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Finding your perfect reading spot

Finding your perfect reading spot

Finding your perfect reading spot

It’s cold outside. Time to curl up and lose yourself in a good book – but where is your cosy corner?

This year I am spending the winter at my home in Ireland. On a sunny, blue-sky day it’s beautiful, but often bitterly cold. On a rainy, blustery day, and there are plenty of those, it can be gloomy, as if the sun has not fully risen; ‘the skyline a grimace,’ as Ted Hughes wrote in his poem ‘Wind’.

I sit on my window seat and watch the weather, and the nature all around – the naked trees swaying in the wind, the plump robin pecking bird seed off the lawn. I sit and I watch, and then, pulling my blanket snug around me and taking a sip of my herbal tea, I return to my book. And just like that, I am transported to another world and connected to others (for as I have written before, reading is the gateway to empathy).

For me, the window seat is the perfect spot for winter reading. The seat is wide and comfortable, and the room is quiet. But best of all, I can enjoy the view when I take breaks from my reading, and by sitting there I benefit from the daylight, which of course has been shown to improve your mood and health.

I have other reading spots in the house. There is an armchair by the fire that is particularly cosy and sometimes I sit at the kitchen table and read – and of course reading in bed is a wonderful way to start or end the day. I find I tend to read certain things in certain places. Poetry, for example, makes me dream, and so those books are for the window seat.

Of course, we can read everywhere – and I do. I’ve been known to read a novel while stirring a saucepan on the stove. But I think it’s important to carve out time for yourself to unwind and to read, and doing so in a designated spot helps to put you in the right frame of mind. After all, get too lost in a novel while cooking and your tomato sauce is likely to taste burnt!

Do you have a favourite spot in your home for reading, a little sanctuary where you can indulge in the pleasure of reading? Is it comfortable and cosy, quiet and restful? If not, why not create that place – give yourself the gift of that space. And then, as I do, retire there often, to rest, recharge and connect.

I will leave you with a poem that encapsulates that special feeling of the cosy corner for reading in childhood. And what are we all but children still at heart?

Happy Chimney Corner Days
By Robert Louis Stevenson

Summer fading, winter comes –
Frosty mornings, tingling thumbs
Window robins, winter rooks,
And the picture story-books.

Water now is turned to stone
Nurse and I can walk upon;
Still we find the flowing brooks
In the picture story-books.

All the pretty things put by,
Wait upon the children’s eye,
Sheep and shepherds, trees and crooks,
In the picture story-books.

We may see how all things are,
Seas and cities, near and far,
And the flying fairies’ looks,
In the picture story-books.

How am I to sing your praise,
Happy chimney-corner days,
Sitting safe in nursery nooks,
Reading picture story-books.

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