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Sunday Salon: A Desk of One’s Own

July 24, 2011

My love affair with Bianca continues. On the minor side, I have discovered iTune’s radio stations and am currently living life to a wonderful blues soundtrack. And on the major side, I’m now able to go to a cafe and blog my heart out on free wi-fi. Sitting at the table, typing up a few posts, I noticed something: I wasn’t experiencing as much pain as I normally do. In fact, I was able to write three posts of about four hundred words each with only minor discomfort! Aside from my accidental sugar high (I cut sugar out of my diet a couple months ago but forgot my drink would include some, which resulted in quite the manic mood), the only difference was the table. At home, I usually just blog curled up in my huge chair, with my computer perched on my lap. This is quite comfortable for my back, shoulders, and neck, so it never occurred to me that I could be causing my arms, wrists, and hands distress. Obviously, I needed some kind of desk in my room. However, at twelve feet by ten feet, and already containing my bed, an overstuffed chair, and a dresser, not to mention my need to have enough empty floor space for yoga, my room just couldn’t handle a traditionally sized desk. Instead, I needed a longer, skinner option. Still riding my sugar high, I decided to pop into a couple thrift stores on my way home. And the thrift gods were smiling, because I found exactly what I was looking for (even the legs mirror the chair I had at home), in my budget ($35), and it fit perfectly in the backseat of my car! So now Bianca has her own little home, and I have a new place to blog from. It’s early days yet, but I really love having a dedicated spot for blogging, and while it hasn’t elminated my typing pain altogether, it has certainly lessened it. And I love how it fits into my room: it looks like it’s always been there! Not to mention, now I can enjoy the tree-filled view out of this window; when I stare off into space while working on a post, I’m often able to engage in a spot of birdwatching. Between my new desk and finding an independent cafe with free wi-fi near the library, I’ve reinvigorated the physical side of computer using, which increases my love for blogging. I’m surprised by how much effect having a lovely setting has had: being on the computer feels more special, somehow.

Do you have any habits/rituals around blogging itself? Places you prefer to blog in? Beverages you partake of while at the computer (mine would be tea)? Certain times of the day set aside for blogging or you’ve declared computer-free? Or do you think I’m weird?

On to this week’s one-sentence reviews!

Read Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country by Louise Erdrich if…you’re looking for a personal, bookish, fascinating account of travel amongst Ojibwe sacred spots.

Read The Summer Book by Tove Jansson if…you want to recapture the magic of childhood, enjoy strong female characters and/or a strong sense of place, don’t care about an absence of plot (it’s more episodic in feel), or just want an extremely charming book that could be read in one sitting.

Read The Little Friend by Donna Tartt if…you love the Southern gothic style, are looking for smart, bookish girl protagonists, enjoy it when an author includes a ton of nods to other books/genres, or want to get lost in a steamy, scary Mississippi summer and aren’t put off by a book being described as sprawling.

Read The Black Sheep by Honoré de Balzac if…you’re attracted to classics about unprincipled people and their social schemes and don’t mind a book populated by one-dimensional characters, awkward pacing, and a slow start (if on the other hand you just want to try Balzac, I got along far better with Cousin Bette).

Read The Day Lasts More than a Hundred Years by Chingiz Aitmatov if…you’re looking for wonderful writing, a book that reflects on the moral quandries of living in a totalitarian state, a story steeped in the culture of Kyrgyzstan, or a rich novel focused on the emotional lives of men.

Read The Vagrants by Yiyun Li if…you’ve been longing for a book set in China that isn’t full of stereotypes and/or misogynism/chauvinism, if you love it when an author refuses to pigeonhole any character and makes you empathise with even the most disturbing ones, or you’re looking for a good example of modern ‘literary’ fiction.

Read Physics of the Impossible by Michio Kaku if…you’re drawn to intelligent popular science books, need some conversation starters for your next cocktail party, or want to get your geek on: Kaku looks at different technologies present in various sci-fi movies, books, and TV shows and examines existing physics theory/experiments/developments to decide on the possibility that each one can exist at all and speculates on when/in what form we might see it.

Read Literary Theory: A Very Short Introduction by Jonathan Culler if…you want a very general, articulate explanation of the philosophies driving literary theory.

