Ann Arborites know how to read, but for newbies to the city, perfecting this takes some time.
The Statement is The Michigan Daily’s weekly news magazine, distributed every Wednesday during the academic year.
Moving to a new city is like getting a new credit card — you’ve got to think about every area of your life in which this personal information is recorded and update it. You don’t realize the full impact until Netflix is randomly canceled in the middle of your House of Cards episode, until you end up spending unnecessary time changing your Amazon information, until you can’t Venmo a friend on a Friday or until your new company cancels the card when they see an “unusual charge” in another state that your old company knew you visited every month.
Moving means unexpected changes, unforeseen costs and unnecessarily spent time trying to figure it out. Once you’re done changing your mailing address, finding a new doctor in the area and whatever else comes up, you’re eventually going to have to find your reading nook — everyone must have a good reading nook!
Luckily for us, Ann Arbor’s full of them, and the day will come as you are settling in to your new community that, if you’re anything like me, you’ll want to get away from it all in exchange for your fictional world, but this isn’t so easy.
With a roommate and a rowdy hall, I remember moving to Ann Arbor and reading in the UGLi, which is completely laughable now. Sure, I knew how to read, but in this city, I didn’t really know how to read. Immersive reading is all about letting your novel consume you, but trying to immersive yourself in the wrong location can interrupt your thought process, detract from your reading experience and just generally violate the author’s intention for how their work was to be read.
To read immersively, I highly suggest you get the heck off campus, especially if it’s a Saturday in the fall.
It wasn’t until I spent my first summer here that I realized just how vast the reading culture extends, and all of the prime reading real estate I had been ignoring. If you go far enough north of central campus, before actually making it to what I consider north campus, you will find two parks adjacent to one another that I have now discovered are called Broadway and Riverside parks, respectively.
These are really just a couple patches of open space and a few trees, but they are settled on either side of the Huron River, making for an ideal summer spot. Without walking all the way to the Arb, having to deal with parking or the crowds that, at least for me, were a little distracting on summer weekends, you can sit nestled next to the river and trees with a good book for hours here.
When Ann Arbor started to get a little chilly — and then when Ann Arbor became utterly unbearable — going to Literati to peruse books and then taking them over to TeaHaus became a regular routine for me. I’ve also checked out the Dawn Treader, which I don’t think is great to read in, but it’s a pretty good, cheap Literati alternative. There’s also Kaleidoscope Books and Collectibles, if you’re into that sort of thing, which is conveniently next to my second favorite winter reading location, the Food Co-op in Kerrytown. (Although, as a fair warning, this place also gets a little too loud on weekends!)
Practicing these patterns of good reading is the only way I have ever been able to hold myself to reading all of the lovely, perspective-shaking, thought-inducing novels I’ve read during my time at college. Spending my free time engulfed in the thoughts of Maya Angelou, Arthur Golden, Albert Camus, and George Eliot has a way of providing clarity to everything else, but being distracted by phones, roommates, and perpetual chatter has a way of ruining the experience. Go out into the world and find yourself a nook: it’ll do you and your mind some good, and you can explore the weird little corners Ann Arbor hides at the same time.