Behind the Shelves: My Dream Reading Space

I was chatting with my friends over at Arhaus and I felt inspired to create a blog post about my dream reading space. What book lover among us has not dreamed – at length – about a home library? Or the absolute perfect space to curl up with piles and piles of books at length?

Personally, I’ve been dreaming about my book nook for as long as I can remember. Probably as long as I’ve been reading. The “look” has changed over the years but the concept never has. I’ve always wanted a place for just me and my books.

My favorite Disney movie has always been Beauty and the Beast, and I think a large part of that is Belle and her love of books. I would stare awestruck as she used the ladder to move deftly around the bookstore, and I practically cried at the thought of having the Beast’s library at my disposal. There is something magical about having a space for your books—one that feels comfy, cozy, and absolutely your own.


chari.jpegThis reading chair. Because, oh my god, that pattern left me looking like the heart-eye emoji.

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This sectional sofa. See that long portion on the right? You can find me lounging there with a book for the rest of my life. Honestly, all of their sectionals look dreamy and super comfortable.


Can we talk about this amazing bookshelf? I will need at least three (okay, maybe four) of them for mine and my boyfriend’s books. I’ve yet to meet a bookshelf I didn’t like but I’ve also never met one I like as much as this one. (Side note: the ladder would definitely help me unleash my inner Belle).


I’ve always wanted an accent wall in my dream reading space. I am absolutely drooling over both of these prints: one and two. Just stunning.

rug.jpegMy reading space would ideally have hardwood floors which means it would need a rug, and I found the perfect one. It’s simple yet it makes a statement.

coffeetable2.jpgI love this simple marble/wood coffee table. Maybe some people are over the marble trend but I certainly am not. It’s just so clean and sleek.

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 1.35.05 PM.pngObviously, I will need this tray to put on top of the coffee table to plop all the books I’m currently reading. I mean can you please look at those twig handles? Perfection.

These funky end tables would be the perfect place to put my coffee, tea, seltzer, or any of the 50 drinks I tend to hoard during a reading binge.

planter.jpgPlants would be essential in my dream reading space and this planter is just too cute. I would probably have more than one (okay, definitely more than one).
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I already know that this lamp will provide a perfect spotlight on my reading — though they have so many lamps I could have chosen from. And this aptly named “Bell Jar Table Lamp” will be perfect on my hexagon end table.


This adorable basket to hold all my blankets. I tend to read under a fuzzy blanket even in the summer. Speaking of: I’d love to have this blanket (and probably this throw too).


Candles. So many candles. No, seriously, all of the candles.

Last, but not least (never least), books. Hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of books. In my dream library, I have so many books and I have time to read them all and then some. Though having that kind of time is another dream entirely.

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What would you put in your dream reading space? How often do you think of your own? Or do you already have your dream book nook? If so, describe it below!

Photo by Flickr User Stephanie Overton licensed under Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0).


FRESH INK (6/14/17)

All the links you need to see before the fresh ink dries. 


Meet our new U.S. Poet Laureate, Tracy K. Smith | Los Angeles Times

A poem, necessarily, sits at a register that’s different from our usual conversational voices. You have to listen more actively to get to the heart of what’s being said, what you as a reader or listener are being asked to feel, or notice.

As of today, the Library of Congress has announced that Tracey K. Smith would be the 22nd Poet Laureate. It’s a huge honor that could not have been given to a more talented person – Tracey K. Smith is poetry personified (also, oh my god, she’s only 45 !!) The Los Angeles Times has a Q&A in their books section with Smith and it’s a lovely look into her life, her craft, and what she hopes to do with her new position.

Roxane Gay Promotes New Book and Calls Out Podcast for ‘Fat-Phobia’ | The New York Times

During the phone interview on Tuesday, Ms. Gay said: “I want people to be thinking about the book and judging the book on its own merits. I wrote a book about fatness in the world, and I wanted to expand the conversations that we have about different kinds of bodies.”

If you’re like me, you love, respect, and will read anything Roxane Gay writes (including her amazing tweets). If you’re like me, you also watched as an Australian website’s horrifically fat-phobic interview tried to overshadow Gay’s publication day for Hunger, her memoir about her body and the way it exists in this world. It was an extremely upsetting to see this story be THE story of the day and not Hunger, but it also seems inevitable that a book that discusses her size would provoke this type of ignorant (and cruel) reaction. Nevertheless, Roxane Gay is a rockstar and I can’t wait to read (and weep over) Hunger this weekend.


