Welcome to my book nook; my little piece of heaven; my “library” and reading room. My escape haven. It’s not a room, per se; it’s a nook at the top of the staircase. But it’s my nook. Filled with all my books (well, everything except the cookbooks – they have two bookshelves in the kitchen to live in, they were never going to have space up in the nook!), my big comfy grandpa couch, my old handmade wooden doll house, a window looking out onto the leafy street below and little trinkets that are, for whatever reason, special to me. This is my absolute, ultimate happy place.
When we bought this place, this little nook was actually the previous owners’ baby’s room. It had a crib, a little book case, a small shelving unit. As soon as I saw it, I knew what I’d do with it. I stocked up on storage cubes at Ikea and spent an afternoon sitting on the living room floor with the power drill putting them all together. A few days later, dad came over to help get them safely and securely onto the wall (great option – while I’m an absolute pro at “building” Ikea furniture and can operate a power drill unsupervised, dad was smart enough to recognise that I was definitely NOT able to secure book cubes to walls).
There totally wasn’t enough room for all my books, and the collection grows by the week (seriously, I buy at least one book each week), so I moved in my old doll house to act as more shelving, a small side table to the right of my grandpa couch and the vintage suitcase that was present at our wedding (I hated the idea of a guest book, so I made individual post cards for our friends and family to leave a message one, all piled up in the suitcase) to hold onto more books. When that space runs out, I’m going to have to get even more creative!
Anyway, it’s my happy place and my safe space. Books have always been my safety, ever since I can remember actual memories of childhood. Whether I was reading a book or drawing and writing in a notebook, I never went anywhere without one, the other, or both (the bottom floor of the doll house on the right side has my notebooks – they’re full of photographs, writing, drawings and other ephemera by my own hand throughout the years..). I guess old habits die hard, because I still never leave the house without a book to read, a small pencil case and a notebook in my handbag. Books were my escape from an unconventionally conventional upbringing. Any time I felt scared, threatened, alone, unbalanced, unable to cope (which was more often than I’d probably like to admit), I’d put my head in a book and stay there as long as I needed to. Books are still my escape; I can’t ever imagine a time in my life when I won’t find comfort or solace in the pages of a bound tome.
I think everyone needs a place like this in their life. Maybe it’s not a book nook; maybe it’s a special corner in the garden. Maybe it’s an altar of some description. Maybe it’s just a candle lit for a few minutes before bed, and a cup of tea in a favourite mug on the sweet spot on the couch. What or where ever it is, find your happy place, find something that gives you your inner peace, and spend as much time there as you need. Because goodness knows, in this crazy world, we all need a happy place from time to time!