Reading is Heaven

It’s Friday and a gorgeous day up here in Seattle…sunny and bright and clear.  The sun makes me feel light and happy.  And reading makes me happy and I’m hoping to wrap up work early today so I can squeeze in an hour of reading Georgette Heyer’s The Unknown Ajax before resuming mom duties.

Leaving my desk to read definitely makes me feel a little guilty, but with Ty Gurney back in Hawaii, I don’t have much time to myself and almost no time to read, and reading grounds me.  Calms me.   I can’t think of anything I like doing more than curling up with a book and disappearing into a story.  I’ve been working my way through all of Georgette Heyer’s books and am on my next to last of her romantic fiction novels…and that isn’t a good thing as it means I’ve read all of them but one.  I don’t normally reread but I’ll have to as I’m so happy when I’m lost in Heyer’s Regency world!!

Someone else I absolutely loved reading was Eva Ibbotson…her Countess Below Stairs was fantastic.  Her Madensky Square and A Company of Swans were wonderful as well.  Many people know her as a writer of YA fiction but I love her voice and recommend her highly.  Ibbotson died in 2010 and I wish I’d written her a fan letter while I could have.

I’ve written other author fan letters…Loretta Chase, Mary Balogh, Christine Feehan, JR Ward, Kresley Cole, and Marian Keyes.  When I love a book I’m compelled to write the author and thank her.  A great book isn’t just entertainment, its an escape, a holiday, a comfort.  When reading I forget about the things I worry about—the kids, the dangers, the bills, the deadlines.  Reading makes me feel safe and secure.  Whole.

If you had an afternoon free, what would you do?  How would you spend your time?  (And please don’t everyone say exercise…I’m feeling very guilty for not getting enough exercise..)  Share with me and a number of you will win!  I’ve got a handful of prizes that include a Barnes & Noble giftcard to give away! My blog contest runs through Sunday night and I’ll announce the winners Monday morning.

Have a fantastic weekend and I’ll check back in with you all soon!


  1. If I had an afternoon free of kiddos, hubs, house and internet, I think I would fall asleep reading a rom com and sleep until my body told me it was time to get up and not a minute sooner. Then I’d take a loonng shower listening to my favorite tunes with my favorite candle, frosted cranberry, burning. Afterwards, I’d order Chinese take-out, eat and read some more. When dinner is over, I’d catch up on my DVR shows.

    Have a great weekend!

    1. Dawn, that sounds perfect! Yes, a nap and then a great meal and a chance to catch up on all the shows and movies that I have missed these last few years…

  2. A perfect afternoon free would be rain falling outside, a fire in the fireplace and me, curled up on the couch with a cozy blanket and a great book!

  3. I have an afternoon free today and it is so beautiful outside! It feels springlike in the Pacific NW! 🙂 I washed my car, and then the windows in my house so I could have as much of that bright sunshine coming in as possible. Now I am off to take the dog for a walk, and then maybe I will sit out back and read.

  4. Whenever I have a minute, I will always spend it with a good book. I’ve been know to devour quite a few of them in the time span of a day if all my boys (husband included) are off entertaining themselves.

    Have a great weekend!

  5. I will reread a lot of books when I don’t have anything new to read. I do enjoy the escape too. So many problems go on all the time, it’s good to just dive into a new world where none of my problems exist. Enjoy your books and relaxation time. I’m about to pop open a bottle of wine and do some reading too. i’ve had a very stressful afternoon dealing with the debit card number being stolen and charges made. I’m glad I check the bank account each Friday to see how much money my husband deposits or else I wouldn’t have seen the unknown charges. Tomorrow we need to go to the bank to get the card cancelled and a new one and do what ever else they need to do. I’ve already dealt with the merchant and have a case number in case the bank needs it. I hope it’s not a sign of what the rest of the weekend will be. Enjoy your weekend Jane and I always enjoy reading your blogs.

  6. Any time I have an afternoon free I spend it reading and if I get sleepy I will take a short nap and then read some more.

