It’s easy to have a romanticized view of the perfect place to curl up with a book. For me, it’s probably some combination of a window seat overlooking acres of gorgeous woodland and a plush chair pulled up to a fire with snow falling outside. Unfortunately, I don’t happen to live on acres of gorgeous woodland, and, if you’ve lived in Siloam Springs for long, you know snowy windows are in short supply. What’s your ideal reading nook?
Chances are, neither of us can create exactly what we dream of when it comes to cozying up with a favorite book, but for many of us, finding a physical spot to read isn’t the problem, it’s finding the space in our schedules. This is the first step to creating a reading retreat in your home.
Start by remembering why reading is important. Reading is an investment in your mind. Depending on what you’re reading, it can also be an investment in your imagination, your career, your education, or even your spiritual life. What value does reading add to your life? You’re thinking about this question because there will always be other stuff to do: phone calls to make, errands to run, and business to take care of. You need to remind yourself why reading is worth your time.
Next, think of a time when you could realistically take 20 minutes to read. For many people, this is probably in the morning or evening. Designate your time and explain to your family or roommates that you’ve scheduled this time for reading. No need to be stingy about this─invite them to retreat with a favorite book too! Set a timer at the beginning of your reading time if necessary, so you won’t be distracted wondering if you’ve lost track of time. Remember, you planned to spend 20 minutes reading, so you aren’t missing something you were “supposed” to be doing.
Congratulations! You’ve carved out space for reading! Now, let’s go back to our dream reading nook. Where do you like to sit when you read? Try to make it a spot where you won’t be distracted. What will catch your eye when you glance up from your book? Place items in your line of sight that will inspire you to keep reading. Maybe an open window, a candle, a large bookshelf, a special memento etc.
Next, what do you want to hear? Some of us have the luxury of a quiet home, but others of us may need to get creative with a sound machine or instrumental music. You can find all kinds of background music and sounds online. Then, what would you like to smell? A scented candle, diffuser, or potpourri can do the trick here. You might also think about the temperature of your space. Will you want an extra blanket? A personal fan?
Once you have these elements in place, it should only take a minute to settle in. Keep your space sacred. Don’t let yourself drop off the mail in this spot or use it as a holding zone for clutter to pick up “later.” Don’t do it!
We’ve talked about the where’s and how’s of reading, but what about the who? It’s important to have a private space just for you, but maybe you need a second space where your kids or grandkids can snuggle up with you. A guest day bed filled with throw pillows may be the perfect place. Maybe it’s as easy as adding a basket of books to the side of your living room couch. Maybe there is a special “reading snack” that you keep in the drawer of an end table just for reading time. Think of how to make reading time special for the people who are special to you.
You may find many other “reading nooks” as you go about your daily life. These are spontaneous spaces: the doctor’s office, the in-between-ball-games bleachers, long lines etc. Summer is a great place to find reading nooks on vacation.
I was inspired by one of our patrons who is finding space to read on the Appalachian Trail this summer! Below, see Laurel Granderson’s reading nook by the trail. She’s enjoying her Library Kindle account as she reads Red Rising by Pierce Brown. Laurel’s mom reported at the time of the photo: “We are in Pennsylvania at the New Tripoli campsite, mile 1,247 of the Appalachian Trail. Our family started the trail back in 2017. This is our third summer on the AT, and we are more than halfway.” Thanks for the inspiration Granderson Family!
But you don’t have to travel across the country to find reading spots outside your home. We’ve got several cozy corners right here at the Library.If you have a favorite reading nook, or if this blog inspires you to create one, e-mail a picture to us at email@example.com. We’d love to share it on this blog, on social media, or around the Library.