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Reading Retreat

Guest Blog

26th October 2018

Reading Unlimited.

Ali Hunter came on our Yorkshire Reading Retreat in September 2018. Here she shares her experience.

“You can have dinner in your pyjamas if you like,” Cressida Downing says as we stand, bag-laden and out of breath at the top of the third flight of stairs. She’s helping me haul a large pile of library books to my private room at the top of Rascal Wood, the secluded Yorkshire farmhouse I’m going to be calling home for the next few days. “We’ve never had someone go on a walk in them yet, but there’s nothing stopping you. It’s perfectly acceptable to stay in them all day.”

I’ve come to a reading retreat, to take a well overdue break. It’s been a hectic year and, feeling on the edge of exhaustion, I’m hoping to have some quiet time for myself. Freelance editor, Cressida, formed the idea with business partner Sara, after a similarly stressful year when, she decided rather than the usual spa-weekend to recuperate, she wanted to get away somewhere with her books.

The concept is simple. It’s a few days dedicated to reading without distractions. Being pampered and relaxed is key. So, meals are cooked for you, cups of tea and snacks are delivered on a tray, and a blanket is provided for sofa-snuggling.

After settling in, I slope back downstairs to the reading room having changed into a baggy tracksuit and thick woolly socks. Despite Cressida’s invitation, I feel a little self-conscious meeting my fellow readers for the first time in my misshapen tartan pyjamas.

As I tip-toe through the door, I find a reader sitting in brown suede slippers and swiftly turning page after page, as if he’s on a sprint to the end of a great literary marathon. Another is stretched out on a separate sofa, wrapped in a blanket with eyes fixed on her phone. I later discover she’s switched off the wi-fi and is using the handset as an e-reader to finish a thrilling spy novel.

This cosy room is silent, apart from a fire crackling and popping in the corner, and I sink into a soft leather sofa.  No-one looks up or acknowledges me. The rules of the reading room are clear: It is a no-talking zone, and social etiquette is not required. There’s no need to smile, say hello or make polite conversation, here – concentrating on reading takes priority. It’s a relief not to have to make an effort, and I turn to page one to plunge headfirst into a dystopian world, leaving my hectic day and journey behind.

Later, the scent of home cooking starts to drift through from the kitchen, where Sara has been busy cooking dinner. A menu had been left by my bed earlier with instructions to inform her if there was anything I didn’t like or couldn’t eat. Now, the spicy aroma of middle eastern roasted sprouts and vegetable tagine tempts us to quickly finish our chapters, and we slink through to the dining room.

The table is laid with fresh flowers and candles, and Cressida has put together an anagram challenge which we puzzle over while we wait. It’s a small group of readers, and although we’ve never met before the conversation flows effortlessly between reading-related topics, like how we store our book collections and what book we’d take to a desert island. The three-course meal is delicious, but by the end, I’m itching to find out what happens next in the novel I’m reading. “If anyone wants to head off and read, feel free to go,” Cressida says while clearing the dessert plates, giving me the perfect opportunity to break away from the conversation.

The next morning, I awake early with sunlight spilling across my bed, and read another chapter before breakfast. Downstairs, Sara is already pottering around the kitchen, preparing breakfast and lunch. Over toasted crumpets with homemade raspberry jam, Cressida outlines the plan for the day. There will be free reading time until 1pm, when lunch will be served in the dining room (or on a tray if we prefer to keep reading), then an optional walk followed by more reading time, then dinner.

And so the hours unfold – a mix of reading in the garden, on the sofa, in the bath, and in bed, occasionally stopping to order a cup of peppermint tea.

It’s remarkably peaceful here in the Yorkshire countryside; birds chirruping in the trees and hares hopping about in the fields nearby. I soon become engrossed in my second book - so much so that I jump when Cressida appears with a five-minute-warning for dinner.

This time around, a glass of prosecco is slipped into my hand as I enter the dining room. Tonight is special as we’ll be joined at dinner by an acclaimed author who will talk about their own reading. So, there’s a fizz of excitement within the group.

Tom Harper sits in the middle chair, with an intriguing pile of well-read books in front of him. I feel a little nervous to meet him up close like this, and hesitate to join in at first. But, as we all dine together after his talk, the questions begin to flow. It’s not long before we’re all reminiscing about favourite books and I’m making an extensive list of ‘must-read’ recommendations.