Read Wolf to the Slaughter by Ruth Rendell if…you’re into classic-style British mysteries and don’t mind when all of the women characters are portrayed through the male gaze, and a not very sympathetic gaze at that.

The Sunday

67 Comments leave one →
  1. July 24, 2011 9:58 am

    Lovely new desk, it’s odd how a new setup can change so much isn’t it? I love my new desk after a few years without one as well. I don’t really have any set schedule though, just blog whenever I feel like I might be able to focus :)

  2. July 24, 2011 10:04 am

    I love coffee shops with free wi-fi. I’ve been going to one just about every day all summer long. I won’t have much time for them once school starts again.

    I loved The Day Last More than a Hundred Years myself. It’s one that has stayed with me, too, much more than I thought it would.

  3. July 24, 2011 10:10 am

    I suffer from shoulder and hand pain as well and mine has gotten better since I got my desktop at Christmas. Sitting at a desk definitely improved things for me. Glad you found the perfect desk.

  4. July 24, 2011 10:14 am

    Is your new desk a sofa table? That’s a really great idea! I always thought I wanted one of those portable laptop desks/tables but that would be more decorative and such an easy solution.

    • August 1, 2011 8:07 pm

      I think it might be! I’m not really sure what that is, lol.

  5. July 24, 2011 10:21 am

    It looks like you found the perfect table! I’m old fashioned – I still prefer my desktop computer over the laptop, so I blog from my desk.

  6. July 24, 2011 10:42 am

    I am continually impressed with your thrift store finds! I never seem to have much luck, though once Tony and I did score a pretty cool set of 12 drinking classes, each with an astrological sign and horoscope on them!

    I haven’t had a desk at home in over three years! I really stopped using them in my senior year of university, when I finally had a laptop and preferred doing most of my work curled up on my bed. As I type this now, I am actually reclining in bed! I do sometimes use our coffee table when I blog or work from home, but more often than not, my laptop is in fact in my lap! One day I’d like to have the space for a desk, but in a 700 square foot apartment, we don’t even have room for a dining room table! :D

  7. July 24, 2011 10:57 am

    I love the title of your post. I used the same phrase some months ago in a letter to a friend when I was contemplating my own desk. And there is something special about having just the right space with a special place for all of your things. Yours looks lovely. I love the vibrant colors in your space which looks very airy and inviting.

    I used to frequent coffee shops much more often. When I was a student it was more convenient to stop in at a cafe between classes than it was to go home. Now I’d say that my visits are down to once/twice per month.

    I’m glad to hear that you’ve found at least a little relief for your pain!

  8. July 24, 2011 10:59 am

    What a lovely desk! And so nice you can stare out the window while sitting there. I love having a desk and do most of my blogging from it since it is more comfortable for me. Just wish I had better placement for it (my options are limited). Good job! And I like your short book blurbs :o)

  9. July 24, 2011 11:06 am

    What a cute little desk – just perfect for blogging on. I loved your short one sentence reviews, did you read all of those books this week??

    • August 1, 2011 8:08 pm

      I read most of them that week; I think a couple were leftover from the week before. But some of them were short!

  10. July 24, 2011 11:30 am

    Yay! I’m glad you were able to find a way to decrease the pain! I’ll have to pay more attention to my tendinitis pain using the laptop vs. the desktop (I use both). I usually try to prop the laptop up with a pillow, but it probably still isn’t the best way to type.

  11. July 24, 2011 12:23 pm

    I’m glad that this desk is definitely helping—I’m going to pin it on the magic of Apple, heh.

  12. July 24, 2011 12:25 pm

    Three cheers for decreased blogging pain, and for reconnecting with the fun of computer-ing! And your desk looks super cute. I have a smallish/normal-sized desk, but it’s been transitioned into my sewing table so I hardly ever sit there to write.

    That Louise Erdrich looks very intriguing.

  13. July 24, 2011 1:15 pm

    I like your setup! I don’t have a particular routine for blogging/computer usage, but I have found it very important to be careful of my setup. The wrong chair, the wrong table height for too long, and I can end with a stiff neck or a sore wrist. I’m glad you were able to find something that works for you!

  14. July 24, 2011 1:29 pm

    Great find! It certainly seems perfect for your needs and the space savings make it even more of a treasure. It is nice to have dedicated spaces for things.

