And now my choices:
1. The Winding Stair Bookshop, Dublin, 1990s
Apparently this famous bookshop/cafe in Dublin overlooking the River Liffey has closed and re-opened since we were there, so I don't know if the atmosphere is as bookishly magical as it was when Peter and I spent several long and happy Irish afternoons there...reading.
2. The Accademia Pensione, Venezia, December 2005.
I don't think there are very many places in the world where I've been more delighted, exalted, happy, than in Venice. After a day of showing Venice to Paul (it was his first trip there), to come back to the beautiful Accademia (a former palazzo, later the site of the Katherine Hepburn movie Summertime) and relax by the fire with a book and a cup of cappucino, was very heaven. When we left, the staff bid farewell to the "cappuccinistas," we drank so many of them!
3. The Novel Cafe (now known as 212 Pier),
Santa Monica, California
By rights, the Novel should have come first. After all, this venerable bookshop/cafe is where all three of us have done most of our reading and writing daily (and nightly) for the last twenty years. But it's so familiar, so every day, that beloved as it is, I began the list with the glamorous exotic ones instead! In any case, this list isn't in any particular order: it couldn't be.
4. Lake Temagami, Canada. Most peaceful place where we've ever read.
5. Tamarack Lodge, Mammoth. An old favorite.
Is calling Bearpaw our most beloved spot on earth going too far? No. We've been to this back country tent camp, a 12 mile hike up the High Sierra Trail in Sequoia, maybe 40 times. Don't know how many more times we'll be able to make the hike. But it's our personal heaven...and a wonderful place to read.
7. New York City - home town life
New York's our home town and when we go back to visit family, we often stay at my cousin the rabbi's apartment...which was his father the rabbi's apartment before it was his. I remember Seders here, back in the 1950s. A lot of family memories...and a lot of great reading.
8. Greenwich Village...back in the day.
Cafe Figaro, as it looked in the '60s, when Peter and I first met there, age 17 and 19. Me in Washington Square Park, 40 years on, sitting in the same spot as in my avatar picture.
9. Homer, Alaska.
One of our greatest trips...and my high school friend Denise's cabin is cozy, full of character, and a great place to read.
10. And best of all - at home in bed with a cat!