As I scribble another title in my journal, I look down and glimpse a flash of tartan. I was so relaxed before coming in for dinner, I didn’t realise: I’m wearing my pyjamas. While dining with a famous author (!) And, I’m not even sure I’ve brushed my hair.

But, for once, I’m not self-conscious. Because this is what being on a reading retreat is all about. It is a place where it’s possible to simply relax, without judgement, and with full permission to choose comfort over style, silence over small talk, and, of course, reading over absolutely everything else.

 

BLOG

World Cup of Books

 

 

Has the World Cup been distracting you from your reading?  Do you hate or love it? Regardless, let’s use it as an inspiration to read more internationally!  

 

Cressi has come up with a fiction and non-fiction book for each of the 16 teams that made it through to the knock-out stage.  Sometimes the books are set in the country, sometimes they’re by a local author, sometimes the link is a little more tenuous – but this has been a labour of love!  She's not read all of them but a few of her favourites have crept in.

 

There's a wide range of genres and interests so we doubt anyone will love all 32 books – let Cressi know what you think and what you would have put on the list instead.


France

Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky written in 1942, this has a freshness about France in the Second World War, a lightness of touch.    

A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – do we think the struggling writers in Paris in the 1960s were better off then struggling writers are now?

Argentina

Labyrinths – Jorges Luis Borges – This collection of stories and essays by one of Argentina’s best known writers includes The Library of Babel

The Honorary Consul – Graham Greene is the classic story of an incompetent diplomat in a country he is failing to understand

Uruguay  

Football in Sun and Shadow - Eduardo Galeano – ‘an unashamedly emotional history of football’ by a best-selling Uruguayan author.

The invisible mountain by Carolina de Robertis – sweeping story of a mother and her daughter, starting at the turn of the century in Uruguay.

Portugal

A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson  - Murder mystery set in the Second World War and the 1990s.

Conquerors by Robert Crowley  - A comprehensive history of Portuguese exploration

Brazil

Futebol Nation – David Goldblatt –  Why are Brazil so enamoured of football?  Read the history of their love for the beautiful game.

Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa – Award-winning Brazilian novelist’s book about a young girl who leaves Brazil and finds a new home in America.

Mexico

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel  - a magic realist love story with added recipes -a bestseller from the 1990s.

Bandit Roads – Richard Grant – travel writing by a reckless author dicing with the most dangerous regions in Mexico.

Spain

Sleeping Arrangements – Madeline Wickham – a summer holiday read about a double-booked Spanish holiday villa – fun and malicious.

The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston – an in-depth meticulously researched account of the Spanish Civil War.

Russia

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – one of my favourite books recently, the gentleman is placed under house arrest in a Moscow hotel after the Revolution.  A beautiful read.

Caught in the Revolution – Helen Rappaport – Foreigners’ accounts of the events of the Revolution.

Croatia

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht – this debut novel examines the roles of doctors during the Balkan Wars.

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon – Rebecca West – history or travel writing or journalism or all three,  Yugoslavia during 1937.

Denmark

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg – the original Scandi-Noir is also a keen-eyed look at Danish history.

The Year of living Danishly – Helen Russell  - what’s it like living in the happiest nation in the world?

Sweden

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson – the first in the famous trilogy featuring the unconventional and uncompromising Lisbeth.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson – the latest trend in decluttering with additional planning for helping your relatives after your death.

Switzerland

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is partly set in Switzerland but if this feels too tenuous a link – try the Chalet School series instead!

Swiss Watching by Diccon Bewes – I was shocked to discover the trains don’t actually always run on time…

England

The Lido by Libby Page – what could be more English than a threatened lido?  Set in Brixton the story makes you want to swim outdoors.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston is the staggering true story of Jeremy Thorpe’s private life and his possible involvement in a murder attempt.

Belgium

The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah  this has made it in as new incarnation of Poirot, Belgium’s most famous son.

King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild – away from the chocolate and the cuddly detectives is a horrific colonial history.

Colombia

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez -  the landmark original magic realist novel deeply rooted in the cultural history of Latin America.

Oblivion – Hector Abad Faciolince – a memoir of the author’s father, killed by the right-wing militia, but also a love letter between a son and his father.

Japan

The Guest cat by Takashi Hiraide – the cat that adopts and changes a freelance writer in a beautiful little novel

Geisha of Gion: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki – the autobiography of the subject of Memoir of a Geisha speaks for herself.

