We've all seen those people who can read on the bus and metro while listening to music, and maybe you're even one of them. I personally find it impossible to read with any background noise, but apparently there are those who can do it.
Our city is so beautiful in the summer that you should make the most of being outside, and if reading is your passion and you don't mind a little noise, then here are some places to read around the city and some books that might go well with these locations.
1. Kondiaronk Belvedere
Otherwise known as the famous lookout on the top of Mount Royal, this place has it all: a beautiful view as well as several adirondack chairs for prime reading time and people-watching opportunities. If you also want a tan while reading then this place is perfect, the chairs are almost always in full sun. A fitting book to read while you're there might be "The Orenda" by Joseph Boyden, a book about the strife between the Hurons and Iroquois, since the lookout is named after one of the most important Huron-Wendat chiefs. You could also read "Two Solitudes" by Hugh MacLennan, a book that takes place in Westmount (which you can look down upon from the lookout) about the battle between Montreal's English and French identities.
2. Clock Tower Beach
Slightly more shady than the lookout, thanks to the lounge chairs under beach umbrellas, this location is probably more fitting for those who like a bit more peace and quiet. Located a little out of the way from the crowds in the Old Port and downtown, you get a peaceful view of all the nice yachts as well as the Montreal skyline. The only downside is that if you're over 13 admission is $2, but the atmosphere is worth it. While you're here, you might enjoy reading "Beaches" by Iris Rainer, a book about two women growing up who always reunite at a beach.
3. Mount Royal
We're talking about the side of the mountain with the monument for Sir George-Etienne Cartier, located on Parc avenue. This area is great for the more relaxed type, especially if you go during the week because you certainly won't be bothered by crowds, and the further up the hill you go, the quieter it gets. There's always a place to lie down in the shade or sun, but we suggest bringing a blanket and maybe something to rest your head on while you read. Something fitting to read here would be "Into Thin Air" by Jon Krakauer, a book about climbing Mount Everest. If you've ever walked up Peel or Drummond street to take the stairs all the way up the mountain, then you might feel like you've already experienced that, it just probably didn't end in death.
Photo Cred - Quartier des Spectacles
4. Jardins Gamelin
Surprisingly, the metal chairs in the Jardins Gamelin are quite comfortable, but if you're not into reading completely surrounded by other people, then there's also a selection of adirondack chairs just up the hill from the tables and bar area. This is also a great place to bring a blanket and relax on the grass if chairs aren't for you, although it can get more crowded once work lets out and the evening entertainment kicks in. If you're here, chances are you'd like to read "Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture" by Douglas Coupland, a story about the exploration of the effects of society on one particular generation - fitting because you get to people-watch Montreal's current society.
5. Green space near the St. Gabriel locks, Lachine Canal
If you go biking Eastward down the Lachine Canal from Atwater, you'll come across an area just a few hundred meters after the St. Gabriel locks where there are several giant wooden lounge benches, perfect for reading or napping on. The best part about this location (if you get here by bike, which you probably have) is that when you get bored of your book, you can just hop on your bike and head down the canal for some scenic exercise. A great book to read at this location would be "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, about a young man travelling down the Mississippi River. OK, so the Lachine Canal isn't exactly the Mississippi River, but it's close enough.
6. Any park
Montreal is so full of green spaces that you can honestly leave the house with a book in your hand and travel maybe ten minutes before sitting down on a park bench to read. A few we'd recommend would be Dorchester Square (I mean, Peel Pub and Dunn's within crawling distance?) or for something more relaxing there's a park that looks almost identical to Carré Saint-Louis but in a much quieter location, at rue Saint-Antoine O and Avenue Laporte, right near the Lachine Canal. "The Secret Life of Bees" by Sue Monk Kidd would be an ideal read because, underneath all the heavy racism subject matter, it covers a lot on bees and gardening, perfect for reading in a park.
7. A Café
This list would not be complete without a café to read in, but not your typical Starbucks joint. Something like Caffè in Gamba is a sweet alternative, with a great selection of coffee and plenty of comfortable couches to sit on. They also have a small terrasse if the outdoors is more your thing. While you're here a great book to read would be "A Moveable Feast" by Ernest Hemingway, his memoirs of Paris during the 1920's, where he spends a lot of his time in cafés.