6 Essentials for a Dream Reading Space

So, here at JFB, we’re all about books, books, books. What to read, when to read . . . but what about where to read. Because, I don’t know about you, but I spend a lot of time reading here:


And here:

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And even more time dreaming about those few precious times when I actually get to read here:


In light of those oh-so-many hours feeling uncomfortable, squashed and generally discombobulated, I thought I’d write a little blog post featuring my five essential items that make up my perfect reading space.


1. Lights

How boring, I hear you say. How unbelievably pedestrian. Lights! Who’da thunk it. Well, my friend, there you are very, very wrong. Perfect lighting is one of – if not the – most important element for the perfect place. A good reading light is the difference between five hours of imaginative bliss and half an hour followed by the mother of all headaches. A good reading light is the difference between Carrie being an atmospheric and brilliant chiller and oh my god I can never sleep in the dark again. A good reading light matters. For anyone in the US, Arhaus has some great light fixtures. For the UK, I’m afraid we may have to crawl back to Ikea . . .


2. Pillows

The right pillows (squishy enough to lean back into, but not so squishy that your back lacks any support) organised in the right way (two is the absolute minimum; three is classic; four is if you basically don’t want to have to bother lifting your own head) mean you can stay in position for the whole day if you’re so inclined without running into pesky aches and strains. And that means more book time for you!* If you’re into the quirky and personalised, Etsy has some great options – and there’s always Pinterest if you’re looking for ideas to make your own.


3. Something to put your tea on

Or your coffee, if you must. What’s the point of reading if you can’t have a hot drink to go with it? Unless it’s summer, in which case iced tea is always an option, but still requires a surface. If you’re in bed, it’s got to be that perfectly positioned side table; on the couch, a sturdy coffee table is a must – and, as a bonus, you can rest your feet on it as well, especially if you, like me, are always a little too long for the sofa.


4. A blankie

And by that I mean *ahem* a throw. Because I am a grown up and do know the right words. Mostly. Tuck in, hide away from the world and maybe, just maybe, never get out again.

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5. A place for your bottom

Perhaps the most obvious of all – somewhere to sit! I prefer bed, personally (because it’s warm, cozy and in an ideal world I would never, ever leave it) but you are welcome to take your pick – armchair, sofa, desk chair (tried it – not recommended), pillow fort, thick rug on the floor in front of a roaring fire, you name it. As long as you can park yourself down and set lost in another world, that’s all that matters. (Arhaus again has some lovely living room options to stare at for a while.)


6. Er, books!

Yes, books, those magnificent objects that are so teeny-tiny and yet seem to contain such a wealth of fun and joy and all good things. A reading space without books is, well, a space that you sometimes sit in, staring disconsolately out at the universe and wondering why it feels like there’s something missing in your life. Since you’re on the JFB blog, it’s only right that I direct you to a couple of our favourites:

9781786485250The Crow Garden, Alison Littlewood’s latest chiller, in which mad-doctor Nathaniel becomes obsessed by discovering whether his patient, the beautiful Mrs Harleston, is truly delusional, or if there’s something else going on . . . Atmospheric and gripping, this one is perfect for a long winter night.9781782066750

Traitor’s Blade by Sebastien Castell. If you haven’t already experiencedthe Greatcoats series, this is the perfect time to start. Drawing inspiration from The Three Musketeers, Traitor’s Blade is epic in scope and follows disgraced First Cantor Falcio val Mond and his fellow Greatcoats Kest and Brasti as they try to hold it together in a kingdom gone wrong.


* Before anyone complains, yes I do know that that is a picture of a cushion, not a pillow – I’m not an animal! That said, I couldn’t resist.

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