Reading corners for booklovers

Most of us will grab our books from the bedside table at night and will probably fall asleep after a few quick minutes. But how could we not? Our bed is so comfortable and our day routines leave us generally so tired that our sheets, blankets and everything else lull us into the land of the dreams without even noticing. Unless of course you have insomnia or the book is so damn good that you’re afraid it’s going to be one of those nights where you won’t sleep… but that’s another topic. But let’s face it, unless you don’t feel tired, the bed is not always the best place for reading. And if you fall asleep while reading, how many times have you woken up to find the cover of your book bent, and twisted in between your sheets?

Reading is a special experience and I believe it’s a good idea to have a reading corner besides the bed. And if you have the space (you really don’t need much, that’s why it’s called “corner”) investing into it is definitely worthy.

We spend too much money in acquiring these magnificent couches to place them in front of the TV. Why shouldn’t we invest in a nice place for reading? A corner that drags you into this world of books and makes you want to spend Sunday afternoons or rainy days in it, with a cup of coffee on the other hand. And even if you don’t use it, they actually look awesome as decoration.

A clever idea is to find a place in your house/apartment/flat where you wouldn’t jeopardize too much space. If you have stairs, then you’re done. The pictures below can give you good ideas.  Windows are also an incredible option. These images display some interesting ideas. I must confess I don’t have the proper credits for the pictures. They have resided in my computer for many years in a folder called “dreamed house” yeah, I know… but it’s good to dream (some day, maybe I’ll get to use all of them for real) Meanwhile, I continue feeding my inner interior decorator with the most tangible tool: Pinterest!

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You don’t need too much furniture to improvise corners like these ones. Take advantage of some cushions with vibrant colors and textures. (they say bright colors are better… I couldn’t agree more). If you don’t have the possibility to have a window in the chosen space, you could install some lights under the stairs. In fact you don’t need a complex electrical installation, there all sorts of LED lamps and LED candles out there. Be aware you might also need curtains if you’re near a window, sometimes the reflection or the lightening from thunders (yeah, I had to think of all possibilities) could interrupt your reading. Or maybe you just don’t have a nice view, and you don’t feel like staring at a brick wall or having the sensation that a neighbor is eavesdropping at you (again I had to think of all situations here… please feel free to add more in the comments if you come up with something I haven’t thought of). Overall, when you build/install these corners, take into account two factors: lighting and comfort; this will help you submerge into your reading without any distractions.

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Additionally, take into account that chair or couch you use is as comfortable as possible. You could take advantage of modern designs or retro chairs that could be as different as you want from the rest of the room, not only in design but in color as well. To enhance the place, you could use one of those standing lamps that not only look terrific in their design, but also help at the time of reading.

Another brilliant idea is to adapt your wardrobe or wall spaces, and make them into hidden and comfortable reading spaces for you. You can use them to distance yourself from the rest of the world, grab a book, and spend hours in it. Add some shelves and cushions inside this space (I bet you’ve realized that I love cushions) A lamp installed in the wall will also be a perfect addition to this reading closet.

And you, do you have any reading corners in your place? any other suggestions for these reading corners I have not taken into account? I’d love to hear from you. 

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The Pope is coming and I think I was an Eskimo in a previous life…

This may be one of the most random posts I’ve ever written. It’s just an ensemble of news/updates/internal realizations.

First, it’s quite surreal these days here in my country. Those days when you suddenly turn on CNN and the reporter is talking about the Pope visiting Ecuador, Bolivia and Paraguay. You see, we’re never on the news, unless something terrible happened, and this time, we’re on them because of something good, for a chance.

Of course, everybody is excited, but I’ll just follow up all the events on TV. I happen not to live on one of the cities where the Pope will be arriving. And even though, many people are travelling to those cities (La Paz, Santa Cruz), at this point it’s very hard to organize a trip because everything is sold out (plane tickets, hotels, etc.)

Although, I’m a bit worried by the Pope’s arrival in El Alto (4000 meters above sea level… oh I may need to convert this for some readers 🙂  13123.36 feet above sea level (according to Google)) He’s scheduled to arrive this Wednesday and then go down to La Paz 12,087 altitude and then in less than 4 hours go back to El Alto. Did they think this well? Continue reading “The Pope is coming and I think I was an Eskimo in a previous life…”

Guest Post: Scarlett Van Dijk – A Writing Journey: Past, Present, and Future –

Hello everyone. Carla Doria kindly asked me to hop over to her blog and let you know a little about myself and my writing. So, to start off, my name is Scarlett Van Dijk and I am a young Australian writer who writes mostly novels but also dabbles in short stories and poetry. I like to dance, train in martial arts, read, go to the movies, and play some multiplayer online games occasionally. My novel genre is Young Adult (YA) Fantasy with my first novel, ‘Sky Stone’, published and on sale at Amazon. I am currently working on the sequel to ‘Sky Stone’, which will be called ‘Guardian Core’.

scarlett van dijk

How Did You Start Writing?

I started writing novels at the age of fourteen, beginning the journey that would become ‘Sky Stone’ at the age of fifteen. Writing, especially during these early years, gave me a release. Every teen knows the hardships of dealing with school politics and writing allowed me to escape to live in my own world.

