'To absent friends, lost loves, old gods, and the season of mists; and may each
and every one of us always give the devil his due.' -- Hob Gadling, toasting upon
Dream's journey as told in Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Season of Mists

Reynard, the afternoon barkeep speaking. As our editorial staff is quite mad mad about its reading and spends a fair bit o' time doing so, I thought I would ask them as I was serving a pint or two where their favorite place to read in our building was. The answers were quite amusing and rather informative to say the least!

Kim Bates likes the Library: 'I like the the library for reading. Predictable, I know, but what can I say? How many establishments have the library that we do? Not many! There might be spirits available in the afternoon there, discreetly served, with the fireplace and the stellar collections of unusual and impossible to find books. And tea for those so inclined.'

Denise Dutton found a small charmer of a spot: 'My favorite spot to read is a tiny rounded nook that's just off the passage between the kitchen and the library. I sit on a large, overstuffed cushion on the floor, where I battle for supremacy with Blodeuwedd, who has decided that since I found her, I'm responsible for her . . . and her comfort. We usually find a happy compromise. Blod usually sits in the middle of the cushion, and all the mathematical formulas in the world couldn't find the dead center of that cushion with more accuracy. After she gets comfy, I pack myself tightly underneath the little stained-glass window and lean myself back on the cool stone wall, which is a nice counterpoint to the heat of the kitchen. Cracking the window a bit gives a nice breeze and plenty of light for daytime reading. Being near the kitchen has its pluses and minuses; the kitchen staff often peek in and ask me to taste new recipes if they know I'm about. I keep hoping they'll ask for my opinion of the wild mushroom and barley stew again, but the haggis omelet flambe was something even Blod was glad to see the back of.'

Cat Eldridge wouldn't say where his favourite reading spot was, but Lisa Spangenberg says she's seen him reading: 'I have seen him in the tiny gallery, above the pub. I think he has some sort of arrangement with the barkeep, either that or a bottomless glass of Guinness. There's a samovar up there, and it's close enough to life and music to be social, but high up enough to be private.'

Tim Hoke reads outside: 'If the weather's nice, the fire escape. Why? Because no one else is there to interrupt me.It's a preference I picked up in the Army; if I went out on the fire escape, no one bothered me. This could be because the fire escape was off-limits except in the event of actual fire.'

Stephen Hunt says it's the under-cellar for him: 'It's actually a very wonderful place to be. There's a particular quality to subterranean spaces that focuses the psyche on the 'inner' rather than the outer planes. I've always got a big kick out of being underground, whether that be in the myriad potholes of Derbyshire's Peak District (stalactites and stalagmites a go-go!) or in the ancient 'Foggues' of West Cornwall. Being way down in the 'very bowels of the earth' focuses the human mind like nothing else in my experience. Taking a book 'down there' with you somehow almost makes the experience of reading more 'intimate'. It's as if reading below ground level makes the author complicit in some delicious, shared, secret rite, the acquired knowledge more 'arcane.' If nothing else, you get the most fantastic echoes when you laugh out loud at a supremely crafted passage of prose!'

Like Tim, David Kidney likes it open: 'As our office is in the sub-basement, I prefer reading out in the garden, under the Japanese maple seated in one of the two Muskoka chairs. I think of that song the Beach Boys did, 'the day in the life of a tree' one. 'Feel the wind rush through my leaves...' and before I get too depressed about the sad fate of that tree .. I bury my head in the book. Might be another graphic novel, or some mystery novel, maybe a biography of some 60s rocker, or a classic novel. Who knows? It's simply a relaxing spot, away from the office, where SPike is writing the second draft of his memoirs, and playing Joe Strummer CDs LOUD! You can still hear a bit of the music from my chair. But you hear a bit of everything, some Calexico from Gary's room, a little Tchaikovsky from Robert's, Celtic fiddle from all over. Then I turn the page and I'm transported. Doesn't matter where I am in reality...in my mind I'm wherever the book takes me.'

Zina Lee has a cool place, one I hadn't thought of: 'The landing on the staircase on the first and second floors, with the window seat. I tend to disappear into my books, so noise and people walking past is never a problem. Maeve is not a 'drape yourself across the reading material' sort of cat, so as long as I'm not taking up her favorite pillow, she'll deign to let me sit with her for a while and sometimes will even purr for accompaniment.'

Jack Merry says: 'The Pub of course. The overstuffed chair near the fire's close enough to the Neverending Session to drown out conversation from the bar proper so I can read fiction while listening to really great music, there's always a cat or two sleeping near the fire to keep me company, and one can't beat the company when I want to put aside reading for a bit of conversation and a pint of something tasty!'

Liz Milner says simply: 'The bar, of course.' Though she later added that it's because of a particular libation: 'The Noweisser Beer, of course. After three, I crack the Da Vinci Code. Only I can't remember much about the Code or craic in the morning.'

Robert Tilendis has a cozy place to tell of: 'There's a little alcove with a window seat just down the corridor from the bookstore that Iain found that time. (I'm not going to tell you how I find it -- it's my secret). It has a nice window that looks out on a tiny little garden with evergreens and all sorts of seasonal flowers, including a rose that rambles all over the wall, so there's always a nice view, and good firm cushions so I can just curl up with a cat on my lap (whichever one happens along and feels companionable at the moment, unless Ben happens to have come with me that day -- he doesn't like to share, and for some reason -- perhaps his advanced age, or maybe his extra claws -- the others recognize his prior claim) with a ready supply of good books just around the corner. (I have a deal with the man who runs the store -- he lets me borrow books, and I bring him some that I no longer want to keep from time to time.) It's quiet but not too quiet (I can hear some of the activity from the offices upstairs), and the man who runs the bookstore -- his name is Sigurd, by the way -- sometimes sings quietly to himself as he's working. (He's rather a fascinating character. He speaks five languages fluently, although he doesn't really like to talk very much. We both find that very humorous.)'