The Best Places to Curl Up With a Good Book—According to Authors

We asked the experts and, not surprisingly, their answers gave us book-nook envy.

1

white-bookcase-with-books-and-assorted-objects-on-the-shelves
Photo by William Abranowicz

It’s in an antique rattan chair that my parents gave me years ago, on my back deck. It’s too hot to sit out in the sun in summer in my part of Australia but in winter, it’s comfily warm, and when I look up from whatever’s happening in the world on the page, I can see a blue sky, a park full of trees, and the busyness of so many birds.

—Ashley Hay, The Railwayman’s Wife

2

I live in a cramped apartment with a vocal toddler and a baby on the way, so I do my best reading out of the house. I’ll settle for anywhere that’s reasonably quiet and not covered in crushed Goldfish, but nothing beats a beautiful library. My current spot has oversized upholstered chairs, wood-paneled walls and shelves stuffed with books. Readers feel right at home (and nary a Goldfish in sight!).

—Cristina Alger, This Was Not The Plan

3

We have this mostly-empty room in our house, originally a formal living room. When we moved in I insisted we line one wall with books and call it the “library.” No bills or everyday papers allowed. Sure, when the kids are around, my book nook moonlights as a wrestling ring, death star, and dog run. But in a stolen half hour, my space gives me permission to let go of daily life and get completely lost in another world.

—M.J. Pullen, The Marriage Pact



4

My beloved sofa. Coffee is within reach. The phone is not. Music is key, whether it’s from the speakers or my leave-me-alone headphones. Oh, and water. Because investing in a story is a form of exercise, just not the kind that requires spandex.

—Caroline Kepnes, Hidden Bodies

5

With three busy kids, I make a pillow with their towels and read at the pool during swim lessons. It’s a guaranteed hour of reading and the swish of the water and smell of chlorine relaxes me.

—Sadeqa Johnson, Second House From the Corner

6

It’s in the living room, either on the couch or in a comfy chair, but alongside my family, also reading. There is something so peaceful, about four of us sitting together around the same room, the TV off, each lost in his or her own book, but all connected through this shared love.

—Sally Christie, The Sisters of Versailles



7

My front porch. It’s cool in the summer and warm in the fall. Sometimes carpenter bees sniff around in the spring, but that’s what tennis rackets are for. Three seasons a year, I stretch out on this sunny, splintery porch with a view of one world passing by and another, smaller world in my hands. Sometimes I fall asleep out there, one cheek plastered on the page, and of course that’s when I have my best dreams.

—Elisabeth Egan, A Window Opens

8

Right now my favorite spot is the sagging sofa in front of the fireplace, my husband across from me, Bishop the dog at his feet. There’s hot chocolate and cookies and Nina Simone is on the stereo. A blizzard is outside. And we are inside, safe, and warm, and reading. Bliss.

—Louise Penny, Chief Inspector Gamache series

9

I come from Alaska; a place where you can see your breath when you wake up beneath a pile of down comforters and goose feather pillows, so it makes sense that reading in bed is my place. I will attempt to stay in my flannel pajamas as long as possible. I love hand-knitted blankets that remind me of someone, so I feel like a friend is reading with me. Coffee is a must—always—but if evening rolls around, I won’t say no to a glass of wine.

—Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, The Smell of Other People’s Houses



10

On a luxurious sofa beside a window that features a view of Seattle’s Lake Washington. It’s in Grand Central (our living room) so, no solitude—but my sweet family adheres to the universally understood rule of “When Mommy’s eating pudding on the couch with a blanket and a book, we are all very careful to leave her the hell alone.”

—Jennifer Longo, Up to this Pointe

11

It’s in New York City before 8 a.m. on Saturday, because that’s when all the normally invisible nooks come to life—especially the tiny cafés that are usually packed with brunchers. The best reading accessories are an extra hot chai tea and a giant muffin.

—Catherine Lowell, The Madwoman Upstairs

12

When I’m hunkering down for a luscious afternoon of reading, three things are non-negotiable: comfort, good light, and quiet. When I was a child, I found these things in the crook of an apple tree in our backyard—though part of this appeal must have come from reading Laura Ingalls Wilder. The physical comfort of that eludes me now, but I was small then and might well have fit snugly in the crook of a tree.

—Barbara Delinsky, Blueprints



13

Mine has always been in bed with a million pillows and my mother’s cashmere shawl (over 60 years old) at my feet. As a little girl she’d wrap me up in it and read and I would travel on her voice to a new magical world.

M.J. Rose, The Witch of Painted Sorrows

14

It’s somewhere with a view of the sea, a glass of champagne in one hand and a novel in the other. The sand can be white or gray or golden; the water can be calm and warm or crashing and gray. I don’t care. I just love to hear the voice of the ocean running beneath the words I read.

—Kristin Hannah, The Nightingale

15

At 6 p.m. in a wicker chair in my living room. I turn on all the lights because I like it to be very bright and make myself a cup of coffee. The best part about my ritual is that after the cup is empty, I keep holding it. I love the warmth in my hands and it also stops me from getting up and doing something else.

—Anita Hughes, Island in the Sea