Books take us places (real and bookish places) while we are still rooted in our cozy comfy reading corner. And some of those places become dear to us, we visit them in dreams, and dream of visiting them someday soon (if they are places that exist in reality), or continue visiting them in (day)dreams for those places that are pure fantasy. I am sure everyone has ended up adding such places to their travel-bucket-list – places discovered in books you read. Granted, there are also places I would definitely want to avoid.
Looking back at previous posts, I have done top ten lists for both sets – places I would love to travel to (I wonder now why I have Coraline’s world in this list – maybe just a strange attraction to certain things scary!) and those I would stay away from.
Growing up in a small gated community of about 250 families, I was glad that we had two wonderful libraries in town – the school library and the community library. I was a frequent visitor to both, and would slip out of the house whenever I could to visit one of them. There were no bookstores in our little community, but a few were there in the next town, and my dad never refused me any books that I loaded myself with on our visits to those stores. Every summer vacation, and every new place I visited, I would promptly look for the nearest library, some of them tiny little lending libraries in someone’s garage, or for the nearest used bookstore; and it was always a thrill discovering them, and then exploring the magic within.
Today, I am listing bookish places that I would love to (stay in) visit – libraries and bookstores and other bookish locations – these fictional settings are like the icing on the cake for the books they are part of. Here is my list of ten, in no particular order, for today’s Top Ten:
- The beast’s library in the ‘Beauty and the Beast‘ – The beast gifts the library to Belle and she is (as anyone would be!) delighted with her gift. This is one of the most beautiful libraries ever pictured (thanks to the magic of Disney) leading to sighs of awe from the littlest book lovers all over the world. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a library that has thousands of cupboards and seemingly endless books. Conveniently having staircases and ladders to access books in the higher shelves, this library would be a bookworm’s dream come true
- The public library in Matilda (this one is more easily possible, since though the library in the book is fictional, thankfully public libraries are all around us and wonderful places to visit indeed)
- Captain Nemo’s library in Nautilus in Jules Verne’s ‘20000 Leagues Under the Sea‘ – from the book – ‘It was a library. Tall, black–rosewood bookcases, inlaid with copperwork, held on their wide shelves a large number of uniformly bound books. These furnishings followed the contours of the room, their lower parts leading to huge couches upholstered in maroon leather and curved for maximum comfort. Light, movable reading stands, which could be pushed away or pulled near as desired, allowed books to be positioned on them for easy study.’ The library had 12000 books and included books written in various languages, and across subjects (except economics!).
- The Hogwarts Library in the Harry Potter series – Located in Hogwarts Castle, this library contains tens of thousands of books on thousands of shelves. The librarian is Madam Irma Pince and the closing time is 8:00 pm. Avoid the restricted sections and take some caution as you open these magical books (who knows which ones are out to get you!)
- Now that I have mentioned Harry Potter, how can we forget Flourish & Blott’s? A magical bookstore to explore, yes, please!!
- Another bookstore that I would love to spend some time in is Monsieur Labisse’s bookshop from The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I always love to explore bookstores where the owners and employees of the bookshop are “Sending books to a good home“
- The bookish locations in Mr.Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore – I would sure love to spend some time in the used bookstore where not all the books are sold and reside in bookshelves over 30 feet tall accessed by rolling ladders (and it would have been right here, a stone’s throw away from where we live.. if only it were real) and in that underground vault of books ancient and secret in New York city. And all linked to a secret society called the Bound and the Unbound!
- Mr.Lemoncello’s library in the series – You have all heard of escape rooms, now imagine that escape room is a library! Will I really want to escape from it though? Well, not sure of that, but this library will surely be a fun place to visit.
- The Library of Babel – Imagine a universe in the form of a vast library containing all possible 410-page books with a certain format and limited character set. The library is one you can easily get lost in, literally – set in interconnected hexagonal rooms that contain all possible books – the ones that are unwritten, the ones that are pure nonsense, and then all those other books as well. While all the books, shelves, and rooms, as well as interconnecting paths and stairways seem to follow rules that would make Monk happy, the books are shelved in no specific order, and themselves seem to make no meaning. But in that vast universe of books, there must surely be some that make sense. So go ahead and be a traveler and look for that one (or more) book that might just be the one! You can explore the library for yourself here, and if you plan to read the story like I did, read it here.
- Lucien’s library in the Sandman comic series by Neil Gaiman – this seems to be inspired by the library of Babel as it contains every book that anyone ever dreamt of writing. It allows the patrons to read any and all of its books regardless of whether the reader understands the language or not. But be careful – if one of those books in this place called the Dreaming ever get written in the real world, the copy in this library bursts into flames, so hope that does not happen when you are perusing it!
While I am to yet read the last three books mentioned above, I have heard about them before and have been meaning to get to reading them (soon), but I did find the descriptions fascinating enough to include them here
sources: Wikipedia and alibilibrary among others; image sources: wikipedia, goodreads and Warner Bros, among others
Q to the reader: Which of these would be your picks? Let me know.. and while you are here, there are a few more hours left to enter this giveaway on my blog.