  7. Hi Jane,

    When I have free time I enjoy reading, spending time with my daughter and going for a walk. I don’t get to read as much as I’d like since my daughter is almost 4 and constantly wants my attention. I do get to take walks but it’s never alone. I love being with my daughter but every so often would like some me time 🙂 I hope you have a great weekend.

  8. HI Jane,
    It’s either reading or a movie at the theatre. I am also rediscovering my passion for sewing so I guess it would be a 3 way tie to fill a free afternoon!

  9. What do I do when I have a free afternoon? I like to put on my comfy clothes, light the fire, make some comfort food and read a book. It’s so relaxing and fun. I think I just may do that this weekend.

  10. If I had an afternoon free I would probably go through the local antique malls. There are two of them here that I haven’t been through yet. I love looking at old things, Sometimes I can even find old Harlequins. After that I’d be exhausted and have to curl up with a book.

  11. We have a big comfy arm chair in our living room that I would sit in with a book and read a lot and nap a little bit. Just being by myself for even a short period of time and reading rejuvenates me. I am a better person for all the books I read. You are right Jane, writing to favorite authors to thank them for writing is a wonderful thing to do. That is how I found your blog, I wanted to write and tell you how much I enjoy your books. Thank you for all of your days of outstanding plots and fantastic characters that you spend writing for us! Also, thank you to your family for sharing you with us.

  12. ah you said it Jane. Read. Love love to read. I read every day pretty much and when i can’t squeeze any in it bothers me. I have emailed many authors or posted to them on Facebook or Twitter. Some books you just love so much you feel so good when your done because you were thoroughly entertained. Love those!!

    Lisa B

  13. An afternoon free with no time machine or unlimited funds? I would take my camera, the car, and find some good light and great subject matter. Followed by some great food overlooking the Atlantic. With my family.

  14. I got a free day today! I went to all my favorite local stores. It was great to take all the time I wanted and to de-clutter the mind and just be.

  15. Well, this isn’t a hard question for me to answer! 🙂 I really never have time to myself, and if I do, I am cooking, cleaning, or running chores. You know being mom. I absolutely love to scrapbook, and even though I keep buying supplies and have a wonderful new scrapbook room…I haven’t sat down and spent 15 min. on scrapbooking in probably 14 months! Sad. I also love to read, but my kids are never quiet enough for me to do so. Haha…anyone else have this issue? So usually when they go to bed, I don’t last very long reading because I’m so exhausted. Don’t get me wrong, I love my family more than anything…but I do miss my hobbies dearly.

  16. hi jane! i would probably read after i made myself a snack, gotten myself a drink,grabbed my favorite comfy blanket, and lit one of my favorite smelling candles…hope you have a great time reading! enjoy!

  17. I feel the same way about reading! Rich has been traveling…so I got a sitter for tomorrow, so I can go to the book store and read:). B&N is always crazy on the weekend, so I’m going to my favorite small one. I always feel guilty reading too…I hardly ever read during the day, unless on vacation, thinking I’m supposed to being doing something else…thus the babysitter. Now reading is my hobby/therapy/escape/release – and yet I feel guilty? That’s Catholic mother for you.

    I always write fan letters, too (as you know:). Although, sometimes, I have to e-mail them…cause I don’t’ know how else to get them to the author (advice?).

    How is it gorgeous & sunny – weren’t you just buried in snow?

    Saw your post on FB about author sites. I love author sites! I don’t like commenting on FB – pages, because then all my friends see what I wrote & I don’t care for somebody I knew very briefly, decades ago, to see what I would post to you. It’s for you and other people who love your writing and post, like I do. I LOVE authors who blog…and regularly (thank you). I also love authors who tell me what they’re reading…that’s always fun & interesting.

  18. Hi Jane,
    Yup, I would curl up with a good book and our golden retriever. Then we’d need to take a walk cuz the dog needs the activity (and so do I).