Continue reading “Guest Post: Scarlett Van Dijk – A Writing Journey: Past, Present, and Future –”

Winner of NaNoWriMo 2014 lets a heavy glass pot lid fall over her head…

Sunday I declared myself winner of NaNoWriMo 2014 and to celebrate I let a heavy glass pot lid fall over my head. No, I’m not crazy, neither eccentric, it was just an accident. Very interesting way to celebrate it though, a huge bump in the head and an ice bag over my head. So people were telling me “wow! You must be excited to have finished your writing month and must had celebrated a lot” And I just go back to my memories of the terrible pain my head was in that day. At least, I managed to write the last words before the accident, because I wouldn’t have written anything else after the glass lid decided it was good to bounce on my head. Although, a good scene of pain and suffering could have actually come up well inspired at that time.

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But anyway, let´s stop talking about the bad part of last Sunday and talk about the best part. I did it! I finished the first manuscript of an entire novel, over 88000 words in total. When I started NaNo I was at 38000 words more or less, it took me around 3 months to write those 38K. If it wasn’t for NaNo, I wouldn’t had pop out those remaining 50K and I would have finished my novel next year.

Never have I ever (I’ve just remembered a drinking game… if you know what I mean, if not just continue reading 🙂 ) I’ve would have dreamed that when I put in my 2014 New Year’s resolution “Start writing for seriously” I would have ended up the year with a whole first manuscript for a novel. Surreal.

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Of course, I must point out it´s a “first” manuscript.  This December will be harsh polishing and editing. One of the things that you learn with NaNo is to just let it flow; write, write and let the characters guide you through the story. No editing during November, not only because it would have caused constant deletion of words but also because there was no time. And it works, it really does. This is my first time writing a novel and believe me, I struggled very much at the beginning figuring it out how to start, how to plot the story, how to define structure, pacing, etc. Now I know that there has to be some planning at the beginning, but then if you want the story to really flow and reach its end, you just have to let it go, it works. But then of course with no editing in this “flowing” stage, a second, and even third draft have to be considered, the disadvantages of spontaneity.

But I declare myself satisfied. Never have I ever, I’ve been more consistent and persistent in doing what I want to do for the rest of my life. I proved myself that I can do it, that I can create the habit of writing every single day (including weekends and holidays). I can do it. “I’m a roller coaster that only goes up” John Green (Yeah, I’m quoting The Fault in Our Stars, but the quote felt righter than ever).

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Oh men! we´d better achieve our dreams or….

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Oh men, If I thought I would had a weekend like the previous one, years ago, I would have laughed really hard. I´ve always envisioned myself writing a novel in the late years of my life. I would say “SOMEDAY I will write a book, when I´m retired, and have time, and blah blah…”, but then one day I just decided to say that is BS!  I will accomplish this dream “RIGHT NOW RIGHT HERE”, not in the near future, or someday when I´m in a retirement house, but NOW, when I have a day job and almost no time. I made the right decision…

For the past months, I´ve been trying to write my first novel. I started writing short stories first but when I got what I thought an interesting idea for a novel, I decided to give it a go. I decided I was going to put ‘writing´ as number one in my priorities list. No more “extra activities” that would drive me away from it. I would write everyday, if possible, until I actually made a habit of it.

Then, to not bore you anymore with the process to achieve this goal, I started to research about the process of writing books, how to build up characters, plots, etc. So much material about it, you wouldn´t believe me.

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Finally, I decided to enroll myself in the Writer´s Digest bootcamp: Agent One-on-One: First ten pages, which basically focused in the first ten pages of a novel. We got a video tutorial from Ms. Paula Munier of Talcott Notch Literary Agency, who was brilliant, the cleverest person I´ve ever listened to. She gave excellent advice of what Agents were looking for and what she expected to find in the first pages of a novel. She also talked about all clichés, and all the times she got to reject queries from writers. I was “Oh my, I´ve never going to make it!” I did some research about her clients, looked in the web for their books, and believe me , those were quality material, beautiful books, written so amazingly that I was “I don’t stand a chance, English is not even my native language! I´ve never going to be at that level” But I was already registered in the course, with 200 $us invested, which here in my country is a LOT of money.

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So to shorten things, Paula Munier was assigned as the agent who would review my pages (out of five agents in the bootcamp). I was thrilled, maybe she was the toughest one, but the one I´ve imagined myself working with. I sent my pages, expecting to receive a critique that would say “this is not good, you really have to improve, you should consider changing careers, or are you sure you want to be a writer?” I was already mentally preparing myself for that, telling me that I would try not to take it so bad, that I would improve, that this was just a course, and that I was there to learn and to improve.

What I got was: “Nice work, Easy and Fun to read, Engaging premise, Likable hero, Colorful cast of characters, Unique great style” and I was … My god I was stunned.

Of course she also described the parts where I could improve, like improving the flow of the scenes, avoiding overwriting, American grammar and punctuation (the British influence of course), and some issues with my second scene.  But nonetheless, I was thrilled.

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And true, there is still a lot to improve, but it is all about the HARD WORK, and nothing else. If you want to write, you have to do it all the time. You have to read millions of books, if you want to improve your craft. It´s hard work and nothing else. Revision after revision and craziness along the way of course! I usually find myself about to go nuts when I get into one of those hard “revision” sessions, like I would dream with characters and get traumatized with grammar rules. But it is worth it.

In the end, we don´t get a second life, we only have this one, we´d better make the best of it. That means we only have NOW and THIS LIFE to make our dreams come true. We’d better devote ourselves and work our asses off to achieve our dreams, or else when are we going to do it? There is no other way around.

Believe in your dreams and just work the hell out of yourself to make them come true!