How We Read: Snacks

In this week's reviews, we have four novels and mysteries that are set in England past and present (The Orchid House, The Garden Intrigue, Accidents of Providence and Restless in the Grave) and one book that is about London (Londoners)--all this plus the hoopla over Downton Abbey puts us in the mood for tea. A good book, a cup of tea (or other strong drink), a comfortable chair... the picture of a perfect, genteel reading experience is conjured. But how do we really read when we're not on a bus or train or plane? How do we read when we're alone?

A few months ago one of our reviewers asked the others, "Anyone else have the 'I want a snack but I don't want to get my fingers messy and touch pages' dilemma?" One reply--"I just wipe my hands on the cat"--was a bit Monty Python-esque. Another said, "I read over meals. I also snack while I read. Popcorn with grated cheese is my nosh of choice. A napkin on the lap is the only answer." A reviewer complained, "Reading makes me fat. I can't not snack while reading.... I try to snack with the left hand, flip pages with the right hand... but there's no good answer except a strong napkin and a light touch on your pages." She further writes that she once belonged to a library that had chocolate stains on every romance novel and Cheeto/Dorito dust on every mystery novel, without fail.

Others sip wine, in moderation, of course, lest one fall asleep or drunk book-blog. Dark chocolate is good, coffee is good, mac 'n' cheese is good--anything that doesn't require two hands, unless a recipe holder is used (but there's still that page-turning problem). A friend celebrates her birthday with a few mysteries, a bottle of Champagne and a bag of potato chips.

What are your reading and eating rituals? Do specific snacks go with specific genres? Bourbon with Elmore Leonard or chocolates with Julia Quinn? Take part in our unofficial poll and send me an e-mail. --Marilyn Dahl

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