Leopold Carl Müller (1834 – 1892) was an Austrian genre painter. He is known for life scenes in Italy and Hungary and for his oriental paintings. I think this lady is reading a book of fairy tales. What else could be so big and have her so engrossed?
Here is a painting by an unknown Flemish artist, entitled The Botanist. The date on the painting is 1603. Note the flowers pictured in his botanical. And what is that interesting tool in his hand? Something to do with gardening, I presume, although it looks like a weapon.
The painting below, Bakery at Eeklo by Cornelis van Dalem, a 16th century Flemish painter, doesn't have a book in it but it's based on an old legend and it's so quirky, I couldn't resist posting it.
The legend stated that if you were not satisfied with your head, you could go to a baker in Eeklo, Flanders. The baker would remove your head and put a cabbage on as a temporary replacement. The head would be reshaped by the baker to its desired form and baked in the oven. The new head would then be put on the body again, but people should be careful. If the head was baked for too short, you would become forever 'half-baked.' If the head stayed in the oven for too long you would become a 'hothead.' If the process failed at all, you would be a 'mis-bake.'
The artist, Jan de Bray (1627-1697) was a Dutch Golden Age painter. This 1663 painting of his has a curious story attached. The man in the painting, Abraham Casteleyn, was a printer from Haarlem in 1656-1680. He was the founder of the newspaper Haerlemse Courant, one of the oldest newspapers in the world still in existence. Casteleyn started his newspaper in 1656. Over the years of its continuous operation, it went through several name and format changes, switched owners and undergone mergers. It is currently published as Haarlems Dagblad.
In the painting, Abraham Casteleyn is depicted with his young wife, Margarieta.