Winter is over, to be sure, but has there ever been a better time to hibernate than now?
Having a reading nook, or even a space set aside for reading in your home enables you to relax in a comfortable chair, and escape reality through the magic of the written word. Reading nooks aren’t confined to reading, however. These quiet mini-sanctuaries, generally away from the hustle and bustle of household activities, are ideal spots for chatting on the telephone, listening to music, journaling or simply unwind.
If you don’t have a special spot in which to read, there are only two required ingredients – good light (natural or artificial are both fine), and comfort. Comfortable seating, lush fabrics and plush pillows are also necessary to make the space as inviting as possible. You want it to beckon you to visit it as often as possible. Finally, a small side table for refreshments to rest upon is a must.
Susan Thornton, a self-proclaimed “book hoarder,” said she has them stored all around the house.
“Books in baskets, on side tables, on bookshelves – they are all over the house,” she said. “I read everywhere – in the bathtub, in bed, in my living room recliner, in the car. However, my very favorite reading spot is my wicker chaise lounge, overlooking my backyard pool and beautiful palms and marsh views.”
Thornton also eschews tablets, preferring the feel, smell and “rich heaviness of a real book.” The book that started her obsession was “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeleine L’Engle, introduced to her by her sixth grade teacher.
“It showed me that books magically lift you to another place,” she said. “I continually seek those new places, especially during trying times. Instead of stocking up on toilet paper and water, I was at the library loading up on every book imaginable when the pandemic news hit our community and world.”
Thornton’s favorite book as an adult is “The Story of Edgar Sawtelle, the debut novel by David Wroblewski. She hopes he’ll write another soon. The Wroblewski novel is a retelling of William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” set in rural Wisconsin. The protagonist is a boy with mutism, who, following his father’s murder, runs away from home only to return to prove his suspicions that his uncle is the murderer.
“Most recently, I’ve discovered Jane Harper, an Australian author, whose crime thrillers are excellent, and get better and better with each one she writes,” she said.
Anne Peck, owner of Righton books, on St. Simons Island, has created a warm, soft zone in which to read.
“(It’s) very cozy at night, but there is a grand marsh view during the day,” she said. “Right now, I’m reading this magnificent doorstep of a book, (‘4321’ by Paul Auster, 850 pages) for a Righton Books book club. I needed to sink my teeth into some epic storytelling.”
The novel tells the story of Archie Ferguson at four different times, in four different versions. According to the publisher Grupo Planeta, in each version, he grows up with the same parents, many of the same friends and the same girlfriend. In the book, Ferguson, as he is called, experiences different relationships with each version of his story. Subsequently, his lives take diverse paths, and he suffers some identity issues, as his stories move through his home life, his college years, his love life and his political ideals. Set in Newark, N.J., New York City, Paris and London in the 1950s and 1960s, as Archie Ferguson lives his young adult years, events, such as the Vietnam war, Civil Rights movement, the Kennedy election and assassination and white flight from Newark, are all addressed.
Avid reader Helen O’Donoghue also has a cozy reading spot in her home, complete with comfortable chairs and a readily accessible bookshelf.
“I just finished ‘Pocketful of Names,’” by Joe Coomer,” she said. “Loved it.”
Coomer’s book set on an island off the coast of Maine, weaves a tale about Hannah, who inherited the island from her great-uncle. In the book, Hannah’s solitary life is repeatedly interrupted by a series of unexpected visitors, beginning with a dog that arrives with the tide.
Lisa Lord is a voracious reader, and it shows. She has several bookshelves throughout her home, and a cute, traditional-style book nook where she can read to her heart’s content. A well-cushioned wicker chair, complete with footrest, is situated next to a bookshelf, complete with a light to read by. Asking her for book recommendations is moot.
“I’m terrible at recommending books because my list goes on forever, and I dither too much over it,” she said.
Anne Hurley is an author and book lover. One of her favorite spots in her home is the nook she created for prayer and the reading of sacred texts. (right) The simple area is defined by its rocking chair, simple table and lamp and bookshelf filled with religious texts, icons and other spiritual objects. She also has a larger bookcase for the rest of her reading material in an adjacent room.
“My nook is a sun-splashed sunporch and a comfy recliner,” said Jim Henderson. “You can see my Kindle in the chair, along with a chilled libation close at hand at the table.”
“Never Have I Ever,” by Decatur resident Joshilyn Jackson, is his current favorite book.
In it, Jason weaves a tale about what happens when the sins of one’s past catch up with them.
Publisher Harper-Collins states the book is a “diabolically entertaining tale of betrayal, deception, temptation and love filled with dark twists leavened by Joshilyn Jackson’s trademark humor. ‘Never Have I Ever’ explores what happens when the transgressions of our past come back with a vengeance.”
And who says one has to read indoors?
The Meyers brothers, Walker, 8, and Kaden, 5 prefer reading outdoors in their hammocks on the banks of Dunbar Creek.
With social distancing being in place these days, it’s hard to think of a better spot.