One of our favourite newcomers to the Hamilton Twitterverse is @readwithaview -a Tweeter and Instagrammer with a penchant for books and a good view. For months, she has been viewing and tweeting her way through Hamilton. While reading is usually considered to be a solitary pursuit, done in the confines of one’s own home or a quiet space, this lady shows us that it is possible (and even enjoyable!) to enjoy the world around you, while being engrossed in a good read.
More recently, Miss @readwithaview and other bibliophiles who met online, such as @jessmolina, @lisanowonline @nbrookebaker, @chamfy, @briansquair, @hornykitten and so on, have formed the Hamilton Book Club, an organically-growing group that meets to chat about their latest reads over breakfast at Mr Milton’s Canteen on Alexandra Street (the next one is this Friday 23 October 7.30am and rumoured to have a sizeable turnout!).
According to @lisanowonline, books are ‘life changing’, with the group talking about everything from historical fiction, to guilty pleasures, to Waikato literature and young adult fiction.
We asked Miss @readwithaview to give us her picks (and pics! #heeh) of her favourite places to read in Hamilton, and we loved the results!
“The world was hers for the reading.” – Betty Smith
(or The Tron if you live in Hamilton!)
First off, thank you to the awesome and mysterious people (?person) behind @lovethetron for asking me to do this guest post on the best places to read in and around Hamilton – just in time for the warmer months! Obviously, nothing beats the cozy confines of your couch, or comfy bed, or even a hot relaxing bath, when it comes to your reading pleasure. If you’re after a change in scenery, however, I hope this helps! And I lie, this is probably not an actual top five – don’t make me choose – but these are definitely up there. A good read is even better with a good view!
1. The trusty café
(Reading: The Year Of The Runaways by Sunjeev Sahota, at St Lazarre Cafe)
Reading approved café checklist: not too loud, not too quiet ✓, excellent coffee and cake ✓, great atmosphere ✓, comfy seats ✓. I’ve tried out a fair few and they’ve all been excellent. The Hamilton café scene is underrated! The key is to come outside of peak mealtimes and you’re good to go.
Notable mentions: Too many, take your pick! I’ve tried Scott’s, Milton’s, Coffee Culture et al. All perfect to sit with a good coffee and a good book.
2. The lake view
(Reading: A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara)
Lake Rotoroa in central Hamilton is one of my personal faves! Such a tranquil spot to pick a bench and start reading. Just enough foot traffic to be able to people-watch as well as feel relatively safe, and there’s a café nearby for your coffee needs!
Notable mention: Turtle Lake in Hamilton Gardens. Also a café nearby (notice a theme here?) in case you get hungry, or need a caffeine fix.
- The CBD view
Garden Place is beautiful when the weather’s good, and people are out and about. It’s also a great place to to stop, pick a spare bench or step, and enjoy a reading break while savouring that java. SL28 is just across the road 😉
4. The park view (with bonus river view!)
(Reading: a Mary Scott novel, as suggested by @chamfy at the inaugural twitter book club! A local Hamiltonian author, published by an unfortunately now defunct Hamiltonian publishing house; Hamilton #twitterature at it’s best)
There’s something about being outdoors, with pretty surroundings, that just makes you feel relaxed. All the better for getting into that reading zone! Luckily for us, Hamilton has many beautiful green spots to stop and take a break. Obviously, safety first, try not to be alone in too quiet a spot etc, but otherwise, feel free to enjoy any one of the Tron’s beautiful parks and gardens. This is one of my favourite spots, in Parana/Memorial Park by the river. Just look at that beautiful view! Hamilton, you are a stunner.
Notable mentions: Hamilton Gardens, Wellington St Beach, Rose Gardens by lake
5. The tucked-away-indoors view
Can’t give up that cozy couch? Well, if you must. Try Browsers; a Hamiltonian institution, having been there for more than twenty years, so their booksellers tell me! As soon as you step in, it’s like you’re somewhere else. The hustle and bustle of the main street outside falls away and you feel completely relaxed. That couch that greets you when you walk in just begs for you to pick a read, any read, off the multitude of shelves, then sink in and lose an hour (or few). The best part is they’re open from morning to night, like all good bookshops. Promise I’m not sponsored by Browser’s (but I wouldn’t say no!).
Notable mentions: Hamilton libraries, Lido Cinema – they have coffee and cake and even a cozy nook with a bookshelf filled with books to choose from if you didn’t bring one of your own!
There you have it, a list to choose from next time you feel like venturing out. We sure live in a pretty cool city 😉