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A Reading Play and a Reading Chair

A Reading Play and a Reading Chair post image

Friday night, my roommate Amanda and I went to see a local theater production of 84 Charing Cross Road, an adaptation of a 1970 book by author Helene Hanff that chronicles the relationship through letters that Hanff built with staff at a British bookstore while looking for obscure book titles.

The play was lovely – quiet and thoughtful, but also brash and funny. Amanda commented afterwards that she felt herself smiling through the entire play. I did too. My good friend Lindsay, theater critic at the local newspaper, wrote a lovely review of the play that you should read. I think Lindsay sums it up perfectly when she says,

The whole affair is an ode to the written word, to people who find themselves — and one another — in the turning of pages.

In some ways, the letters that Hanff exchanged with Frank Doel and the rest of the staff reminded me of book blogging — throwing words out there for others to read, sharing a love of books across space with people who feel the same. I loved being in a theater where it felt like so many people understood that feeling.

The other big bookish news is that I finally got a reading chair! Ever since I moved, I’ve been looking for the perfect chair to fill a spot out in our nook. I wanted a nice, big comfy chair with an ottoman, but didn’t want to spend too much money on it — I’ve got student loans to pay, after all.

After months of Craigslist searching, I found a chair that’s almost perfect. Coincidentally, the family I bought it from was also originally from Minnesota, and the mom’s name is also Kim. I thought that was funny. Anyway, here’s the chair:

Sorry the photo quality is so bad. It’s a little bit bigger than seems right for the space, and the plaid clashes a little bit with our carpet, but for $100? It’s awesome.

I settled into it Friday night after the play to read some more of The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean — a history of the periodic table — and it was just the kind of chair I wanted. But, I won’t get to read much today because Boyfriend, friends, and I are off to Six Flags Great America. Rollercoasters, here I come!

Raging Bull photo by BreakfastPirate via Flickr

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • rhapsodyinbooks September 26, 2010, 6:14 am

    I love to hear about success stories from Craig’s List! What a great bargain!

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:31 pm

      rhapsodyinbooks: Yes, it was a great bargain. I’m excited about it.

  • Amanda September 26, 2010, 6:27 am

    Interesting. I read 84 Charring Cross Road last year and I’m trying to imagine how they’d make a play out of it. I’d love to see it!

    • Care September 28, 2010, 7:51 am

      I was a bit disappointed in the movie but the book is most charming, I agree.

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:32 pm

      Amanda: It was pretty cool. The spoken parts must have been directly out of the letters, but the characters recited them without actually looking at each other. But then the person “reading” the letter would react to what was said. It’s hard to describe, but it was really neat.

  • Steph September 26, 2010, 8:31 am

    Hey so long as your new chair is comfy, who cares if it clashes! It looks like a dream… I can’t wait until the day I have my own reading chair.

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:33 pm

      Steph: I feel like I’ve been waiting forever to finally have a reading chair of my own, so buying one felt like an adult purchase. I sort of wish I’d been able to afford a new one, but this is good for now.

  • toothybooks September 26, 2010, 8:53 am

    oooh that does look like a comfy chair! and what a bargain too for a chair and an ottoman. i need to start using craig’s list.

    hope you have at six flags! i haven’t been to one of those in ages, especially after they tore down the one in houston.

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:34 pm

      toothybooks: Craiglist takes some patience. I looked for a chair for a few months before I found this one. But if you’re not in a rush to buy, I think you can find good deals.

  • Stephanie September 26, 2010, 9:12 am

    I love rollercoasters! Hope you are having fun today. I have been meaning to read 84 Charing Cross Road, since it seems to be so popular amongst the other bloggers.

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:34 pm

      Stephanie: I’ve wanted to read it too. I found a used copy a few days before we went to the play, but didn’t have time to read it first.

  • Anastasia September 26, 2010, 11:25 am

    Okay, I love that chair. Between you and Eva I’m so jealous at all the things EVERYONE ELSE finds on Craiglist and at thrift stores! Why is my local stuff so crappy?!

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:36 pm

      Anastasia: Lol, I don’t know! I think it takes patience. Like I told another commenter, it took me a few months of checking Craigslist almost daily to find this one. Something will turn up, especially around moving time if you live in a town like Madison with lots of renters.

  • Anna Marie September 26, 2010, 12:11 pm

    Ohhh, I am so jealous that you got the see 84, Charing Cross Road on stage. Talk about a combination of my two favorite things! Charing Cross is one of my favorite books and I LOVE live theater. I just posted about my love for collections of letters this week. There is a novel that I feel is sort of a kindred soul to 84, Charing Cross Road and that is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Have you read it?

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:37 pm

      Anna Marie: I’ve read lots f good things about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but haven’t read it. I think I’m waiting for all the hype to die down so I can read it without expectations.

      This play combined a few of my favorite things, too.

  • Trisha September 26, 2010, 1:15 pm

    I still haven’t read this. Bad Trisha. It’s sitting there staring at me, and it’s so short, but for some reason, I haven’t been in the mood. On a side note, I’m so jealous! I love Six Flags, and it’s been a long time since I’ve gone.

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:37 pm

      Trisha: I haven’t read it either. It’s super teeny, but just didn’t get to it in time.

  • Charlie September 26, 2010, 1:49 pm

    I’ll have to read up about the play, it sounds an unusual kind of story to turn into theatre. Love the chair, it’s huge for a one-seater!

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:38 pm

      Charlie: It was sort of odd, but I loved the way they staged it. There wasn’t a lot of action, so lots of the emotion and pleasure was in just really listening to what the characters were saying.

  • Marie September 26, 2010, 1:57 pm

    I LOVE that chair! Every time I go into a furniture store, I point out a chair in a style like that to my husband. Maybe one day one will appear in my living room. Speaking of Craigslist finds, my best friend bought a nice couch for $20 on Craigslist and had it re-covered in purple velvet. It is such a swank couch and I love it! The play sounds extremely interesting too. Another one for the TBR list!

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:38 pm

      Marie: Whenever I got to furniture stores, I sit in all the giant chairs and wish that I had one. Now I do! That couch sounds awesome!

  • Stephanie September 26, 2010, 6:56 pm

    I love that reading corner. There is so much light, and the chair looks perfect. Have fun at Six Flags!

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:39 pm

      Stephanie: There is a ton of light – it’s great for reading in the afternoons when the sun comes through the windows.

  • Sheila (Bookjourney) September 26, 2010, 9:17 pm

    Fun! I love plays and the reading chair looks great. I have never been to a Six Flags but have always wanted to go… I love amusement parks and attend them whenever I can 😀

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:39 pm

      Sheila: I don’t go to amusement parks very often, but have fun when I do. This was part of a company event, so the park was pretty empty and we got to go on a lot of rides.

  • Heather J. September 27, 2010, 2:07 pm

    That’s a great chair! I have one something like that and it is perfect for reading in.

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:40 pm

      Heather J: I’ve found the chair is just the right size to curl up in sideways and read. I love that.

  • softdrink September 27, 2010, 7:11 pm

    I have a similar chair (mine’s not plaid, though :-D), and I love it! You’ll have many happy reading hours in it!

    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:41 pm

      softdrink: I’ve already had a few. I get home and all I want to do is sit and read!

  • Care September 28, 2010, 7:51 am


    • Kim September 28, 2010, 7:41 pm

      Care: Lol, woooo!