Christmas Reading

Did you have a lovely relaxing reading Christmas break?  Or did it go something like this…

 

There are delicious book-shaped parcels under the tree.  Some of them are even for you.  One is a box of chocolates – good – but no cigar.  One is a cunningly wrapped box of socks.  Three are books – hurrah!

You wait impatiently for the others to finish opening their presents.  You make all the right noises.  You play a game of Star Wars Top Trumps with your nephew to show willing.

Finally, the teenagers are drifting back onto their phones, your father has started ‘listening’ to the Queen’s Speech with his eyes shut, snoring gently, and you carefully, quietly, surreptitiously crack the spine on the best of the books.

‘Would anyone like a cup of tea?’

You put it down.  You talk tea.  You boil the kettle, you make one decaff, one herbal, one Earl Grey and one coffee with sweetener.

You slink back into the corner of the living room where the children aren’t and open up your book again.

‘I do think children today don’t read enough, don’t you?’

You agree with your uncle that children don’t read enough.  You look longingly at your book but he doesn’t get the hint.  He then explains why your views on the government need to be corrected.  You wonder about taking him to see The Death of Stalin.  He heads off to the loo with yesterday’s paper.

You open your book.  It’s great.  It’s as good as you were hoping it would be, you’re transported, you’re away, you’re in the fifteenth century and all around is the bustle of the marketplace and the sound of the passive-aggressive washing up and the tuts of your spouse.

You put your book down.

‘Would you like me to do the washing up?’

‘No, it’s fine.  Just keep reading.  I know how much you enjoy sitting around doing nothing at Christmas.’

 

You try and continue reading but there’s a wispy fog of guilt hanging over the pages now.  Maybe Boxing Day.  

 

A Soul Enriching Weekend

Kellie was one of our guests at our recent Suffolk retreat, and has written this lovely blog about her experiences.

A Soul Enriching Weekend

I have just returned from one of the most enjoyable, luxurious and soul enriching weekends in my life – a Reading Retreat.

If you were to climb into my mind and discover my fantasy weekend, it would be a 3-night escape to a beautiful country house where my every need would be met and all I had to do was read, and that was what I experienced at Reading Retreat.

It started on Friday afternoon where I was met by my two hosts for the weekend Sara and Cressi. They took my bags from the car, showed me to my gorgeous room and then had me settled in the kitchen nook with a mug of herbal tea while we waited for the others to arrive. They also presented me with a very well thought-out goody bag for the weekend and beyond.

I had already spoken with Cressi as she had called me before the retreat to give me my “reading prescription”. I was amazed how quickly Cressi “got me” and my reading taste with a 10-minute conversation. I also felt no judgement from Cressi about my taste in books – I am not really into highbrow literature preferring true crime novels, psychological thrillers, and a bit of chick-lit. Not once was I made to feel inferior about my tastes and Cressi gave me a great selection of books to choose from.  I chose all of them!

I was then shown around this beautiful house. They had very cleverly set aside 2 quiet reading rooms, both with very comfortable chairs and great light and one with a wood fire. The house rules were that if you were in those rooms you didn’t disturb anybody reading. It was lovely to sit around a room silently reading with like-minded people, although you could also read in your own room if you wanted. At any time, you could go into the kitchen where you would find our hosts, who were quick to offer a snack, drink, and a bit of conversation.

The food was amazing. 3 beautiful home cooked dinners, 2 lovely warm but light lunches and a hot or cold breakfast every morning and an abundance of home baked snacks whenever you got a bit peckish, including a midnight snack menu for reading into the early hours.

Dinner and prosecco with a visiting author, Guinevere Glasfurd, on the Saturday night was a major highlight. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed and shy (see above about my reading tastes) but she was lovely and made sure everybody at the dinner table was included in the conversation.

There was also some really lovely little touches that the hosts had thought of – a box of toiletries in case you had forgotten anything and little reading lights to borrow if you needed one but I think the best thing about the whole weekend was the freedom I felt to be myself and do nothing but eat, drink and read. I stayed in bed reading both Saturday and Sunday until lunchtime and on Sunday I stayed in my pyjamas all day until dinner and no-one raised an eyebrow. The hosts had very thoughtfully planned a walk for each day but had no problem with me skipping it to read in bed.

