21 Cozy Makeshift Reading Nooks

Creating the perfect reading space doesn’t require building a window-seat or converting a closet. Sometimes all you need is lots and lots of pillows in your own little corner of the world.

1. Prop up some old tires.

Prop up some old tires.

2. Fill an inflatable pool with pillows.

3. Create a two-tier book loft with bookshelves.

Create a two-tier book loft with bookshelves.

4. Build an igloo out of milk jugs.

5. Make this easy teepee fort for like, no money.

6. Build an outdoor reading nook with pallets.

Build an outdoor reading nook with pallets.

7. Place a round canopy over a beanbag.

Place a round canopy over a beanbag.

8. Or a cushy blanket.

Or a cushy blanket.

9. Prop up a huge body pillow in the corner of the room.

Prop up a huge body pillow in the corner of the room.

You can get a similar pillow here for $55.

10. Use a deep big shelf that’s big enough to climb into.

Use a deep big shelf that's big enough to climb into.

11. Section an area off with a bookshelf or dresser.

Section an area off with a bookshelf or dresser.

Make sure there’s lots of natural light. Add a giant cushion and VOILA. Instant plot of reading land.

12. Toss down some floor cushions.

Toss down some floor cushions.

13. Place pillows on a coffee table.

Place pillows on a coffee table.

14. Utilize the dead space in a stair landing.

Utilize the dead space in a stair landing.

15. Throw some old sofa cushions on the floor.

Throw some old sofa cushions on the floor.

16. Give the nook a theme, like “camping.”

Give the nook a theme, like "camping."

17. This one is “beneath the apple tree.”

18. Turn a fireplace into a nook with string lights and pillows.

19. Delineate your area with rugs.

Delineate your area with rugs.

20. Make a hanging swing chair.

Get the directions here.

21. Reuse an old crib mattress.

Read the original article at http://www.buzzfeed.com/peggy/cozy-makeshift-reading-nooks#pseyhb
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Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers

New research says reading literary fiction helps people embrace ambiguous ideas and avoid snap judgments

Study: Reading novels makes us better thinkers

This piece originally appeared on Pacific Standard.

Are you uncomfortable with ambiguity? It’s a common condition, but a highly problematic one. The compulsion to quell that unease can inspire snap judgments, rigid thinking, and bad decision-making.

Fortunately, new research suggests a simple anecdote for this affliction: Read more literary fiction.

A trio of University of Toronto scholars, led by psychologist Maja Djikic, report that people who have just read a short story have less need for what psychologists call “cognitive closure.” Compared with peers who have just read an essay, they expressed more comfort with disorder and uncertainty—attitudes that allow for both sophisticated thinking and greater creativity.

“Exposure to literature,” the researchers write in the Creativity Research Journal, “may offer a (way for people) to become more likely to open their minds.”

Djikic and her colleagues describe an experiment featuring 100 University of Toronto students. After arriving at the lab and providing some personal information, the students read either one of eight short stories or one of eight essays. The fictional stories were by authors including Wallace Stegner, Jean Stafford, and Paul Bowles; the non-fiction essays were by equally illustrious writers such as George Bernard Shaw and Stephen Jay Gould.

Afterwards, each participant filled out a survey measuring their emotional need for certainty and stability. They expressed their agreement or disagreement with such statements as “I don’t like situations that are uncertain” and “I dislike questions that can be answered in many different ways.”

Those who read a short story had significantly lower scores on that test than those who read an essay. Specifically, they expressed less need for order and more comfort with ambiguity. This effect was particularly pronounced among those who reported being frequent readers of either fiction or non-fiction.

So how does literature induce this ease with the unknown? Djikic and her colleagues, Keith Oatley and Mihnea Moldoveanu, have some ideas.