Category: Special Features

A Reading Nook to Wish For….

Who doesn’t want an amazing READING NOOK?!? If you’re a reader, you’ve surely imagined your ideal nook for your favorite activity: reading.

Perhaps you’ve created a Pinterest board, like me, with ideas of what that reading nook might look like. Perhaps you’ve scoured furniture and antique shops, keeping in mind all the while how a certain piece might or might not fit into that dream nook taking shape in your mind. It’s true, the possibilities are endless, but there are times when we have to start making decisions about which pieces to choose for our nook.

Peter Hess

There are several kinds of reading nooks I would absolutely love, but in this post, I’m sharing with you a handful of pieces from the gorgeous furniture supplier, Arhaus, that would work flawlessly for my nook!

The first essential piece for my reading nook is an excellent chaise, and I found an example of one here:

 

Of course I’ll need a bookshelf or two near my reading nook so I can have easy access to my titles.

This Telegraph Wide Bookcase in White from Arhaus is lovely–I haven’t completely decided exactly where it would be positioned in relation to my chaise, but it’s not going to be far.

Some reading nooks might not even need a chaise because the “ledge” of the window seat provides the seating. You can find some examples here.

As we readers know LIGHTING is so important for the perfect reading nook. I adore this Pendant Lighting choice:

I have to say, though, that I am also drawn to this Sconce in Antique Rust. It would add a fantastic dimension to my nook. There are a whole host of lighting possibilities you can find on the Arhaus website. If you are seeking out lighting possibilities for your own reading nook, I suggest you look here.

After taking a look at some of the Vintage Furniture on the Arhaus site, I realized that I wouldn’t mind this coffee table to be positioned not far from me. I love a good coffee table and one is essential for book displays!

Lovely, isn’t it? You’ll find even more table options for your nook on the Arhaus website. There are plenty of options to choose from to make sure you have the perfect piece on which to display some of your books in your nook!

I can’t end this post without at least one more comfy chair I would absolutely adore for my nook. Check out this Leather Tufted Chair in Bronco Whiskey. It looks so cozy I could just sink into it this very moment!

If you’d like to see even more ideas, you can check out my pinterest board here.

What about you? What pieces would make up your ideal reading nook and where would you begin searching? Online? Antique shops? A new furniture shop? A used furniture shop? Or do you already have pieces in your home that would create the ideal nook? Do tell!

What Katie Read

If We Were Having Coffee (Valentine’s Day Edition)

Hello, Friends! It’s been awhile, but I’m incredibly happy to share a new blog post with you today. And I hope you’re excited because….we’re going out for coffee.

**The “If We Were Having Coffee” feature came from Jamie at Perpetual Page Turner, who actually discovered it on another blog.

If we were having coffee, I would hope you had chosen a coffee beverage you really enjoy and that you would have ordered it in a cup “for here.” I would also hope you had a slice of cake to go along with your coffee.

I would ask you if you were enjoying the snow. I would mention that I don’t mind the cold so much, because growing up in Northern California meant that our winters didn’t always bring snow. I like the four seasons, and I appreciate the wardrobe change. I’d ask you how you were coping with the colder weather and what you thought of the notion of these bits of fluffy cotton falling from the sky…

If we were having coffee, I would ask you if you had an upcoming winter break, like I do. I would mention that I’m visiting Italy with friends for the week, and that it’s my fourth trip to that beautiful country. Though I have been to Florence before, it was only for a few days. I’m pleased to be returning for longer. Florence is that magical kind of place you imagine you could visit periodically for the rest of your life. The last time I was there I tried to imagine what it was like for Lucy Honeychurch to encounter George Emerson in Room with a View. I plan to re-read E.M. Forster’s classic while in Florence. I’d ask you if you’d been to Italy or other European destinations. I’d wonder if there were places you return to again and again. 