If you are a busy person who loves to read, I can recommend going on one of Sara and Cressi’s retreats. It really is the perfect way to spend 3 nights and I think I’ll be planning a once a year retreat from now on.

 

We're All Going on a Reading Retreat

Cressida and Sara started working together to create reading retreats after Cressida had been unsuccessful in finding one for herself. She created her own and this became the embryo of Reading Retreat.  Below is a copy of her blog about that first retreat....

 

We’re all going on a reading retreat.

 

By ‘we’ I mean me.  And by ‘reading retreat’ I really mean me and fifteen books going on a little holiday.

I have cleared a space in my work, got my home responsibilities off-loaded, and I’m going to stay in a residential library – for four days.  I’ve never been on a reading retreat before so I’m making it up as I go along.  Here are my initial rules on how to have a reading retreat:

It must be somewhere else.  A trip purely for reading.  Not a holiday where you have to squeeze precious reading time away from trivialities such as seeing the Grand Canyon and so on.

You must be able to be anti-social.  I’m going on my own and don’t intend to make any friends.

Travelling there must involve reading.  I’ll be taking a very lengthy train trip to start me off on the right track.

Someone else is going to do the adult-stuff for you.   I will not be making any of my own food for four days (or cooking for anyone else!)

Technology needs to be absent or at least reduced.  I adore my Kindle but I want to get back to reading basics and there’s something about a crisp new book that a crisp new electronic file can’t compete with.  I’m also intending to only be online for a short window each day.

Comfort is key.  We can safely say I will not be dressing to impress, I don’t want a belt digging in while I’m nose-deep into my book of choice.

Take notes – not an essay on each book but just a few quick notes to remind you when the retreat is done.

I am going to try and do a short walk once a day to refresh my reading palate too – a little bit of moving stirred in to some serious sloth.

Snacks (I have a serious reading + eating habit.)

No burn out – I often find myself crashing through work and house and admin in a desperate attempt to take a few days off, and then I sleep through those few days or come down with an exhaustion cold or fever.  Not this time.  I’m tapering off with work and leaving the washing up for someone else.

 

 

Blog

World Cup of Books

 

 

Has the World Cup been distracting you from your reading?  Do you hate or love it? Regardless, let’s use it as an inspiration to read more internationally!  

 

Cressi has come up with a fiction and non-fiction book for each of the 16 teams that made it through to the knock-out stage.  Sometimes the books are set in the country, sometimes they’re by a local author, sometimes the link is a little more tenuous – but this has been a labour of love!  She's not read all of them but a few of her favourites have crept in.

 

There's a wide range of genres and interests so we doubt anyone will love all 32 books – let Cressi know what you think and what you would have put on the list instead.


France

Suite Francaise – Irene Nemirovsky written in 1942, this has a freshness about France in the Second World War, a lightness of touch.    

A Moveable Feast – Ernest Hemingway – do we think the struggling writers in Paris in the 1960s were better off then struggling writers are now?

Argentina

Labyrinths – Jorges Luis Borges – This collection of stories and essays by one of Argentina’s best known writers includes The Library of Babel

The Honorary Consul – Graham Greene is the classic story of an incompetent diplomat in a country he is failing to understand

Uruguay  

Football in Sun and Shadow - Eduardo Galeano – ‘an unashamedly emotional history of football’ by a best-selling Uruguayan author.

The invisible mountain by Carolina de Robertis – sweeping story of a mother and her daughter, starting at the turn of the century in Uruguay.

Portugal

A Small Death in Lisbon by Robert Wilson  - Murder mystery set in the Second World War and the 1990s.

Conquerors by Robert Crowley  - A comprehensive history of Portuguese exploration

Brazil

Futebol Nation – David Goldblatt –  Why are Brazil so enamoured of football?  Read the history of their love for the beautiful game.

Crow Blue by Adriana Lisboa – Award-winning Brazilian novelist’s book about a young girl who leaves Brazil and finds a new home in America.

Mexico

Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel  - a magic realist love story with added recipes -a bestseller from the 1990s.

Bandit Roads – Richard Grant – travel writing by a reckless author dicing with the most dangerous regions in Mexico.

Spain

Sleeping Arrangements – Madeline Wickham – a summer holiday read about a double-booked Spanish holiday villa – fun and malicious.