    I love the fact that our little old house has a built on “sunroom” that I immediately procured as my space. Having a desk to blog/game at with the XBox hooked up and being surrounded by books and other things that I love it such a treat.

    I’m very happy for you.

    • August 1, 2011 8:09 pm

      That sounds lovely! I adore natural light and would love nothing more than a sunroom to spend all my time in. :D

  15. July 24, 2011 1:39 pm

    I love your setup! When I was living with my boyfriend I did not have a desk for blogging and my blogging went downhill from there. Once I moved out on my own I made sure I got a desk for my apt and it HAS made a difference.

  16. July 24, 2011 2:40 pm

    God you read so much, lol. Glad you enjoyed The Summer Book so much!!! I’ve been dying to read that one :) And I LOVE your desk Eva!!!! It’s so quaint and cute :D As for me, I usually blog laying in bed with a cuppa coffee :p

    • August 1, 2011 8:10 pm

      Quaint and cute: definitely two adjectives I aspire to when decorating! :D And The Summer Book is such a treat Chris: I think you’ll love it!

  17. July 24, 2011 2:54 pm

    Your blogging spot looks perfect! Not so comfy and luxurious that you will fall asleep, yet attractive and perfect for the purpose.

    I love to blog in the most unusual space: It’s in the kitchen, and I squeeze my knees into a counter-top corner and write like crazy! It’s not attractive, yet it does allow me to cook and prepare dinner while blogging. To be perfectly honest, it’s a site close to the wine cabinet, because blogging is so much more fun with a glass of red wine.

    Thank you so much for your blog and insights into the books you read.

    Judith (Reader in the Wilderness)

    • August 1, 2011 8:11 pm

      That reminds me of the narrator in I Capture the Castle! :D It sounds liek fun, and I imagine wine makes blogging flow easier. ;)

  18. July 24, 2011 3:10 pm

    We’re in the midst of packing up our flat and moving to a house so this post has prompted me to think… where will I blog from in our new home… Hmm Maybe I need to search out a blogging desk like your lovely one.

  19. July 24, 2011 3:12 pm

    Fabulous! It looks like it’s just perfect for what you need! And yay for beng able to go out to a cafe!

  20. July 24, 2011 3:31 pm

    I really like your new desk! It seems to fit in perfectly!

    For awhile after we moved in this new apartment in November, I didn’t really have a blogging spot. I gave Matt my big desk (we had to sell his when we moved because it was so big and wouldn’t fit in here), so I took over the couch/coffee table area. Since getting my own desk and new desk chair, I have found that I get fewer knots in my neck.

    I try to keep all of my blogging duties at my desk. I find that I think much clearer out here than in front of the TV. And I always have either water or a cup of English Breakfast tea with me. :)

    I’ve been seeing that Culler title everywhere recently. I might have to check it out!

  21. July 24, 2011 4:53 pm

    Your desk looks great!

    I guess I didn’t really get into The Vagrants because I didn’t feel I could empathize with the disturbing character(s) and because the graphic descriptions of violence bothered me. Glad that you enjoyed it, though!

    • August 1, 2011 8:13 pm

      You know, I didn’t find the violence terribly graphic…or at least not exploitative. It felt like it was in the story for a reason, and I think I also read it as mini-representions of the ‘ordinariness’ of violence in a totalitarian state. But I wonder if that’s because I’ve read enough Chinese lit to expect violence? It seems to go along with the writing, although I’m not sure why. I certainly was happy I didn’t live in any of the characters’ worlds, but I was surprised at how much Li made me sympathise with characters I first loathed.

  22. July 24, 2011 5:58 pm

    The blogging space you have created in your room is so lovely. It is nice to be able to look out a window and see the trees while you are blogging. I have a nice nookish office space in my home where I do alot of my blogging. Sometimes I also sit outside on my patio in my big comfy chair and blog out there too. I definitely love being able to have a lot of light and a view of nature when I blog. I’m glad you still love Bianca, I knew you would!

    • August 1, 2011 8:14 pm

      I’m jealous you have a big comfy patio chair! I finally got a reasonably priced outdoor lounge chair thing, and it’s nice but not nearly as wonderful as my indoor armchair.

  23. July 24, 2011 6:45 pm

    What a great place for blogging! I actually really prefer desks, and have eschewed laptops over the past couple of years for desktops. I just found them so much more comfortable – and I don’t normally want to go on the computer whenever I’m elsewhere in the house. I’m so glad you’ve found a way to fit everything in and that it helps!

