During term time if someone asks ‘Have you seen Tania?’ the answer, whether the questioned has seen me or not, is ‘in the library’. This generally means the Music Library, where I will have built a book fort or be found rocking back and forth on the floor clutching a volume of the Grove Dictionary (it has happened).
So I am going to come straight out with this: I love libraries.
Of late I haven’t spend as much time in them as I would like and have spent a shameful amount in bookshops instead. The amount spent referring to both time and money. Although I have a membership to Cardiff’s public libraries, I don’t actually spend that much time in them (this is a shame, some of them are glorious). This is going to change this year as my normal study haunts are often too distracting and I need to change them. Cathays library isn’t far and has a good lot of space for being quiet and doing thoughtful things. If I really feel adventurous I could cycled down into town and locate myself in Central Library. Last time I went in here was a few weeks ago to pick up a score with a friend. Whilst he got the score I went up and down the escalators (after ascertaining that they didn’t have any George R. R. Martin. At least not that I could locate easily). But it’s a good library. It really is.
It was probably due to my book-devouring, library-loving reputation that one of my friends messaged me this morning with a link to a buzzfeed article of pictures from ‘16 Libraries You Have To See Before You Die’. Some of these genuinely remind me of the library in Beauty and the Beast. As a side note, if there are any slightly rugged/Beast-y guys out there who want to give me their massive library (no innuendo intended. Genuinely), they would be most welcome. Another side note would be that I received the list of libraries after a set of pictures of baby police dogs. My friends know me well.
Back to the libraries. Although the idea I most associate with libraries is that of homeliness – all those lovely smelling books, comfy seats, going to the library with my Mum when I was little – the locations of these beautiful libraries reminded me of how many times this year I have turned round and said ‘I want to go somewhere‘. Put the two together and you have the absolutely AMAZING idea of The Awesome Libraries of the World tour. If I was going to go off exploring the world, this would be the way for me to do it! Of course, I have no way of funding such a trip and it is purely a fiction, but I think it might be a worthwhile project to plan anyway. Apparently I am even excited by the idea of looking up pictures of places with books…
This obsession is not something that has rubbed off on my sister. I went in her room to shut a window yesterday and was surprised by the extent of her book collection, as I am surprised every time I walk in her room.
I love her, but this just seems so alien to me! When I said to Mum about how I find it strange that she doesn’t read, because, thinking about it, she doesn’t, I was reminded ‘each to their own’. I know this, but still, my brain is confused.
Maybe I am the one with the problem: I can’t get rid of books! When my stuff was moved into the smaller bedroom Mum stacked two shorter bookshelves together to make a ceiling height container for all my books. Not including the ones that live in the loft. It’s not just that I can’t get rid of them; I also have a constant stream of them coming into my life. Whether I pick them up in cheap shops, charity shops, full-on book shops, online, wherever, they come thick and fast. And although I might not get to them straight away (hello Atwood, Chaucer, Rushdie and various other illustrious names) I read them in the end. In the last couple of years there has also been an increasing intake of academic books, and although I have used many of them I haven’t necessarily read them. That is changing right now, as I’m enjoying my Britten book so much.
Is this normal?
There are so many books out there that I find it daunting – I want to read so many! Whereas my sister will occasionally ‘borrow’ a book or two from my room, perhaps attempt to read them, and eventually put them back after a few months having pretended, if anyone asks, that she has been reading them.
I suppose the lesson here really is that we are all different; it takes all sorts even to make up a family of three women! Imagine if we all liked the same things – what would we argue about?! Who borrows Harry Potter next? No… Wait… That one did actually happen…