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Hard at Work

Since announcing my plans for a research stay in Hungary, I’ve been asked by readers to talk about what exactly I’m doing here in Budapest.  I did babble on about my research in this post and I promise to share more as it develops.  But a picture is a worth a thousand words, so here’s a photo of the gorgeous library I’ve been spending my days in.  I plan to read (well, skim) over 1,100 issues of a Hungarian women’s magazine and study the representation of mothers and women without children.  A lofty ambition to be sure, but the surroundings make it much more enjoyable.  Basically, I plonk down here in the morning and read all day.

I think we need to take a closer look at that chandelier, right?

I was worried about logging so many hours in a library because I am so used to working in my home office and the luxury that entails (comfy chair, privacy, pretty things to look at when my mind wanders) but this room has it in spades.  In fact, the chairs are more glam, and just as comfy, as my cushy office chair.  The space is quiet and rarely occupied.  And there is plenty to ogle – the view out the window is of the parliament!

Sadly, this library has only half of the issues of the magazine here, so I will only be here for a few weeks before moving on to another library.  



  1. Kucorgó anyámkája
    September 24, 2012 / 12:24 pm

    Tényleg gyönyörű! Ez melyik könyvtár? Olyan jó érzés, amikor valami magyarokkal kapcsolatos posztot írsz!

    • Kucorgó anyámkája
      September 24, 2012 / 7:45 pm

      Köszi a linket, megnéztem azt is. Nem ismerem ezt a könyvtárat, bár mentségemre szóljon, hogy én Pécsen jártam egyetemre 🙂 Egyébként a kilátás a Parlamentre is gyönyörű 🙂

  2. Jamie
    September 24, 2012 / 3:00 pm

    Wow Tanya! I could happily spend days in such a beautiful place. Those chairs are beautiful. How about some view pictures? Have you checked out the next library?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 24, 2012 / 5:50 pm

      Ooo, yes. I will post some photos of the view and more around Budapest soon. I have not checked out the next library yet, but I will spend some time at Szechenyi Library (the national library) which is so beautiful, I think it's a tourist site! (

  3. Martina
    September 24, 2012 / 3:07 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful library! I love all the classical details (and the books, oh gosh be still my beating heart), couldn't think of a better place to spend the day reading & researching.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 24, 2012 / 5:51 pm

      The books are amazing. Some seem really old. And these stacks are so high, a ladder is needed to reach many. I'm so small town, I am used to being able to reach any books I need sans ladder!

  4. Whitney @ Drab to Fab Design
    September 24, 2012 / 3:10 pm

    What an awesome setting to study in!! I'm really intrigued by your subject of study too!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 24, 2012 / 5:53 pm

      I promise to share more as it develops! What I have learned is that the magazine was more political in 1989 – few pictures, few articles about beauty or decor. Just lots of meaty issues, from poverty to the arts. It is quite different now (like Woman's Day) so I am curious where the changeover happened.

  5. rusty duck
    September 24, 2012 / 10:27 pm

    Well, there are worse places to 'plonk'! I hope the next library turns out to be as interesting.

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 25, 2012 / 6:53 pm

      Haha! After hitting "publish" I wondered if "plonk" meant something dirty too. Let's hope not. And let's hope the next library is even prettier. And next to more coffee shops!!

  6. Sheila @sZinteriors
    September 25, 2012 / 6:03 am

    Inspiration in a space like that must be kicked into overdrive! It's so beautiful, and neat as a pin…

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 25, 2012 / 6:53 pm

      I wish the task was more creative. The prettiness and the view are a touch distracting when I'd rather be out exploring but must sit and read and read and read. But it's SO much more pleasant than some dank library, which I thought this would be. I am super lucky.

  7. Amy
    September 25, 2012 / 1:34 pm

    Wow what a gorgeous space! Hope you're having an alright time adjusting 🙂

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 25, 2012 / 6:52 pm

      I already have a routine and am late to "work" every day so it feels like home, lol. I promise more details on my temporary life in Hungary. It is so much different than being a tourist!

  8. How2home
    September 25, 2012 / 4:14 pm

    Wow! This library is beautiful!!! The architecture is stunning and so are the furnitures!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 25, 2012 / 6:51 pm

      Do you think I can fit a chair in my suitcase?

  9. Shannon
    September 26, 2012 / 1:32 pm

    What a great 'office'!! Perfect setting to do hours of research! Do you photo copy the articles you need? How many years are you going back?

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 26, 2012 / 5:29 pm

      I started at 1989 – when the transformation from communism to democracy occurred and the magazine was no longer communist funded.I am doing content analysis (for example, our of 12 articles how many dealt with women, with women as mothers, with women as child-free, etc.) and then of the articles that deal with mothers and women without children, I am doing discourses analysis – examining how the women are framed, etc. So I am copying the really good articles, making note of the rest. SLOW work and I need to pick up the pace!!

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      September 26, 2012 / 5:29 pm

      P.S. Thanks for asking 🙂

  10. Grace @ Sense and Simplicity
    September 27, 2012 / 12:58 am

    That library is gorgeous – I can see why it is distracting. I just went back and read your post where you described your thesis. I found it very interesting. The thing that I wondered was, why did you chose to do your research in Hungary? I'm sure the same issues arise in countries all over the world (including ones that are English speaking).

    • Tanya from Dans le Townhouse
      October 23, 2012 / 12:30 pm

      Good question! Sorry I missed it and am only now replying. I speak Hungarian so that made the research enticing. I learned as a child and, although it is rusty, it has felt good to use Hungarian. Also, the area is relatively unstudied – few people study the magazine and no one has looked at women without children here, so there was a place to do new work. Plus, I found a research supervisor who spoke Hungarian so it seemed fortuitous. I often feel very challenged, though, and wonder if I made the right decision . . .

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