    I have been wanting to read The Little Friend for ages – it still sounds so appealing!

  24. July 25, 2011 2:04 am

    That is a really amazing desk, Eva! Glad to know that you got one which is of the perfect size! I read Tove Jansson’s ‘Moomin’ series a few days back. I want to read ‘The Summer Book’ now :) Michio Kaku’s book looks quite interesting! Yiyun Li’s book looks wonderful – I need to read that sometime. I have had Donna Tartt’s ‘The Little Friend’ on my ‘TBR’ list for a while. I need to read it soon. I wish Tartt wrote more books. Two books in nearly twenty years is not much and really leaves readers yearning for more. The positive side is that her first book came in 1992 and the second came in 2002 and 2012 is approaching so maybe a third one is due now :)

    • August 1, 2011 8:14 pm

      Actually, there are plans to publish a third one next year! :)

  25. July 25, 2011 5:33 am

    One of the things I miss most about living in the States in Sunday mornings looking around thrift stores and garage sales.

    The desk looks lovely, I Love the color of the wood against the walls. I talked a bit about my blogging space (with photos) in a recent edition of Scene of a Blog. The drink that fuels my writing (and brain power in general isDiet Coke :)

    • August 1, 2011 8:15 pm

      Thanks for the link: I’ll go check it out! :)

  26. July 25, 2011 11:03 am

    I don’t have much of a habit in the way of blogging or reading. With 60 hours of work, a three and a half year old, a husband and three more months until our second son arrives, the only special thing I need is the time to jot a few things down and I call it my blogging time! I am, as I’m writing this, though, at my mother in law’s computer at my inlaw’s beach house while they take my husband and son to the zoo for the day. I feel alive in a way I haven’t regarding blogging in a very long time!

    • August 1, 2011 8:15 pm

      Wow! I’m impressed you blog at all. And I need to find some inlaws w a beach house. ;)

  27. rebeccareid permalink
    July 25, 2011 11:46 am

    I recently read The Summer Book and found I didn’t want to read it fast! I read an episode, reread it. Then put aside. I loved the writing an I just wanted to savor it!

    • August 1, 2011 8:16 pm

      I didn’t want to read it fast either: I kept slowling myself down so it would last longer! But I know for quite a few readers, a short book is a boon so I mentioned it. ;)

  28. July 25, 2011 2:26 pm

    Aww, I love the new desk. It really does fit the space perfectly. I remember finding one of my favorite bookshelves at a yard sale one summer. Pieces of furniture feel so much more personal when you “discover” them instead of just picking them out of a catalogue.

    • August 1, 2011 8:16 pm

      I agree re: discovery than catalogue shopping!

  29. July 25, 2011 2:41 pm

    Love the look of your desk! I have a computer desk but I’m making use of the uni library desks all day at the moment, they are sadly not as pretty :)

    I loved The Little Friend and thought it was just as excellent as The Secret History!

    • August 1, 2011 8:17 pm

      We seem to be in the minority Bina: glad I’m not the only one!

  30. July 25, 2011 5:11 pm

    Love your desk ,very pretty Eva ,all the best stu

  31. July 25, 2011 7:23 pm

    I love your new desk! I’m glad that you’ve figured out what was going on with your wrist. I usually blog early in the morning or late at night though I hate to. I’m almost always drinking coffee but it’s too hot for it right now, so I’m in need of water. Plus I always blog at my desk. :-)

  32. July 25, 2011 8:30 pm

    I love your desk space and your green walls. Funny but I don’t really think I have any “rituals” when it comes to blogging. When it comes to reading I have a favorite chair and all but not blogging.

  33. July 26, 2011 2:16 pm

    What a lovely desk! I’m glad you’re enjoying it! ^-^

    And hee! I’ve heard of the first two books you mentioned! I haven’t read the first one (I know I still have it, but it keeps hiding from me whenever I want to read it), but I’ve read “The Summer Book”. ^-^ I hope you enjoyed it! (It sounds like you did.)

    I don’t really have any blogging rituals myself, though I usually avoid my desk for computer work. It’s actually a little too high for me to use a computer on, so I avoid that. I usually snuggle up somewhere where I can sit straight(ish).