I would mention that it is only recently I could even get excited about going to Italy. My job in the School Library has been so busy this year–so many classes to teach and an entire library to manage! You would think that being surrounded by so many books would mean you could get loads and loads of reading done, but it’s not exactly like that. It has been challenging at times to keep up with my reading and, as you know, to update this blog. I want that to change! You wouldn’t believe the amazing books I’ve been reading over the past few months. I think you’ll also be excited about all the wonderful titles I picked up from ALA Midwinter in Atlanta in January.

To be honest, I don’t even like saying I’m “busy.”  I want people to think they could ask me to sit down for a coffee at any time. Or even that they could drop by and I would have a pie made from scratch to offer.

That doesn’t seem the norm—this is a busy culture and sometimes it seems you have to plan a coffee meeting weeks and weeks out. How I miss the days of hearing a knock on the door and seeing a friend! I would ask you what you thought of spontaneous coffee outings, and if you had any strategies for navigating our busy culture.

So, if we were having coffee, I would tell you how happy I am you took the time to sit down and talk. I would appreciate being able to tell you what’s happening with me, and I would be thankful to hear what’s going on with you. I would ask you if you needed a refill of your coffee.

I would tell you that recently I’ve been wondering why I chose to live so far away from my family. For some reason, it has felt more difficult, and it seems as if those 3,000 miles might as well be 30,000. I would reflect that you can’t really get the California out of me. There’s a bit of London there too. I would mention that I’m thinking about Londoners right now, in the swirl of winter, and that I so enjoyed speaking with my dear friends in Oxford (along with their dog, Bramble, barking in the background) on Sunday afternoon. I would ask you if you’ve ever lived in another country or state and what it was like leaving that place.

If we were having coffee, I would ask you what you were reading. I would say that I have so many good books lined up to read, and that I recently read a historical novel called When We Meet Again, by an author I met at ALA this past summer in Orlando. I would ask you if you knew that German prisoners of war had been sent to work on farms in Florida after WWII. I might mention that there were probably many German soldiers in the war that didn’t really support Hitler, but were caught up in a horrendous world event that would send them far, far away from where they were born. I would ask you if your perspective about people changes when you read historical fiction, and what you think about the power of literature to change people’s hearts and minds. I would ask you if you love history and what historical period you would go to, should you be granted the ability to time travel.

If we were having coffee, we might be figuring out our next coffee meeting. I would mention that it should happen again sooner, rather than later.

As we were finishing our coffee, I would mention that I really miss blogging. I remember when I blogged almost every day, when I was working from home. I miss those days of sharing my thoughts about every book I read and participating in the Top Ten Tuesday every week. I would share the ideas I have for blogging in 2017, and you would know I’m really excited about it. I would mention that instead of just writing book review posts, I hope to share my thoughts about some other subjects….such as a research project I’m planning with a favorite video game. I would ask you what you think of stories in different mediums, and whether you were currently playing any intriguing games.

So, go ahead….tell me! Grab your coffee and take a break from receiving all those roses and chocolates (or giving them) and let’s catch up. I’m excited for the weeks ahead on the blog, and I can’t wait to hear what you’ve been up to and reading!

What Katie Read

Falling in Love with Books: The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton

Falling in Love with Books: The Secret Keeper by Kate MortonThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Published by Pan on January 1st 1970
Genres: Adult, Historical
Pages: 602
Goodreads

During a summer party at the family farm in the English countryside, sixteen-year-old Laurel Nicolson has escaped to her childhood tree house and is happily dreaming of the future. She spies a stranger coming up the long road to the farm and watches as her mother speaks to him. Before the afternoon is over, Laurel will witness a shocking crime. A crime that challenges everything she knows about her family and especially her mother, Dorothy—her vivacious, loving, nearly perfect mother.
Now, fifty years later, Laurel is a successful and well-regarded actress living in London. The family is gathering at Greenacres farm for Dorothy’s ninetieth birthday. Realizing that this may be her last chance, Laurel searches for answers to the questions that still haunt her from that long-ago day, answers that can only be found in Dorothy’s past.
Dorothy’s story takes the reader from pre–WWII England through the blitz, to the ’60s and beyond. It is the secret history of three strangers from vastly different worlds—Dorothy, Vivien, and Jimmy—who meet by chance in wartime London and whose lives are forever entwined. The Secret Keeper explores longings and dreams and the unexpected consequences they sometimes bring. It is an unforgettable story of lovers and friends, deception and passion that is told—in Morton’s signature style—against a backdrop of events that changed the world.

