Shelfie #2: Chelene Knight: Room Editors Show Off Their Reading Spaces

Posted by 
Alissa McArthur

Getting a peek of an avid reader’s bookshelf is one of life’s simple pleasures. If you’ve ever shown up a house party and gone straight to the host’s bookshelf, you know how satisfying it is to snoop through other readers’ libraries. The editors of Room love reading (obviously), and we’re giving you a glimpse of our shelves and sharing how we get the most out of our sacred reading time.

What makes a good reading space?

For me, it is all about the lighting. I will never understand how folks read with those crazy bright lights—similar to the ones we all had to bear when in school. I need it to be almost dark. Dark enough that I feel relaxed but light enough that I can actually see the words on the page! I need a good chair and I absolutely must put my feet up. Now that I think about it, I think this is why I could never fully engage with a book during “reading time” in elementary school because we had bright lights, and had to sit at a desk. Reading is supposed to be an enjoyable thing, right? 

Do you like to organize/display your book/magazines in a certain way?

Yes! I like my books to be organized by genre because I often refer back to certain books of poetry and I need to be able to find them. This organizational obsession is probably influenced by the fact that I shelve and organize books all day at the Vancouver Public Library. When it comes to magazines I like to have them neatly displayed and I will always have the ones with my favourite covers on top. My goal for this year is to purchase some real bookshelves! I am proud of my books, as we should all be. There’s a story behind the story.

What are your reading rituals?

I always have coffee or tea beside me when reading (sometimes wine or beer). I like to have background music too. I don’t schedule reading time because I don’t think that is a natural thing to do. When you feel the need to escape into a book … just do it. Give in.

“It's Canadian, feminist, and one of my favourite things ever.”

—bucketofrhymes, "29 Amazing Literary Magazines You Need To Be Reading", Buzzfeed Books

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