Everything You Need for a Superior Reading Nook
Book of the Month's Brianna Goodman walks us through her special space.
Comprehensive home tours are wonderful and inspiring, but most of us decorate step-by-step, focusing on (and perfecting) specific areas at a time. In Anatomy of a Nook—Coveteur's newest home series—we're dissecting specific areas of a home and asking our stylish friends to break down the process behind their favorite nook, cranny, or corner of their homes.
It comes as no surprise that Book of the Month's Brianna Goodman's home would boast a superior reading nook. Aside from counting herself an avid reader, the editorial and content manager of the nearly 100-year-old online book subscription service has a job title that requires her to read all the time, for which she needs ample literary space. The nook in question is framed by looming shelves piled high with books of all kinds alongside various scholarly accoutrements. It features an Eames rocking chair, personal mementos, and of course, a highly impressive book collection. Discover more about how she curated the space below.
"I've always wanted to live in a home that has a library with floor to ceiling bookshelves. (Unsurprisingly, I was really obsessed with Beauty and the Beast as a kid.) I live in a New York City apartment so a full-sized library is not exactly attainable, but I like to think of my book nook as a small version of that! I read here every morning before I let myself check email on my phone. This routine has become even more essential to me—and many of our members at Book of the Month—in the past year. Unfortunately, my cats also consider the nook to be the best spot in the apartment, so I'm constantly negotiating with them to give up the chair.
"Many book people I know will find this blasphemous, but I've been arranging my books by color for years. I have a visual memory, so I'll often remember the color of a book's spine before I remember the title. It also serves a practical purpose—because of my job at Book of the Month, which involves lots of reading to source the best recommendations for our members, new books are always cycling in and out of my apartment. If I tried to sort them all alphabetically I'd end up rearranging constantly! I don't pay too much attention to spine height when arranging my books. My Book of the Month books are all the same height, so that makes things easy! I do intersperse horizontal stacks though because I like how it breaks things up visually, but also because they serve as bookends for the shelves that don't have any siding. Horizontal stacks also allow me to fit more books on the shelf since I can never turn down a new book!"
"For me, plants and fresh flowers break things up visually, and since they are living they don't feel like clutter. I'm also a fan of candles if they come in a nice jar that fits in with my decor style and there's not a distracting label on the side. But honestly I try not to keep too many small items on the shelves, because it makes dusting an even more horrible chore than it already is. Plus, I think that books themselves—particularly hardcovers—are beautiful decor pieces. I don't need much else! I only keep books that I've yet to read or that I've already read, loved, and know I'll want to return to again. I also keep books that have notes in them from when I was younger—it's fun (and often embarrassing) to go back and see what I was thinking about and underlining years ago. I don't buy books solely for their appearance; I only have so much shelf space, so if it's not truly going on the TBR (to be read) list, it can't stay!"
"I can't take credit for the shelves—my boyfriend found the big Blu Dot bookcase on Craigslist. I love the shape and how it plays with negative space. The leaning ladder shelf was actually a hand-me-down from a previous renter of an apartment I lived in. Sometimes I consider swapping them out for uniform shelves, but honestly the mix and match has grown on me. It's much more reflective of my years living and renting in this city."
"The vintage Eames rocking chair was another of my boyfriend's finds! (Tbh he's way more patient about hunting for furniture than I am.) I love that it brings character to the space without taking up a lot of floor real estate. I used to have a bigger arm chair here, but the size was kind of domineering in the space and it made it hard to access the books on the bottom shelf. I also like that it's comfortable enough to sit in and read for hours (especially if you drape a blanket over it), but not sooo comfortable that I fall asleep. Cushioned couches, unfortunately, are where my reading life goes to die; I fall asleep almost immediately."
"Always! Most recently, Charlotte McGonaghy's Once There Were Wolves shifted my relationship to the natural world—and gave me a pretty significant book hangover. For anyone looking for something more bite-sized, The Office of Historical Corrections by Danielle Evans is a flawlessly executed short story collection where truly every story packs a punch—you can dip in and out one story at a time, but I couldn't help reading it all in one go. Finally, I'm a sucker for mythological retellings (a great one by Jennifer Saint called Ariadne came out earlier this year), so I decided to finally go back to the source: I'm reading Emily Wilson's translation of The Odyssey in bits and pieces, and it feels like being a student again in the best possible way."
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Photos: Courtesy of Brianna Goodman
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