The Festival of Books is upon us again, and we've got reading on our minds. Specifically, where we go to do it. Sure, you can flop down on the couch or just lie down in bed. But varsity-level readers know a dedicated spot is key to really getting lost in a great book.
Anne Sage is an interior decorator who lives in Los Angeles and the author of the book "Sage Living." She said creating a book nook is an essential part of honoring ourselves as readers.
"Reading is one of our most precious and valuable ways of escaping and also nurturing our minds and our emotional lives," Sage said. "When we're creating a reading nook, we're almost creating a shrine of sorts, and a moment where we can take of ourselves through the books that we love."
For advice on creating the ultimate dedicated reading space, we turned to Sage and novelist Jane Green, who has 16 New York Times bestsellers and another book, "Falling," due out this July. (Green turned an underutilized dining room in her Westport, Conn., home into a personal office, including space for a book nook!)
Here's what they had to say:
Obviously, a place to sit is critical. Keep your reading style in mind when you're choosing between a bench, a love seat, or an easy chair. "It's about knowing yourself and what your preferences are," Sage said. Get an ottoman if you know you need to stretch out, or choose a wide chair if you like to curl up.
You need to see what you're reading, but not get totally distracted by bright lights. It's a balance. Gooseneck lamps are the perfect solution to lighting woes.
If you're planning on building your nook by a window, make sure it will be lighted naturally during the time of day you like to read.
The seating is part, but not all, of this equation. If you need to be warm to read, keep a blanket artfully draped over the back of a chair. If you absolutely must have a mug of tea, make sure your book nook has a spot to put it down while you turn the pages.
Green said she keeps a big pile of pillows nearby: "It's really about sinking in and shutting out the outside world," she said. "You want a space that almost feels cocooning."
Texture is another important aspect to keep in mind. The seating should have some give — no one likes to read in a stiff chair. Pillows and blankets should be soft and functional, not elaborate and only nice to look at.
Sage said the ultimate book nook is ready for the reader at a moment's notice. The pillows and blankets should already be in place, along with your reading material.
"If you have to gather things together to use the space you're intending to use, that's just one more roadblock you're setting up for yourself," Sage explained.
Here are some more ideas for accessories to up your reading game:
Backrest with light and cupholder
This Sharper Image backrest keeps you upright and well-lighted while giving you a spot to stash your coffee and excess reading material. $129.
Reading pillow light
If you're a late-night reader, you need a unique lighting solution. The Reading Pillow Light could be it. $20.
This pyramid-shaped accessory from easycomforts.com keeps your book, Kindle or tablet upright while giving your arms a break. $15.
Clip-on LED light
This adjustable clip-on reading light has two brightness settings, a padded clip, and has a plug-in charger — no batteries needed. We found it on Amazon for $19.
Personal library kit
Make sure you see your faves again after you loan them out with this set, found on Amazon for $11.