Some people could read on the median strip of the 405 Freeway at rush hour. Others consider where they read as important as what they read.
Naturally, the public library is at the top of any real reader's list. A random sampling indicates that other favorite reading sites include easy chairs, hot tubs, bath tubs, exercise bicycles, parks, poolside at Palm Springs, lift lines at Mammoth, the deck of a cruise ship, any good beach and any soft bed in home or hotel.
Here are a few more suggestions:
Explore the library's two art galleries, observe scholars poring over rare volumes in the library proper, take a look at the fine books and manuscripts on display in the exhibition hall, then head off into the 130-acre botanical garden.
It's unlikely that the librarian will let you check out the collection's Guttenberg Bible or its early 15th-Century manuscript of Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales." But you're welcome to bring a paperback and prop up against a tree amid the fountains, flowers and sculpture.
1151 Oxford Road, San Marino
1-4:30 p.m. daily. Closed Mondays and major holidays.
Sunday, advance reservations required
Suggested donation: $2
In Spanish, descanso means "peace and rest." Descanso Gardens, with 75 cultivated acres of oaks, flowers, duck ponds and birds lives up to its name. Plant yourself on a bench or in a gazebo and let a good book blossom in your imagination. Readers are also welcome in the garden's tea house.
1418 Descanso Drive, La Canada Flintridge. Seven days a week, 9-4:30
Children under 5: free
Seniors and students: 75 cents
Upstart Crow, bookshop/coffee -house/restaurant
Browse through the books, pick up something you can't wait to read, then don't--just step over to the coffee bar or onto the patio and dive in. Famous authors in black and white photos read over your shoulder from the walls. On Sunday a string quartet may accompany your excursion into the realm of Proust. Live music other evenings. Poetry readings first Monday of every month.
3810 South Plaza Drive,
South Coast Plaza Village, Santa Ana.
9 a.m.-11 p.m. Mon.-Fri.
9 a.m.-midnight Sat.
9 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun.
There are also two Upstart Crow bookstores in San Diego: 4405 La Jolla Village Drive/ University Town Center
835 West Harbor Drive, Sea Port Village
Zeitlin & Ver Brugge Bookstore
A Pennsylvania-style, red wooden barn houses this bookstore, which is of particular interest if you're particularly interested in rare books on science, medicine or the arts. The general reader is also welcome to read or join in on informal literary discussions around the store's fireplace. An upstairs art gallery looks down on the store.
815 N. La Cienega Blvd.
Actors Center of Los Angeles
On Feb. 1, Larry Edmunds Cinema and Theatre Book Shop, in Hollywood since 1935, opens an annex in the Actors Center in Studio City. If you're an actor ("And around here, who's not?" a spokesman asks) you're invited to stop by to buy a book or script and read it in the lobby's conversation pit, in the actors' lounge, or in the cafe.
11969 Ventura Blvd., Studio City
9 a.m.-midnight weekdays
11-5 on Sunday
Amtrak's Starlight Express or San Diegan
Read your way from L.A.'s Union Station to Santa Barbara or San Diego, and admire the landscape when you come up for air.
Los Angeles to San Diego, seven trips each Sat. and Sun. approximately 2 hours and 40 minutes
$22.50 one way, 29.50 round trip
From Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, one trip each Sat. and Sun.
$23 one way, $46 round trip
Reservations 1-800-USA Rail
UCLA's Franklin K. Murphy Sculpture - Gardens
Just outside UCLA's main library, the garden boasts approximately 35 sculptures by such artists as Jean Arp, Henry Matisse, and Henry Moore, as well as benches and grass areas upon which readers might recline.
405 Hilgard Ave., UCLA
Open all the time.
The Beyond Baroque Foundation
In the old Venice City Hall building, Beyond Baroque offers a library specializing in small-press releases; a bookstore that's big on poetry; and its "funky little reading room" has the ideal atmosphere for absorbing such fare. You can also check out tapes of any of the many poetry readings the foundation has sponsored over the years.
681 Venice Blvd. in the old Venice City Hall
The Braille Institute
About 18,000 Southern Californians are registered to use the Braille Institute's library. If you are blind or visually impaired you are welcome to borrow braille books and books on tape or record, and to use the library's two reading rooms to listen to recorded books. The library also has a closed-circuit television system that magnifies the text of regular small print books.
4205 Melrose Ave.
Open Mon.-Fri. 8:30-5
Tuesday till 8
Library (213) 660-3880
A National Forest / The Santa Monica - Mountains Recreation Area.