighs and hold it open with my left hand and turn the pages with my right. Oh and there will be blanket because I must have a blanket. This is clearly the best way to read because you aren't holding all the weight of the book with your hand. That can make your wrist cranky, especially when it's a heavy book. The hand that you use to turn the page can also be used to hold drinks and eat snacks. Or I can jot down notes and grab Post-Its from that position too. It's totally full of win. I do a modified version of this when I'm sitting in our armchair. I'll sit sideways and shove pillows under my back and either curl up into a tight ball or throw my legs over the arm.

The only way this fails is that I'm constantly slouching. If I spend too much time in this position it makes my lower back hurt. The pillows help a lot and that's part of the reason why I use them, but sooner or later I'll have to move. From there, my preferred position is to lie flat on my back with knees bent. If I'm on the couch I might swing my over the back of the couch. It's not bad but definitely not my first choice.

Doing it in bed is not that different. I prop myself up on a bunch of pillows, make sure my neck is supported and bend my knees. Sometimes, though very rarely, I will turn over on my side. Alison Flood at the Guardian confessed to being a side reader.

My technique is also lying on my side, but I prop myself up on a few pillows and hold the book in both hands. If it's a particularly large book I'll balance one edge of it on the bed. This can quite annoying, as the pages get caught on the bedsheet and my thumbs gets sore, but in general it's comfortable enough for me to stay in one position for ages – often until I fall asleep, glasses pressed into my face.

The one way that I've never been able to read well? On my stomach.

It seems that people who read on their stomach are a rare breed. A blogger at Abe Books found themselves discussing reading in bed at work and discovered that their default reading posting was a bit unusual.

Since discovering I’m weird, I’ve asked around and have found many people who sit up, against the headboard or a pillow or two, and prop the book on their knees. Many side-readers. But no tummy-reader-elbow-proppers like me. Am I so strange?

I've known a few stomach readers and I just don't get it. It's not at all comfortable to me. My neck gets sore, as do my elbows from propping myself up. I find it harder to take notes. I just don't find it comfortable for more than about two minutes.

How do you like to do it?

Contributing Editor Karen Ballum also blogs at Sassymonkey and Sassymonkey Reads.

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