Reading Spaces: Unusual Bookshelves

For the longest time, I’ve always described my personal decorating style as beachy glam. Lots of white, blues, and greys with seaside and metallic accents. Recently though I realized that there’s such a thing called Transitional style and that pretty much describes my decor as well. Houzz has a nice definition of Transitional style here. Because of my style preferences, I’m a big fan of white furniture and of course, white bookshelves. I also love simple furniture with lots of straight lines. But for the person whose style is a little more edgy and modern, I’ve put together a few ideas for unusual book storage solutions. Some of these bookshelves look like modern art!

All images via Houzz

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Reading Spaces: Summer Lounging

Summer will be here before we know it and I’m already dreaming of whiling away lazy summer days with a good book. Truth be told, I burn easily so there isn’t a lot of difference between reading during the summer and reading during any other time of year. But that doesn’t stop me from fantasizing about basking in the sun, preferably on one of these comfy porch swings!

All images via Houzz

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Reading Spaces: Children’s Room

One of my very good friends is having her first baby this summer. And that’s got me thinking a lot about how raising child is so different than when we grew up. 1995 is roughly considered to be the year the internet really became a thing for the average consumer in America. I was five years old at the time. We didn’t get an internet-connected computer until I was eight. I grew up part of the last group of children that really didn’t have an internet-connected computer at home during their formative years. The last group where playtime meant books and toys and going outside. Yes, we had a tv. But it’s not like it is now, where families have multiple tvs, computers, tablets, and smartphones in the home and on their person. A recent NPR interview with Adam Alter, the author of Irresistible, a new book about how technology is designed to be addicting, featured a section on usage guidelines for parents of young children. You can listen to that interview here.

I always give at least one book as part of my baby gift. I think it’s important for babies to be read to and for the love of reading to start early so then when they learn how to read, they continue picking up books and reading on their own. It’s no accident that readers are leaders. Where this very long train of thought has lead me to is these lovely baby and children’s rooms and playrooms that use books almost as a form of art. Children’s books are often colorful and beautiful, so why not display them? I love the way the books are displayed in these photos, turning the child’s space into a reading space where books are all around. Children are little sponges who pick up many ideas about what’s valuable in the world from their parents. Having books and dedicated spots for a child to read teach the child that reading is a valuable activity and fosters a love of books.

All images via Houzz

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Reading Spaces: A Towering Pile of Books

I was sick recently and how I passed one of the days consisted of rearranging my bookshelves and creating my TBR stack. I posted a picture of it on Instagram here, but the pile is about 3 feet tall. It’s definitely become a problem in the last year or so that I have more books than fit on my bookshelf. This was the result both of loosening up on my ban against buying books and actually reading some of the books on my shelf which were the start of a series which read to me buying the rest of the series and then loving it so I kept them all. Anyway. I am very particular about how I like the house to be. A towering stack of books with no home does not fit that vision. But. While browsing Houzz looking at images of reading spaces, I found quite a few pictures where the stack of books just worked and even added something to the space. And, the advantage of a stack of books is that any space automatically becomes a reading space. Just hopefully you don’t decide you want to read the book at the bottom of the pile.

All images via Houzz

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Getting to Yes

Getting to Yes by Roger Fisher and William Ury

Since its original publication nearly thirty years ago, Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution. Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict. Thoroughly updated and revised, it offers readers a straight- forward, universally applicable method for negotiating personal and professional disputes without getting angry-or getting taken.

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I thought I was a pretty good negotiator. Good, not great. But sufficient. Until I read this book. Boy, do I have a lot to work on!

I feel like Getting to Yes will be a book I come back to many times. I found myself reading a section and then stopping and rereading it because the concepts felt so foreign I had to take extra time to process them.

The major premise of this book is that the way most people negotiate is flawed. Most of us negotiate in one of two ways: by driving an overly hard bargain to get as much as you can from the other person for the sake of “winning” or negotiating too complacently. The book calls this time of negotiating “positional bargaining”.

Getting to Yes posits that there’s a third way to negotiate that people can learn and use to find outcomes that leave both parties feeling mutually satisfied. No particular name is given to this type of negotiation, but it has four main components:

  1. Separate the People From the Problem
  2. Focus on Interests, Not Positions
  3. Invent Options For Mutual Gain
  4. Insist on Using Objective Criteria

This book was pretty eye-opening to me and it made me think of the negotiation styles of people I know well and people in power and it did made me realize that the best negotiators I could think of were using the tactics in Getting to Yes.

