I have a couple of guilty pleasures, such as cooking (and consuming) fatty, savory meals and watching reality television.

I’ve found that a little bit of indulgence now and then can be wonderfully soothing, especially when done with a glass of red wine. This summer, I added a new guilty pleasure to my short list: reading murder mysteries.


Since starting graduate school, the majority of my reading has been limited to works that contribute to my studies. But this summer, at the eager suggestions of my friends, I started reading for fun. Now, I can’t get enough of it. I had forgotten how much more fulfilling a story could be when you are given the freedom to imagine the characters in your head and be transported to new settings.

Finding a place to treat yourself to some reading can sometimes be daunting. You need enough light, enough quiet and just-the-right amount of comfort. A reading nook can provide you with a dedicated space that’s just perfect. Follow these steps to create one of your own:

Mark your territory

The space you choose for your nook will determine how you fill it. You don’t need a large space, just enough room to add comfortable seating. Take advantage of under-utilized areas, such as awkward corners, the storage under the stairs or even a small area in the yard. Use rugs to designate the nook as distinct from the space around it.


Let there be light


If you can, opt for a space with natural light streaming in. Add both soft, general lighting and direct lighting. Unless you are reading next to a sleeping person, keep both lights on at night. The direct lighting should have a dimmer, to allow for different levels of brightness.

Get comfy

Opt for seating that’s not too hard or too soft. Add pillows to put behind your back and a footrest to elevate your legs. Be careful not to make the space too comfortable, or you’ll risk dozing off.

Keep it clean

The best way to keep a space clutter-free is to make room for the extras. Anticipate the things you’ll need while reading: a spot for a cup of coffee, a fan for when it gets hot and a blanket for when it gets chilly. Consider adding shelving and baskets for storage as well.


Have a comment or question for Joanne? Email thefixisinhawaii@gmail.com.