Ta-Nehisi Coates unveils cover for Obama-era book We Were Eight Years in Power | Entertainment Weekly

Coates posted the image — which features navy blue text, a partially torn off-white cover, and a red background — Monday afternoon on Twitter, while also quoting a Kendrick Lamar lyric: “I got so many theories and suspicions …”

When I saw Ta-Nehisi Coates’ tweet of his new book cover, I quite literally said “Yeah!” outloud. His new book, due out October 3rd, We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy is a collection of essays (both new and old) about the Obama era. Coates has written some incredible essays about Obama for The Atlantic, where he works as a national correspondent, so I’m greatly looking forward to a book that grew out of those essays.

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What have you read this week? Any articles, essays, or news stories that I have to check out? Let me know before the ink dries! 

Required Reading (June 11, 2017)

My new weekly column, Required Reading, will uncover works – in both print and online – that I think should be required reading (or at least deserving of more attention). 

This week has been one of those weeks where I feel like my reading appetite cannot be satiated. I’ve been squirreling away whatever time I can get to read Pamela Paul’s My Life with Bob (which I loved! Review to come) and have been saving so many article links in my “To-Read Later” list. I also bought two more books (used!) from a little record/bookstore in my college town – Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood and Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall – but I had to talk myself down from buying the other four or five titles I was eyeing. I have bought a lot of books the past month or so.

So this week I have three essays that I think are worth reading. All three are wildly different in style, tone, and structure, but they all feature beautiful writing and observations. Without further ado, here’s this week’s “Required Reading.”

1. Learning The ABC’s of Grad School Jargon| By Deb Werrlein at Creative Nonfiction (Issue #63, Spring 2017) [Reprinted at LitHub]

Ameliorate. I relished showers. I stood under the hot water each morning for thirty shameful minutes of wordless bliss.

This essay originally appeared in Creative Nonfiction’s Spring 2017 Issue in the Exploring the Boundaries section under the title “Concatenate.” It’s a lovely piece about a writer’s experience in graduate school – including impostor syndrome – which could be a trite subject, but the structure of the piece makes it unique. Werrlein centers short anecdotes/vignettes around “words” she discovered and jotted down during her English studies. The piece has a nice arc but, like I said, the structure makes it feel fresh and new.

Photo by Flickr User Rory licensed under Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0).

2.  “On Political Change, Climate Change, and the Choice to Not Have Children” | By Kate Schapira, Catapult (June 6, 2017)

Four months later, James and I went to my parents’ house for our family Seder. Everything was in bloom or leafing out as my mom and I walked around the yard together, and every moment was a moment I hadn’t told her yet.

Wow. That was my first thought when I read Kate Schaperia’s essay in Catapult last week. It is a beautiful, heartbreaking, and candid piece about the environment, politics, aging parents, and giving up on what we always thought (and perhaps still think) we want. The sense of loss Schaperia feels after choosing to not have children is palpable throughout and it is easy to empathize with her fear, anger, and sadness. It’s a stunning essay that I cannot recommend enough.

Photo by Flickr User PROPublic Domain Photography licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0).

3. “Things Seen in the Dark: A Triptych” | By Mary Heather Noble, Hippocampus Magazine (June Issue)

Then, without explanation, the morning would bring calm; the offenses of the previous night seemingly forgotten. We would immerse ourselves in the routine of a Saturday morning as if nothing had happened at all. The smell of bacon, the waffle iron greased and heating on the stove, orange juice poured into plastic yellow cups, and me and my little brother circling the table, placing forks and spoons beside empty plates. Circling, circling. Like quail pecking at the sand.

This essay was posted this morning in a Facebook group I’m part of and I knew immediately I would be recommending this to all of you. First of all, I love Triptychs as a form. Second of all, this essay is gorgeously written – landing somewhere between poetry and prose. Third of all, I am clearly in the mood for personal essays this week. This piece is all about family: the love that suffocates and denies; the touch that goes unanswered; the doors that are slammed; the quiet that settles; the yells that reverberate. Please read this one.

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What is “Required Reading” for you? What should I absolutely read and why? Leave it in the comments and I’ll read it as soon as I can!