The Spanish Holocaust by Paul Preston – an in-depth meticulously researched account of the Spanish Civil War.

Russia

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles – one of my favourite books recently, the gentleman is placed under house arrest in a Moscow hotel after the Revolution.  A beautiful read.

Caught in the Revolution – Helen Rappaport – Foreigners’ accounts of the events of the Revolution.

Croatia

The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht – this debut novel examines the roles of doctors during the Balkan Wars.

Black Lamb and Grey Falcon – Rebecca West – history or travel writing or journalism or all three,  Yugoslavia during 1937.

Denmark

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg – the original Scandi-Noir is also a keen-eyed look at Danish history.

The Year of living Danishly – Helen Russell  - what’s it like living in the happiest nation in the world?

Sweden

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Steig Larsson – the first in the famous trilogy featuring the unconventional and uncompromising Lisbeth.

The Gentle Art of Swedish Death Cleaning – Margareta Magnusson – the latest trend in decluttering with additional planning for helping your relatives after your death.

Switzerland

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is partly set in Switzerland but if this feels too tenuous a link – try the Chalet School series instead!

Swiss Watching by Diccon Bewes – I was shocked to discover the trains don’t actually always run on time…

England

The Lido by Libby Page – what could be more English than a threatened lido?  Set in Brixton the story makes you want to swim outdoors.

A Very English Scandal by John Preston is the staggering true story of Jeremy Thorpe’s private life and his possible involvement in a murder attempt.

Belgium

The Monogram Murders – Sophie Hannah  this has made it in as new incarnation of Poirot, Belgium’s most famous son.

King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild – away from the chocolate and the cuddly detectives is a horrific colonial history.

Colombia

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez -  the landmark original magic realist novel deeply rooted in the cultural history of Latin America.

Oblivion – Hector Abad Faciolince – a memoir of the author’s father, killed by the right-wing militia, but also a love letter between a son and his father.

Japan

The Guest cat by Takashi Hiraide – the cat that adopts and changes a freelance writer in a beautiful little novel

Geisha of Gion: The Memoir of Mineko Iwasaki – the autobiography of the subject of Memoir of a Geisha speaks for herself.

Christmas Reading

Did you have a lovely relaxing reading Christmas break?  Or did it go something like this…

 

There are delicious book-shaped parcels under the tree.  Some of them are even for you.  One is a box of chocolates – good – but no cigar.  One is a cunningly wrapped box of socks.  Three are books – hurrah!

You wait impatiently for the others to finish opening their presents.  You make all the right noises.  You play a game of Star Wars Top Trumps with your nephew to show willing.

Finally, the teenagers are drifting back onto their phones, your father has started ‘listening’ to the Queen’s Speech with his eyes shut, snoring gently, and you carefully, quietly, surreptitiously crack the spine on the best of the books.

‘Would anyone like a cup of tea?’

You put it down.  You talk tea.  You boil the kettle, you make one decaff, one herbal, one Earl Grey and one coffee with sweetener.

You slink back into the corner of the living room where the children aren’t and open up your book again.

‘I do think children today don’t read enough, don’t you?’

You agree with your uncle that children don’t read enough.  You look longingly at your book but he doesn’t get the hint.  He then explains why your views on the government need to be corrected.  You wonder about taking him to see The Death of Stalin.  He heads off to the loo with yesterday’s paper.

You open your book.  It’s great.  It’s as good as you were hoping it would be, you’re transported, you’re away, you’re in the fifteenth century and all around is the bustle of the marketplace and the sound of the passive-aggressive washing up and the tuts of your spouse.

You put your book down.

‘Would you like me to do the washing up?’

‘No, it’s fine.  Just keep reading.  I know how much you enjoy sitting around doing nothing at Christmas.’

 

You try and continue reading but there’s a wispy fog of guilt hanging over the pages now.  Maybe Boxing Day.  

 

A Soul Enriching Weekend

Kellie was one of our guests at our recent Suffolk retreat, and has written this lovely blog about her experiences.

A Soul Enriching Weekend

I have just returned from one of the most enjoyable, luxurious and soul enriching weekends in my life – a Reading Retreat.

If you were to climb into my mind and discover my fantasy weekend, it would be a 3-night escape to a beautiful country house where my every need would be met and all I had to do was read, and that was what I experienced at Reading Retreat.

