Thursday, January 08, 2009
Books, books and books
I do miss going to the library. I mean I could go to the small local one but it's not the same as the London ones I used to go to. I once belonged simultaneously to two North London ones and a big one in Westminster and would happily get piles of books from each and goodness alone knows how I ever managed to cope with reading them all. But somehow I did.
I also used to enjoy the atmosphere inside. All still and calm, a place where you could find a random chair in the corner and just sit and browse and the hours would drift by.I've seen people do more or less the same thing in bookshops but to me it just isn't right.If you want to read a book then either do it at the library or buy it from the shop; don't sit and read it in the shop. Likewise with newspapers- I see people stand and read the paper bold as brass in the shop and then put it down and leave it crumpled for someone else to buy.
Anyway, back to the library. Because we live in a bit of France to which many English people have moved there is actually a library of all our expat community's unwanted books.These books reside not a stone's throw from where I live and are the sort of books you see at airports, in quite good condition and there are in fact some that I would probably spend a day casually reading. The thing is that it does not look like a library; it is in fact a small room in an Anglo-French community centre and it just does not have the atmosphere that I crave. There are no tables or chairs to lay piles out and then sort through what you might take home; there are no old people sheltering from the cold; there is no librarian - you just self-stamp, in short there is no sort of feeling at all.
I've always been a buyer of books, as has Mr Fancy. Consequently we have hundred and hundreds of the buggers and it would just be nice to put an end to this compulsion and be able to go and order the new 'must read book', according to the TLS or Guardian, from a library. I could no doubt order a copy from the library we have in our town but then of course it would be in French which, although I speak it to a fair standard, I do not want to spend hours reading.
Oh well, who was it said there is no furniture as charming as books*
*Sydney Smith that's who