If there is any justice in this world, in a few days from now many of us will be unwrapping shiny new additions to our book collection. Like every other avid reader I’ve put in my request to Santa of titles I would quite him to bring down the chimney on Christmas Eve. I went for a mixture of some titles from my classics reading list and some from the world literature challenge.
What I really wanted as a present is what I know I can’t have. See what I want, what I really really want would take rather more ingenuity (and pennies) than I think my beloved family members would consider possible.
My heart’s desire would be a personal library of the kind you see in films located in British stately homes. You know the ones — shelves that stretch almost to the ceiling filled with hardback books (strictly no paperbacks) whose titles are embossed in gilt. I haven’t yet decided whether the way to reach the upper shelves would be via a gallery walk way or by using a type of ladder that moves along the wall on wheels. It would of course need to be a cosy room (no draughty corners thank you) since I plan to spend many hours in here. I don’t want too much in the way of furniture and certainly not of the chintz variety. I do however require a heavy damask-draped bay window with seat looking out over the lawn or some far away mountain tops; a few wing-backed chairs placed close to the fireplace and of course a few choice ornaments dotted on occasional tables.
And what about the books you say? Ah yes, deciding which titles to include would require some considerable thought and effort. It would be, if not quite “the work of a lifetime” like Mr Darcy’s library at Pemberley, certainly an endeavour that would take be several years to complete. The classics of literature would feature of course but I have a hankering for books that will help fill the many gaps in my knowledge; books containing old maps and stories of travel to places I can never quite place on the globe; guides to fossils and types of architecture; Roman and Greek myths and quite possibly something on science though that would need to be a beginner’s guide since I have little aptitude in that direction. I imagine myself a little like young Jane Eyre, stealing a few moments to peruse illustrated books on British birds or far away lands.
Of course the likelihood this is going to happen is very slim but I’m enjoying the pretence. And if it doesn’t exactly come to fruition, I have a back up plan.
Number 2 on my wish list is a device that would put all other readers into suspended animation for a while (humanely treated of course) while I catch up on all the books they tell me are wonderful but I just haven’t got around to yet. Anyone found one of these yet or will I have to invent it?