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Welcome to Callie from Of Life and Literature, who is joining us for Falling in Love with Books today. She has a very special choice for her book today–ENJOY!

Let me start by asking you a question.

When someone says the words historical fiction to you, what do you imagine?

Give it some thought.

The historical fiction genre, for me, conjures up a plethora of images in my head.

From sword wielding soldiers, medieval castles, tales of war to an insight into the domestic times of days gone by. Historical fiction encompasses so many different types of stories that it can be difficult to pick a book out of the swathes on offer, feeling confident that it will be the read you are searching for.

Step into any bookshop and you could spend hours searching the shelves, baffled by the options before you.

Three years ago I was in that very situation.

Having spent a good few months ploughing my way through the ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’ series by George. R. R. Martin I was more than ready for a break from the bleak world the Stark’s and the Lannister’s. I needed something that would offer me a different kind of escape to that of the fantasy realms of King’s Landing, Winterfell and the danger of the Wall.

So I visited my local Waterstones and spent a few hours wandering its many floors. One book caught my eye and I kept going back to it. It had a dazzling green front cover, the promise of escape entwined within its depiction of a young lady hiding herself from view in a picturesque garden and the title ‘The Secret Keeper’ gave the novel an air of mystery that I just couldn’t resist. The author was Kate Morton; a writer I was familiar with. I had enjoyed her book ‘The Forgotten Garden’ so I was sure that ‘The Secret Keeper’ was going to be a good choice.

I took it home and I read the book in three days. I adored it. I thrust it into my Mum’s hands straight away and recommended it to every person I could.

‘The Secret Keeper’ follows the journey of Laurel Nicolson as she tries to unravel her elderly mothers past. It is sparked by a catalyst in Laurel’s young life, an event that she had managed to hide away in her mind until she realises that, with her mother’s health deteriorating, she may never get the answers she needs. What follows is a mesmerizing journey through the life of Dorothy Nicolson, with so many twists and turns that I can promise you just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, you won’t have.

Kate Morton is an exceptionally talented writer. She has a knack of drawing you in and making you fall completely in love with her characters. Her books are typically set in different eras, with each section flitting back and forth in time. She brings each time period to life in such a beautiful and nostalgic way that you cannot help but feel a connection.

And that is why ‘The Secret Keeper’ is the perfect book to make any reader fall in love with historical fiction. It strikes the perfect balance between historical, mystery, romance and family saga. It encompasses all of these different genres with the historical aspect lying at its heart.

This book is for anyone who wants to escape to a different time but doesn’t want the heavy, fact laden tombs that are normally attributed to the genre. Morton paints the 30s and 40s in ‘The Secret Keeper’ in a way that belies the in-depth research she puts in to every single one of her books. Whilst you are reading it, it almost feels as if you are staring through a window, watching the events unfold. The past doesn’t feel as though it is held at arms-length as it can with some historical novels. You feel as though you are surrounded by history, transported to the time period, with the characters as real to you as the people you know in real life.

What’s even better is that Morton’s novels are full of twists and turns. The jaunts back to the past inform what is happening in the present. She showcases just how important the past can be whether it is on a large or more personal scale. You cannot help but keep turning the pages, urging the story on as there are twists and turns in every section. Morton keeps you hooked until the very end.

‘The Secret Keeper’ by Kate Morton is a perfect representative for the historical fiction genre.

Once you pick it up you won’t be able to put it down.

Thank you, Callie! As many of you know, I adore Kate Morton and all her books, and I was very excited when I discovered that Callie chose to highlight THE SECRET KEEPER for her guest post! What a wonderful glimpse into the delight of THE SECRET KEEPER. If you enjoy historical fiction and you haven’t encountered Kate Morton’s books, you simply must sit down with one of her stories ASAP!

What Katie Read
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