I sat in a bar surrounded by people in complete silence reading a book with a cocktail (stirred not shaken) in my hand this weekend. As you do.
Silent Reading Night
The event is inspired by a similar event at a bookshop in San Francisco. From a quick online search I found a hotel bar in Seattle who have had massive success with over several years and was reported in The Stranger back in 2010. Sorrento Hotel hosted these quiet reading nights once a month with massive success and are still going today. Bristol Spirit i a fairly local bar to me and they are doing something similar 🙂
This was the second time they did it, but I could make it to the first one. I have never attended a Silent Reading Night or a Silent Reading Party, but I really liked it 🙂
As I arrived outside the bar I was greeted with the face of the bar in full show lights. It light up the whole street! Truly welcoming 🙂
Upon entering I saw my friend straight way and we waved across the room not saying a word. I noticed a woman near the door already engrossed in her book and didn’t want to disturb. I closed the door quietly behind me and situated myself next to my friend. We quietly agreed to start a tab behind the bar and pay at the end so my friend went an ordered up a cocktail (anything to prevent noise and enhance our reading time). The cocktails on the menu was all stirred not shaken LOL and using homemade spirits by the bar lady. Not only does Bristol Spirit have a pub they also have their own spirits! Espensen Spirits 🙂
After ordering my friend came back and unpacked her book. There was no cocktails in her hand and I wondered if we got table service, which it turned out we did! Again anything to provide the most reading time and the less disturbance.
As people arrived they opened the front door quietly and settled themselves down quietly. The bar lady welcomes them in a whisper and told them to register behind the bar when they where ready. Everyone whispered so not to disturb the other readers.
Even dogs came in! Two different dog owners came in for a cocktail and some reading witht heir four legger friend! After all the pub is a dog friendly one.
I unpacked my book and settled in.
I found it difficult in the beginning to fully settle in. The book I was reading has heavy written and difficult to settle in to, but also I was too excited to be there. I kept looking at others and thinking how amazing it was to be surrounded by other readers reading together without socialising! It took time for me to settle my excitement.
My friend next to me flew through her pages and in total from 7-10pm she read about 160 pages! Amazing! I only managed 60 but I was quite please with myself.
I did notice my reading focus increased in comparison to reading on my own or reading in public. There was something about being around other people who were also reading that intensified the experience.
All the cocktails after wards was on table service basis. She came over to ask us if we wanted another and delivered it to us. All in hushed voices and whispers.
There was a range of people there and a range of books being read. I spotted The Book of Dust #2, The Blind Assassin, Brave, and The Tattooist of Auschwitz. Then I had my own weird book; Iron and Smoke by Brandon Nolta.
People started to leave when they felt like having enough. I didn’t pay attention to when this was but it was before 10pm. They were quiet and quick.
Until a regular customer came and knocked heavily on the door making us all jump and laugh! Silly man didn’t realise we were still going – strange since we all had our heads in a book…
At 10pm the bar lady came over to the few of us who were left and started to talk in a whisper level to drag us out of our immersive reads. The voices gradually became louder and more normal.
In total, I had three cocktails one Joni Collins, one Practical Magic and one Gin and Tonic of the Month. Of all those I believe Joni Collins was my favourite!
That was one amazing experience but I didn’t get as many pages read as I wanted so I headed home to finish the book 🙂
The next Silent Reading Night is on the 26th February and I’ve already got my ticket!
If you live in Bristol, UK somewhere around BS5, get your ticket too 🙂 !! I might see you there 😀
Until next time; happy reading!