This isn’t a very long book, but it’s definitely a must-read even if you’re not in a sales or negotiation profession. The tips in here are applicable to all kinds of problems.

 

2016: The Year of the Good Book

2016 IN REVIEW:

2016 was a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing it was to me personally was The Year of the Good Book. I may have had whiplash from the terrible things, bad news, and even worse luck that rained down on us this year, but at least I had many wonderful books for comfort!

HOW MANY BOOKS READ IN 2016?

– 75 books

FICTION/NON-FICTION?

–   52 Fiction /    24 Non-Fiction

MALE/FEMALE AUTHORS?

–     35 Male /   23 Female

OLDEST BOOK READ?

-The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

NEWEST BOOK READ?

The Honor Was Mine by Elizabeth Heaney

LONGEST BOOK READ?

The Dark Tower by Stephen King

SHORTEST BOOK READ?

The Heart of the 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

ANY IN TRANSLATION?

In Praise of Darkness by Jose Luis Borges

BEST BOOK READ IN 2016?

This was so hard for me to do in The Year of the Good Book so I’m cheating a little on this answer:

Best Stand-Alone book: Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Best Trilogy: Red Rising series by Pierce Brown

Best Series Longer Than 3 Books: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King

MOST DISAPPOINTING BOOK IN 2016?

Winter Street by Elin Hildebrand-Ugh

MOST BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN BOOK IN 2016?

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

MOST SURPRISING (IN A GOOD WAY!) BOOK OF 2016?

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – I had no idea what kind of book I was signing up for, but I thoroughly enjoyed it!

MOST THRILLING, UNPUTDOWNABLE BOOK IN 2016?

Red Queen, Red Rising, The Girl on the Train, Library of Souls, Shatter Me, The Dark Tower series

BOOK THAT HAD THE GREATEST IMPACT ON ME IN 2016?

The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and Rejection Proof by Jia Jiang

BOOK THAT HAD A SCENE IN IT THAT HAD ME REELING?

Every book in The Dark Tower series, Red Queen, Morning StarCity of Mirrors

BOOK I MOST ANTICIPATED IN 2016?

The City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin and The Last Star by Rick Yancey

MOST MEMORABLE CHARACTER IN 2016?

All the main characters from The Dark Tower series: Roland, Susannah, Eddie, Jake, and Oy

HOW MANY RE-READS IN 2016?

One, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

BOOK I READ IN 2016 I’D BE MOST LIKELY TO REREAD IN 2017?

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – King’s Cage comes out in 2017!

BOOK I RECOMMENDED TO PEOPLE MOST IN 2016?

The Success Principles, The 5th Wave, All the Light We Cannot See, The Martian, Red Rising, Red Queen, The Passage, The Dark Tower

FAVORITE NEW AUTHORS I DISCOVERED IN 2016?

Pierce Brown, Victoria Aveyard, Leigh Bardugo, Stephen King

MOST BOOKS READ BY ONE AUTHOR THIS YEAR?

Stephen King, with 8

FAVORITE COVER OF A BOOK I READ IN 2016?

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Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

FAVORITE PASSAGE/QUOTE FROM A BOOK I READ IN 2016?

“There’s nothing fated in our stars. No meant-to-be in any of it. We are accidental people occupying an accidental planet in an accidental universe. And that’s okay. These seven billion billion atoms are good with that.”-Rick Yancey, The Last Star

“The road and the tale have both been long, would you not say so? The trip has been long and the cost has been high… but no great thing was ever attained easily. A long tale, like a tall Tower, must be built a stone at a time.” -Stephen King, The Dark Tower

“All his life he had wanted to be known by just one person. That’s what love was, he decided. Love was being known.”-Justin Cronin, The City of Mirrors

“Justice isn’t about fixing the past, it’s about fixing the future. We’re not fighting for the dead. We’re fighting for the living. And for those who aren’t yet born.”-Pierce Brown, Morning Star

“Survival is insufficient.”-Emily St. John Mandel, Station Eleven

DID I COMPLETE ANY READING CHALLENGES OR GOALS IN 2016?

Yes! I read 75 books, up from my original goal of 50 books for 2016.

BOOK I CAN’T BELIEVE I WAITED UNTIL 2016 TO FINALLY READ?

Many-Red Queen, Red Rising, Station Eleven, The Girl on the Train, Six of Crows, The Dark Tower series