Remember the scene where the Beast tells Belle to close her eyes, leads her into a dark, dusty room, and then rips open the drapes, revealing the most incredible library any of us have every seen? Books cover the walls from floor to ceiling, or maybe sky, wrapping around columns and behind spiraling staircases. The window seats all have giant plush pillows, and a fire roars in the marble fireplace. Belle has to twirl like Fraulein Maria just to take it all in. Is it possible that this library is the reason Belle agrees to marry the Beast? Sure, eventually he becomes really, really ridiculously good-looking, but forget that—there’s just nothing like the perfect dream library to get a lady going.
Creating a place where you can read, eat, drink, write, and nap in total comfort and safety is not as easy as it sounds. A library must inspire and incubate. It should be an escape for the body and mind. If I could build the perfect library, it would include:
Books: Right? I mean, tell me if you think that’s too tradish, but I feel I’d want, like, a lot of books. Tons of nonfiction and and then a whole section for the classics. Also a section for all of my favorite kids’ books—old favorites whose covers give me a rush of something lost and exciting. A bunch of Bill Peet and maybe some Maniac Magee and BFG.
Window seats: Crucial. Ideally, the library will be on the second floor of my giant house, and when I look up from reading The Gospel According to Jesus Christ, by José Saramago, I’ll feel like I’m in the trees, and the message of the book will really hit home. It’s just better to feel up high when reading, and not grounded. No heavy curtains—I’ll make sure light can always blast in and illuminate the book titles.
Blankets: On everything. So many soft, huge blankets. And rugs on rugs on rugs. No cold feet in my library.
Desk: The kind with little compartments and a leather writing surface and maybe a quill and some ink. This desk will face a window, but also be strategically placed so that I can see the entire room, especially the fireplace and the sheepskin rugs. This placement is crucial; I don’t want anyone to sneak up and murder me while I’m secretly changing my will, leaving everything I own to my “housekeeper.”
What else do I need? A lot of plants, probably—keep that air circulation flowing. And maybe a wine fridge. I’m really excited about this. You guys are free to come and read in silence with me. We’ll have a blast.
What’s your dream library like?