  19. If the weather is sunny, I love going for a drive and watching birds along the way – just see new things or familiar things in a new light. MT is a beautiful place! Thanks to YOU now, I have taken to reading on many an afternoon off, with a cat curled up next to me, a nice Malbec, and a real page turner! I guess you articulated it well…It’s a holiday where I can escape all my worries, explore a new or forgotten feeling, thrill in the moment of heat. A good book is therapy! 😀

  20. I LOVE to read in my spare time… or anytime for that matter. Exercising is something I do because I know it’s good for me but it’s not something I do in my spare time. 🙂

  21. I do love spending every extra moment reading. I always have a romance novel with me, tucked into my purse, tucked into my glove-box, etc. lol. I’m famous for reading in the car while my dh shops at the hardware store – We both get a lot accomplished on those trips and we’re both happy, because I hate hardware stores and as long as I’m reading, he can look at every nail and screw and spring in the place!

  22. If I had a day like that I would just love to sit around with the kids and read stories all day. Along with some popcorn and candy…..mmmm. I love to read it is definetly a passion of mine, however I dont have time right now due to college classes but when I can I squeeze it in…lol. Jane don’t worry about too much exercise you look great. Have a great day.

  23. On a free afternoon you’ll usually find me reading with my dog curled up someplace near to me. I also like to take whatever book I am reading and head out to either the bay or the beach. I truly enjoy reading near water…where I can hear it and where I can glance up and see it when I’m at a chapter break.

  24. With extra time I like to go to the bagel place with my sweetie, sit outdoors, and read the New York Times and the local newspaper.

  25. Going out to lunch with my friend who I haven’t seen since before Christmas, then going shopping would be perfect!

  26. Jane,

    I would put on my comfy PJ’s, curl up on the couch with my favorite blanket and read and/or watch movies. If there wasn’t a good girly movie on, then I would pop in one of my favorites like “Walk in the Clouds,” which I just love! I would of course have to take a nap too!

  27. Reading is probably my favorite way to spend my free time especially in the winter. It is calming to curl up under a blanket with a cup of tea and a good book.

  28. If I had an afternoon free I would probably spend it reading as well! It’s how I spend most of my free time and I completely agree with you that reading keeps you grounded! It’s get’s my brain to just slow down at night and stop racing about all the things I have to do!

  29. It would definitely be reading!! I, too, find nothing better than curling up with a good book. A nice cup of tea and a nice candle burning would be perfect to go with the book.

    Enjoy your reading!!


  30. Love your post about reading since it is so true. The importance and the enjoyment. I would read non-stop all afternoon while having tea and sitting by the window overlooking the yard.

  31. I love to escape with a book too. I love to walk through the woods . It is a great way to escape all life’s demands.

  32. Hi Jane,
    If I had a free afternoon, I would scrapbook. It is such a fun and relaxing hobby.
    Do you scrapbook despite being super busy? You should have a scrapbooking section in your new bookstore.


  33. Hi Jane~ I would either be reading a book by a warm, comfy fire with a coffe in my other hand! Having a spa day, or even a massage would be amazing, too. Doing all of these in the same day is what my perfect day would consist of! I guess I can keep dreamin’! Have a great weekend!

  34. I would love to go out for lunch with my friend from Texas then head to the spa for a massage and soak with a bottle of wine.

  35. If I had an afternoon free I would stay in my pjs or comfy clothes once I got up. Not having to rush around would be a terrific feeling. I would grab a bunch of books, a mug of hot tea and some munchies and head for the couch. Next turn on some nice music, grab a blanket, make sure the dog was comfy asleep at my fed read, read, read.

    1. OMG! Sorry about my typos! That was suppose to read, the dog sleeping at my feet and I would read, read and read. Something always happens when I do this on my phone!! I know it has its own brain! Anyway, have a wonderful weekend! Hugs, Lisa

  36. Hmmmm, of course it would be a warm and sunny afternoon just right for a ride along Hood Canal with my Honey in his apple red convertible. We’d stop for wine and lunch at our favorite Inn out there and watch wedding photos being taken outside. Then we’d make sure to talk with the Groom and his family (who too often seem to be treated as “accessories” to the Bride and her family). Go for a walk along the water then drive home and sit on our deck, turn on the heat lamp and watch the sun set over the snowy Olympic Mountains. Oh, wake up! Time to go back downstairs and clean things up for friends to watch the Patriots beat the Giants on the big screen tomorrow! A girl can dream though. When’s the next sunny warm day?

