Do you often remember where you read your novels better than the books themselves?

Reading on location

Enjoying the excellent The Admissions on an idyllic beach in the Bahamas

I’ve already written a post about context reading.

The concept is the same as ‘context drinking’ – how that Tuscan wine just tastes so much better when  you drink it on holidays on a sunny piazza  in Italy than it does when you bring it home to Peoria.

Location reading

Reading Beatriz Williams as I relaxed sore muscles after days of skiing in Val Gardena

When I travel I often look for books set in the places I’m visiting. It always helps to bring the location to life.

But I also notice that being on holiday – and probably being so relaxed and happy – also makes me remember the books I was reading on those vacations better … even without the link to the specific location.

Many of the books I’ve enjoyed on these holidays were excellent, others were average, but they stick in my mind longer because I was happy and relaxed when reading them.

Location Reading

Reading The Human Flies on a perfect spring day in Sperlonga, Italy

And I link scenes or chapters to the location I was where I read them.

If I’d had the time and money to do this in college, I would have been far better off booking plane tickets and jetting off to exotic locales to study.

Admittedly, I’m not sure if this system works as well with economics or physics textbooks. But it’s certainly worth a try.

Location reading

Bliss in Bali

And even the books that would have quickly trickled out of my already-overloaded brain lodge there longer when I’m reading them at a location I enjoy.

Here I am reading lazily at a great hotel in Bali.

Location reading

ALWAYS love reading in the mountains of Abruzzo

The book was by an author I enjoy, but it was set in Italy and everything was off with the novel. The only reason much of it still remains lodged in my brain is because of how this lazy pool and beach reading punctuated my relaxing days in paradise.

Do you blame me?

So when I read books on holidays, I realize I often recall where I was when I was reading certain segments or chapters – and sometimes those vacation memories are much sharper than the stories themselves.

Happy “location reading” on your holidays this summer!


  1. Swirl and Thread on August 18, 2017 at 11:04 am

    How true Kimberly. This does happen. I do associate certain novels with certain places. X

    • kimberlysullivan on August 19, 2017 at 11:25 pm

      Combining two of life’s greatest pleasures -reading and traveling! : )

  2. Claire 'Word by Word' on August 22, 2017 at 11:35 am

    Certain novels definitely stand out for remembering the journey that went with them! I remember reading AS Byatt’s Possession on a rickety old bus climbing a precarious mountainside on the way up to Kathmandu, the light was fading and I was at the very last pages and desperately wanted to finish it, there was someone hanging off the bus outside my window, I really didn’t ant to look, it was so dangerous! It was a borrowed book too, I sent it home and it arrived with a puncture mark in the middle of it, as if it had been pierced with a sharp knife!

Leave a Comment