How’s your weekend going? I seem to be feeling the urge to hibernate. Last Friday my husband went into town to catch up with a friend. I stayed home and dined on steamed chocolate pudding and custard accompanied by a large mug of hot chocolate. Don’t judge 😉 .
I had a shortlist of interesting, stimulating posts to offer today. I’m going to save them and go with the cozy self-indulgence theme instead. Do you have your own library? Not a Kindle, or a bunch of bookcases in the guest bedroom, but a private, personal temple dedicated to reading?
If you’ve ever read a historical romance or watched a period drama, chances are you’ve come across a library scene. It is, after all, a truth universally acknowledged that every hot hero should have a fabulous library in his mansion.
If you’ve ever visited an English stately home, chances are you’ll have realized that said libraries weren’t designed for comfort reading, but as a statement of the wealth, culture and education of their owners.
You might not be aware that this notion of a library is alive and thriving in the twenty-first century. If you are very, very wealthy and want to fill hundreds of linear feet of your home with books, you can commission an expert to create a private library for you. Click here to discover the services offered by Kinsey Marable, said to be the world’s leading bespoke librarian. Don’t skip the photographs :-).
Mr Marable will visit you to get a sense of your personality and interests, and if you have no specific requests, he will provide you with proprietary lists of titles that he and his team have built up over the past 20 years or so. If you want a library of first editions and your pockets are bottomless, he can do that, too, though it may take awhile.
If I had an insane amount of money, I’d buy a gorgeous house (not too big; I’m not a fan of live-in staff). I’d hire an amazing architect to transform it to my specifications. I would definitely want a library – it might be the biggest room in the house – but I can’t imagine commissioning somebody to buy books for me. Where’s the fun in that? My only criterion for buying a book is whether I want to read it, and the only person who’d know that is me. I have no interest in books as an investment, as an artifact, as interior design, or as a social/intellectual statement.
It’s fun to play What If? though. What kind of room would I want Amazing Architect to create to house all my favorite books – romance of all sub-genres, urban fantasy, travel, and biography?
I’d buy new print editions of everything, in trade paperback that I could read in full daylight and without wearing gloves. Half my lottery win would be my husband’s, so I’d share my temple to genre fiction with his detective stories, police procedurals, sci-fi, space opera and scientific biographies.
My library would be in a peaceful location. There would be no traffic, no noisy neighbors, no planes or helicopters flying over, no lawn-mowers and strictly no builders. Bird-song would be welcome. There would be a spectacular unspoiled view, probably rolling moorland and rocky outcrops (you can take the girl out of Derbyshire…). If I couldn’t find that, I’d settle for a seascape or a wildflower meadow or rolling acres dotted with sheep and cows.
The room would be spacious, with double-height ceilings and lots of light – skylights and picture windows along one wall. The lighting designer would have to be a wizard, because the light would be perfect no matter where in the room I chose to sit. The lighting systems (all recessed and hidden) would adjust automatically in response to changes in natural light so that reading conditions would always be ideal.
The temperature would be just right. No matter what the weather outside, it would be t-shirt and bare feet conditions.
The walls would be plain, painted a rich, deep golden color to match the polished golden wood floors and custom-made bookshelves.
None of the books would be shelved at giraffe-height, or back-breakingly low.
There would be comfortable leather sofas and armchairs, not too squishy and not too hard. They’d be big enough that I could tuck my feet up while I’m reading, and with matching footstools in case I want to stretch out. I’ve never tried a reclining chair, but maybe that would be a possibility.
There would be a door or archway to a spacious bathroom with a claw-footed bath tub, fluffy towels, scented candles, bath salts and bubble bath. The tub would fill fast with lovely hot water and would be just the right shape and size for me to soak and read. Across from the bathroom would be a well-stocked kitchen with excellent tea, coffee, wine, water and snacks.
There would be no phone, TV or internet, just a stereo tucked away somewhere.
And the perfect finishing touch? A ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign.
What would your library be like?