Where I Like To Read: A.L. Kennedy

This is part of our ongoing series 'Where I Like To Read', where authors tell us about their reading habits.

A.L. Kennedy is the author of The Blue Book ($25/$8.49 New Harvest/Amazon Publishing)

where i like to read

This is a picture of train. An ugly train. It can't help being ugly and I forgive it. I read on trains. I write on trains, I eat on trains, I stare out of train windows and wonder what happened to my life, or my ability to distinguish hot and cold in my extremities and I live, in short, for much of the time on trains.

I loathe flying and distrust my own driving, so it takes me a while to reach the various destinations required of the modern author. One round trip from Glasgow to Stockholm involved, if I recall correctly, 12 trains and two ferries. I have ridden the Red Arrow between Moscow and St Petersburg, bisected Spain, left no branch line of Germany unexplored, crossed and recrossed Canada and the United States by railroad... I could go on. I do go on.

Even an Amtrak roomette holds no fear for me. (Or not too much fear for me.) This means that I do, of course, work on trains - how else could I get any writing done ? But when the view has calmed into concrete and drizzle, or the dark has closed in (thus far due to nightfall rather than some kind of brain haemorrhage) then I unpack whatever book I've brought along and read. I hold on around a real, paper and type, three-dimensional, non-virtual book and it colours wherever I am and wherever I am seeps in and colours it and every time I touch it thereafter, it will be a little bit different and me too.

And maybe it would be nicer to sit beside a perfect log fire with a golden retriever dozing at my feet and the children romping in the shrubbery outside, but a railcar and the rattle of the wheels and track and maybe a whistle and the turn of pages suits me fine.