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

The Unquenchable Faith that Saved Thousands of Children: Irena’s Children

The Unquenchable Faith that Saved Thousands of Children: Irena’s ChildrenIrena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children from the Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar J. Mazzeo
on September 26, 2017
Genres: Adult, Nonfiction
Pages: 317
Goodreads

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Widow Clicquot comes an extraordinary and gripping account of Irena Sendler—the “female Oskar Schindler”—who took staggering risks to save 2,500 children from death and deportation in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II. In 1942, one young social worker, Irena Sendler, was granted access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist. While there, she reached out to the trapped Jewish families, going from door to door and asking the parents to trust her with their young children. She started smuggling them out of the walled district, convincing her friends and neighbors to hide them. Driven to extreme measures and with the help of a network of local tradesmen, ghetto residents, and her star-crossed lover in the Jewish resistance, Irena ultimately smuggled thousands of children past the Nazis. She made dangerous trips through the city’s sewers, hid children in coffins, snuck them under overcoats at checkpoints, and slipped them through secret passages in abandoned buildings. But Irena did something even more astonishing at immense personal risk: she kept secret lists buried in bottles under an old apple tree in a friend’s back garden. On them were the names and true identities of those Jewish children, recorded with the hope that their relatives could find them after the war. She could not have known that more than ninety percent of their families would perish. In Irena’s Children, Tilar Mazzeo tells the incredible story of this courageous and brave woman who risked her life to save innocent children from the Holocaust—a truly heroic tale of survival, resilience, and redemption.

“Heroes,” she said, “do extraordinary things. What I did was not an extraordinary thing. It was normal.” (262-263)

I arrived in Orlando at ALA Annual last year, with a nonfiction book on my list to pick up, Irena’s Children. I secured an ARC, and recently finished the book during a flight from Boston to Atlanta for ALA Midwinter. I can tell you that this book is fantastic!

The story of Irena and her group of courageous individuals working to save the lives of children during an incredibly dark time in world history was intense, inspiring, beautiful, heartrending, and miraculous!

I don’t often post reviews of nonfiction titles, but this is one book I would recommend that EVERYONE read. Sometimes the truth is as wondrous and as strange as fiction. In the case of Tilar J. Mazzeo’s text, that notion is incredibly true.

The book is set up in chronological order, and charts Irena’s journey as a young woman first becoming concerned with the plight of Jewish children in Nazi-occupied Poland, and eventually moving to become a major player in the Polish resistance. Many different characters are introduced as they relate to the vast and courageous network of individuals who worked with Irena to smuggle children out of the Warsaw ghetto. This collaboration had Irena at its head, but around twenty to twenty-five other individuals played important roles. Mazzeo points out as well, that the actual number of people who took part to help save these children are actually “dozens upon dozens.”

The pacing of the story is perfect–including details and scenes of what took place as Irena and her network worked through truly terrifying and high pressure situations in order to thwart the Nazis and rescue Jewish children out of the Warsaw Ghetto. Mazzeo provides plenty of relevant and interesting information about Irena, born in 1910, and continues to strengthen the narrative by also describing the people with whom Irena connected earlier in her life, that would later play a role in her work to save children.

Can you imagine facing the pressure of separating hundreds of children from their parents, and somehow keeping a secret record of where those children were hidden and their real names so that they could be later connected with their parents after the war?!? I can only begin to imagine what a monumental and perhaps stressful task this must have been. Sadly, the vast majority of parents ended up perishing by the end of the war. The book does refer to the emotional pain that Irena experienced at forcing, out of necessity, a child to leave his/her mother and father. How could you explain to a two year old that he/she has no choice but to leave a beloved parent? It’s almost unthinkable.

Irena is basically considered the female “Oskar Schindler” but, as this book attests, her identity as a resilient and brave woman who achieved the extraordinary can stand on its own. Irena isn’t the only “hero” in this book, however. Mazzeo portrays many other figures who assisted Irena in her courageous attempt to save children from a terrible fate.

FINAL THOUGHTS

This book was both gripping and difficult to read. It depicted a timeline of events I sometimes didn’t want to think about, and yet, it was a timeline of events I had an obligation to read about. And to encourage others to read about. What Irena and her network accomplished should be honored and remembered. The children who perished during the Holocaust should be remembered. The children who endured the most difficult of circumstances during this period in history should be remembered. For all these reasons and more, read Irena’s Children.

For here is an important book. A necessary book. A book you must read, even if it is the only book you read all year.

What Katie Read

Top Ten Books on my Spring TBR

Spring 2017 will see a handful of anticipated books published, and so today I share with you some of the titles that are on the top of my TBR. I picked up a handful of them at ALA Midwinter, so that means I can jump into many of these right away. But…I also share a few backlist titles that I’m adding to the stack.

It’s as it has always been: So many books and so little time!

This weekly meme is hosted by The Broke and Bookish—check out their blog and join in any week you like.

Here’s what they have to say about Top Ten Tuesday: “Top Ten Tuesday is a fun weekly link-up in the community where we provide a prompt and other lovers of listmaking join in on it with their own top ten list. Feel free to have less than 10 or more if you need to at times and put a spin on the topic if you need to! Just please link back to us if you are participating :).”

STRANGE THE DREAMER

I was lucky enough to snag an ARC of this at ALA Midwinter and I’ve already started reading it. Suffice it to say that however high your hopes are about this one, you can elevate them higher.

A COURT OF WINGS AND RUIN

I’ve been holding off reading A Court of Mist and Fury but you can bet I’ll have read it by the time this title is released. I’m anxious to know how Feyre’s journey is going to unfold.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD

We know this won the National Book Award, and everything I have heard about this book convinces me it will be a heartrending and emotional read, but it will be worth it.

THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE

I’m really looking forward to another historical novel set just after World War II. I can’t get enough fiction set in this time period, especially if it is well-researched. The Goodreads description says this fits readers of The Nightingale, Sarah’s Key, and The Light Between Oceans. I loved all of those books!!

HOUR OF THE BEES

Another title I’ve wanted to read for awhile about “family, renewal, and discovering the wonder of the world.”

BEYOND THE BRIGHT SEA

I read an ARC of this and I give it all the stars. I can’t wait to hold a finished copy in my hands and I will work to convince every reader to pick this one up!

THE SHADOW CIPHER (YORK #1)

I read and loved Laura Ruby’s BONE GAP so if she’s written a Middle Grade novel, you bet I’m going to be excited about it.

THE PEARL THIEF

A prequel for CODE NAME VERITY! I have no words.

FLAMECASTER

I know Shadowcaster is due out this spring, but I still need to read Flamecaster, and that is quickly becoming a priority.

SONG OF THE CURRENT

This sounds thrilling and look at that luminous cover. I see that the early reviews are positive so I’m planning on reading this one ASAP.

This is an amazing list, I know! I’m curious to know if any of these titles are on your lists or if there are any books you think I absolutely must add to my Spring TBR. Do tell! Happy Reading!

What Katie Read
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