Reading and Drinking in Public, Quietly

February 19, 2014

Once a month, the Fireside Room at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle holds a popular silent reading party. On the first Wednesday of every month, patrons are invited to bring a book, grab a drink, sit by the fire, and read. There are no open discussions, each person reads their own individual material, and no one reads aloud. The event opens at six, and by seven there are no seats left. The attendees range from couples on first dates to those just wanting a quiet place to read, lawyers, artists, musicians, and furniture makers.

The unique aspect of the event is the atmosphere elicited by the comfortable ambience of strangers in close quarters, free of the pressures of small talk, engaged in the same activity. The concept for this event began when employees of The Stranger, a Seattle-based news publication, decided to read together after work, rather than going home and reading alone. When they parted ways, the idea to host an event similar at the Sorrento surfaced and has been doing well ever since.

“Nothing happens. No one ever addresses the room. No one reads anything at you through a microphone,” wrote Christopher Frizzelle, editor-in-chief of The Stranger. “You just sit and read and get waited on, and leave whenever you feel like it.”

Source: The Stranger

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