    • August 1, 2011 8:17 pm

      I loved The Summer Book! :) I have to be careful to keep my posture nice and straight in my chair, so I know what you’re talking about.

  34. July 26, 2011 4:19 pm

    Typing in a chair or on the couch will cause me a LOT of pain in my arms if I’m not careful. I can’t wait to have my desk back when we move! I’m glad you found something that works for your room. :D

  35. July 26, 2011 7:09 pm

    I have been having the hardest time making myself sit down and write reviews this year. I don’t know why! I should possibly develop a nice ritual for myself that would make me be a better blogger. Your new desk is pretty!

  36. July 27, 2011 11:00 pm

    I love your desk ! Glad you enjoyed The Vagrants too.

  37. bethfishreads permalink
    July 28, 2011 6:18 am

    Love your desk — what a great find! I prefer my desktop computer to any laptop or netbook, so I’m always at a desk.

  38. July 28, 2011 6:29 am

    That is a lovely desk and one of the tidiest! I’m glad you found that it eased your pain:) I have a big desk/table but it’s always covered with books and stuff that I never have space for my laptop. I really need to do a big clean. Often I just blog while I watch tv or in bed.

    • August 1, 2011 8:19 pm

      I’m not a naturally neat person, so I’ve found the fewer things I own, and the stricter I am w what’s allowed on my various surfaces, the better! Otherwise, my room descends into chaos.

  39. July 28, 2011 3:28 pm

    Lovely – the desk, the lamp, the wall colour and matching cushion – all of it! I usually blog on the couch with my computer in my lap, too, but it’s often much too easy just to curl up with a book there instead. A little desk to blog at would be fantastic.

  40. July 29, 2011 8:54 pm

    You have an absolutely lovely spot to blog from! Gorgeous! I’m definitely intrigued by your description for Donna Tartt’s book and want to check it out based on the word “gothic” alone :)

  41. July 31, 2011 11:52 am

    I LOVE the desk (and your wall color too)!! Seems like a stress-free, soothing enviroment (perfect for reading AND yoga)!!

  42. July 31, 2011 1:09 pm

    How awesome!!!! I also love the color of your walls! Do you by any chance remember what color that is? Love it. So glad you are feeling less pain!

    • August 1, 2011 8:21 pm

      Thanks! I do remember, since I only painted it a few months ago (maybe January or February). It’s Behr’s Indian Ocean from Home Depot; it’s a lovely colour: in natural sunlight it looks a bit more ‘antiquey’ while under bright artificial light it looks like in the photo above. I usually use a couple lamps instead of my overhead, and the shadows are excellent.

  43. August 1, 2011 8:34 pm

    Thank you to everyone for all the sweet compliments: I love that the little fun things in life are made so much more fun by sharing them with all of you! And I was surprised to see how many of you prefer desktops: I don’t know anyone in my ‘face-to-face’ life who owns anything but a laptop! I enjoy being able to move mine around my room, since it’s also my ‘TV’ for Netflix streaming and DVDs, but treating it more like a desktop for blogging has been quite nice. So now I know where you’re coming from!

  44. August 3, 2011 9:38 am

    nice llama

    desktops are great because you’re able to customise them or if one component stops working you can just replace it.

    one tip: if you are using your laptop as an occasional desktop replacement I would suggest buying an external keyboard and mouse and even a monitor. I find that when I use a laptop on a desk I have to hunch over and my posture suffers.

    • August 4, 2011 11:00 am

      I’m lucky; I’m short enough that I don’t really have to hunch. ;) Also, the llama is one of my fave photos that I’ve taken, and I do love animals, sooo…it’s kind of random as wallpaper I have to admit!

  45. August 3, 2011 2:08 pm

    My blog name says it all. Reading Fuelled by Tea – tea is to be drunk *at all times*. I tend to do my blogging in big bursts on evenings and weekends for about a week at a time, and I do my blog reading in the morning when I’ve got to work but it’s not nine o’clock yet (I cycle in so I’m often physically at work very early).

  46. August 7, 2011 4:45 am

    I love it. It looks so comfy. :)

    I blog from my bed. My room is absolutely tiny so even though I have a desk, I have no chair to fit next to it. I’ve got a new laptop now though so I just sit in bed at the end of (or beginning of) the day and blog/visit sites from there. :) Much more comfortable.


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