  37. I would say I would be lounging in pj’s and reading a good book in my big, plush chair. Very relaxing, and something I don’t get to do very often.

  38. Definitely a DVD at home or a book, whether it be a new book or a re-read like a LaVyrle Spencer or a Jeanne Ray.
    And funnily enough, I have a free afternoon right now and what am I doing? I’m on the internet! Great plans, lol!

  39. Hi Jane!
    Free afternoon? What’s that? 🙂
    I think I’d do one of those things that get set aside when you have young kids like give myself a pedicure. Ahhh, that nap others were talking about sounds great! I just bought 4 Debbie Macombers, the new Jill Shalvis and 17 (yes seventeen) Harlequin Presents that I’m looking forward to escaping in.
    Congrats on all the sun!

  40. I would visit a local bookstore and browse through all the titles, looking at the cover art that catches my eyes, and reading the back cover blurbs. For me, going to a bookstore is like worshipping at church. I have been a reader since a kid and can’t imagine life without books! And would buy as many books since this is a dream day, I wouldn’t have to worry about how much I spend!

  41. A day to myself…I would clean the house, get all my others chores done, then hit the couch with a cup of tea and good book..turn the phone off too.

  42. Since I went back to school last September, a free afternoon is a pipe dream. I have so much reading for school (right now is the Chemistry book!!)that there is not a lot of time for pleasure reading left. However, I always bring something to read everywhere, if I have a doctor’s, chiropractor’s, hairdresser’s appointment, I am the client who never complains if they are running late because their delay gives me some me time. Reading is very therapeutic and sure more interesting than playing with the Blackberry!!
    I know all too well about the guilt part. When you have some free time there are 100 other things you could do, but I am learning to look the other way and take some time for me to keep my sanity.
    Take care.

  43. It all depends on the weather- if it’s raining and cold I’ll stay home under a blanket and I’ll read but if it’s a nice sunny day I’ll be outside- I just love sunny days in the winter when it’s not hot and humid so I can walk and enjoy the fresh air and maybe go to the beach and watch the Mediterranean Sea- I feel so calm when I look at the water but during winter it’s too late to do that after work.

  44. If my girlfriends were available, I would get together with them for a gabfest – ordering in food instead of making it all ahead of time.
    If my girlfriends were not available, I would enjoy romping around various scrapbooking stores to find just the right embellishments, stickers, etc.

  45. I always say I’m going to clean, catch up on schoolwork…but I end up sitting on my behind on my comfy couch catching up on my DVR’d shows or reading my newest book! Guilty, guilty pleasure!

  46. Reading books ! books are always my perfect escape from my two baby boys . LOL..
    being a full time, cooking, laundry, some of things that in my everyday to do list..but reading’s only available when i have a free time 🙂

  47. Nothing soothes me, takes me away from the stress of life, than a good book..if I have free time that is my first choice…the other thing I love is a trip to the ocean. A day walking along the beach is heaven to me.

  48. Hi Jane,

    I actually had the day of from motherhood today and I used my time volunteering at Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah and I love it. I have been doing it a lot before I had kids so it´s a treat for me when I can take a day out of the calender just for me.

  49. An afternoon without any responsibilities – gosh… It feels like bragging, but it’s not. I have had this for 3 years now and I’m just excited to go back to work so I don’t really want any more free afternoons. I would much rather be at work with “my people” now that I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to do with my life.

  50. I would love to spend the afternoon reading or going through all of my pictures and do some much-needed scrapbooking!

  51. Hi Jane,
    Exercise is the last thing I’d think of. I would sleep late, watch tv/movies that I’ve recorded &/or read:)
    Love ya,

  52. I always tell myself that if I had just one more free day (at the end of a weekend) I would spend it organizing my house or cleaning, but truth be told I would probably start with coffee and a book on the couch. That is my favorite thing to do on weekends, but rarely happens these days with our hectic schedule.