It started on Friday afternoon where I was met by my two hosts for the weekend Sara and Cressi. They took my bags from the car, showed me to my gorgeous room and then had me settled in the kitchen nook with a mug of herbal tea while we waited for the others to arrive. They also presented me with a very well thought-out goody bag for the weekend and beyond.

I had already spoken with Cressi as she had called me before the retreat to give me my “reading prescription”. I was amazed how quickly Cressi “got me” and my reading taste with a 10-minute conversation. I also felt no judgement from Cressi about my taste in books – I am not really into highbrow literature preferring true crime novels, psychological thrillers, and a bit of chick-lit. Not once was I made to feel inferior about my tastes and Cressi gave me a great selection of books to choose from.  I chose all of them!

I was then shown around this beautiful house. They had very cleverly set aside 2 quiet reading rooms, both with very comfortable chairs and great light and one with a wood fire. The house rules were that if you were in those rooms you didn’t disturb anybody reading. It was lovely to sit around a room silently reading with like-minded people, although you could also read in your own room if you wanted. At any time, you could go into the kitchen where you would find our hosts, who were quick to offer a snack, drink, and a bit of conversation.

The food was amazing. 3 beautiful home cooked dinners, 2 lovely warm but light lunches and a hot or cold breakfast every morning and an abundance of home baked snacks whenever you got a bit peckish, including a midnight snack menu for reading into the early hours.

Dinner and prosecco with a visiting author, Guinevere Glasfurd, on the Saturday night was a major highlight. At first, I felt a little overwhelmed and shy (see above about my reading tastes) but she was lovely and made sure everybody at the dinner table was included in the conversation.

There was also some really lovely little touches that the hosts had thought of – a box of toiletries in case you had forgotten anything and little reading lights to borrow if you needed one but I think the best thing about the whole weekend was the freedom I felt to be myself and do nothing but eat, drink and read. I stayed in bed reading both Saturday and Sunday until lunchtime and on Sunday I stayed in my pyjamas all day until dinner and no-one raised an eyebrow. The hosts had very thoughtfully planned a walk for each day but had no problem with me skipping it to read in bed.

If you are a busy person who loves to read, I can recommend going on one of Sara and Cressi’s retreats. It really is the perfect way to spend 3 nights and I think I’ll be planning a once a year retreat from now on.

 

We're All Going on a Reading Retreat

Cressida and Sara started working together to create reading retreats after Cressida had been unsuccessful in finding one for herself. She created her own and this became the embryo of Reading Retreat.  Below is a copy of her blog about that first retreat....

 

We’re all going on a reading retreat.

 

By ‘we’ I mean me.  And by ‘reading retreat’ I really mean me and fifteen books going on a little holiday.

I have cleared a space in my work, got my home responsibilities off-loaded, and I’m going to stay in a residential library – for four days.  I’ve never been on a reading retreat before so I’m making it up as I go along.  Here are my initial rules on how to have a reading retreat:

It must be somewhere else.  A trip purely for reading.  Not a holiday where you have to squeeze precious reading time away from trivialities such as seeing the Grand Canyon and so on.

You must be able to be anti-social.  I’m going on my own and don’t intend to make any friends.

Travelling there must involve reading.  I’ll be taking a very lengthy train trip to start me off on the right track.

Someone else is going to do the adult-stuff for you.   I will not be making any of my own food for four days (or cooking for anyone else!)

Technology needs to be absent or at least reduced.  I adore my Kindle but I want to get back to reading basics and there’s something about a crisp new book that a crisp new electronic file can’t compete with.  I’m also intending to only be online for a short window each day.

Comfort is key.  We can safely say I will not be dressing to impress, I don’t want a belt digging in while I’m nose-deep into my book of choice.

Take notes – not an essay on each book but just a few quick notes to remind you when the retreat is done.

I am going to try and do a short walk once a day to refresh my reading palate too – a little bit of moving stirred in to some serious sloth.

Snacks (I have a serious reading + eating habit.)

No burn out – I often find myself crashing through work and house and admin in a desperate attempt to take a few days off, and then I sleep through those few days or come down with an exhaustion cold or fever.  Not this time.  I’m tapering off with work and leaving the washing up for someone else.

 

 


"An entire weekend of 

luxurious accommodation, gorgeous food and hospitality. Such a beautiful, soul enriching way to spend a weekend. I read constantly"

Kellie

 


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