bookshelves · ideas

Murder Room

THURSDAY. Spent yesterday rearranging the detective fiction. We’ve put it up in the guest bedroom, now to be known as the Murder Room“, writes Alberto Manguel in his Reading Diary.

I find this most amusing – a guest bedroom called Murder Room! A guest Murder bedRoom in a medieval presbytery renovated into a house! I wonder how his friends felt sleeping in it; wonder if they had dreams of violence and death. Too bad he wrote nothing about that.

I never thought about the possibility of having books all around the house. I always imagined one single, relatively small room, called Library.. with books from floor to ceiling, dark wood shelves.. a reading nook by a large window looking into the garden or down the valley.. a desk.. a dark red carpet with stylized blossom branches.. a cozy armchair (or a rocking chair?) in a corner, coffee table besides it and a pretty lamp.. Of course, one of the shelves would prove to be a door leading into the small bedroom which too would host few shelves with favorites..

But, I like Alberto’s idea.. Only, my guest bedroom would be filled with all sorts of Fantastic literature.. Tolkien next to Hoffmann, Irving besides Poe. Bulgakov, Terry Pratchett, Ursula Le Guin sharing a shelf with Peter S. Beagle and Algernon Blackwood. Neil Gaiman. Irmelin Sandman Lilius leaning on Hans Christian Andersen, brothers Grimm and Perault. Bram Stocker, Catherynne Valente.. Well, J.K. Rowling, too.. A pile of folktales from all around the world… It would be a room of fairies and elves, ghosts, mermaids, trolls, gnomes, leprechauns, unicorns, griffins, and dragons – all living among the covers.. waiting for you to open the book, to grab you and pull you inside..

I wouldn’t know how to name it, though… The room, that is… I’m bad at giving names.


Halloween Horrors

Around this time last year I came to know (through one of the favorite blogs) about Neil Gaiman’s wonderful idea – All Hallow’s Read: giving scary books for Halloween. It was then too late to make the tradition my own. This year, however – I completely forgot about it! So disappointing… While scolding myself for this shameful failure of memory I started thinking how exciting it would be to give books on various occasions of personal importance… Midsummer night, for example – perfect for exploring folk tales crowded with elves, gnomes, trolls, dwarfs, fairies and other creatures of fantasy and magic. Or World Book Day – giving books on books and reading! Or Earth day – what better day for exchanging books like Barbara Kingsolver’s Flight Behavior or Eleanor Perényi’s Green Thoughts!…

To get back on the subject of Halloween reading, though… It was a sunny, slightly windy, day today. No rain, no storms, not even a single gray cloud to set the mood for juicy stories. The morning was spooky, with the silver fog still low above the ground. But what is one to do with morning? For a good Halloween reading, one needs strong winds, lightning, and thunders and mist or at least a creepy place: deep woods, an old castle or a house, a graveyard, a forgotten road, Manchac swamp and so on and so forth… Since I had no intention of getting out of my own bed and the night promised to be indigo blue and starry I went with the flow and borrowed Washington Irving’s The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Other Stories from the American Corner library to tuck myself to sleep with the faintest chill possible…