    Exercise would probably play in to it if I had 2 days in a row with absolutely nothing to do! I too am feeling guilty about finding no time to work much needed cardio into my life!

    Have a great week Jane!

  53. Hi Jane,
    Oddly enough, Denver got pounded with over two feet of snow and I had an unexpected day off on Friday. I spent the “free” day making breakfast for my family, reading some Michael Connelly short stories and baking cookies. I also watched a few movies. It was a heavenly treat. I forget sometimes how nice it is to simply unwind and do very little.

    As far as exercise goes, I’ve rededicated myself to me. I am giving myself 20 minutes a day to workout. I have managed to do five weeks in a row and have now gotten to the point where I feel guilty if I skip a day. Yay! I want results now but it took six months to put on the 10 pounds, it will take 9 months to take it off. I am learning to be patient. I am not good at it either. Check out exercise video goddess Cindy Whitmarsh; she always keeps me motivated.

    Have a great day!

  54. My littlest one was sick yesterday, so we stayed home from church. This was an unexpected bonus, as I had done all the laundry on Saturday, the house was fairly clean, and I had no homework.

    So, I snuggled with the little one, read another Aurora Teagarden mystery on my kindle, and baked an apple pie from scratch. Heaven!

  55. a free afternoon would find me visiting an elderly neighbour for coffee, phoning family members to catch up and an early supper at the cafe

  56. Depends on how much money I could spend. For Birthdays and special occasions, nothing beats a spa day- pedi, mani, message, facial, and a body wrap.

    If I am watching my money, a day with a good book, movie, dvr and a nap sounds wonderful. Throw in some candles and a hot bath and the day is perfect.

  57. Hi all! Sorry I’m announcing winners so late….but here I am after a hectic morning…

    There are 8 winners! Will the 8 of you please shoot me a private email with your mail address and we’ll get the prizes out in the mail pronto!!


    #2 Stephanie
    #4 Shannon P
    #5 Janine
    #15 Susan
    #26 Alysha
    #40 Runner10
    #58 Becky Kelley
    #66 Stephanie – NJ

    Congrats and thanks to all for participating!!!

  58. Thank you so much, Jane! You just made my day. After a horrible ending to last week and the weekend, all I could think of is what will go wrong next. I’ll send my info to you right now. Thanks again and I hope you have a fabulous week!

    1. Janine:
      I was about to write the same thing…had a not so great week and weekend Thanks Jane! And Janine, I hope this week is better!


  59. Thank you so much Jane. Hope your days go well. Congragulations to all the winners and to all the people who put in an effort to comment. 🙂

  60. I am start Mrs. Pefrect today. This is the first book of yours to read. Sounds great! Have a good day and eat a bagel for me. I miss Seattle.

  61. I missed out on winning this one but I’m still gonna answer the question 😀

    If I had a whole day free to do whatever I wanted I would get a 90 minute massage by my favorite Massage therapist, Scott, do some shopping in my favorite store- Hobby Lobby- and finish the day off with a great read!

  62. If I had a free afternoon, I would get my husband to play hookie too..take our canoe or kayak, so he can paddle me around and fish while I read my book, and chat with him. Our kids don’t understand why we go fishing!

  63. If I had a free afternoon.. I get into my favorite old sweats. Kick back in my chaise lounge, cover up with my favorite lap quilt (sewn personally by my sister-in-law) and catch up on with my DVR. Then if that free afternoon turned into a free evening, I would take a bubble bath… put on my husband’s old long sleeved tshirt with my thermals and cuddle up with a book. Boring I know but hey it would be heaven.

  64. What I wouldn’t do with a free afternoon is clean! What I would do with a nice, quiet house all to myself is write. There just doesn’t seem to be enough large blocks of alone time to make progress on my new work in progress. I envy writers who don’t have day jobs competing with their writing life.

    Jane, I am so happy to see you’ve got a new book coming out. I can’t wait to buy it!

    (A Life Worth Living – Life’s detours can sometimes lead to the best path.)

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