By Nicola Davidson
However tough you are, it can be tough to admit to building a library, writes Alexander Gilmour.
Critics will assume your new home is very large — too large — and that the library is merely a symptom of too much space.
As if, mid-renovations, you made the awful discovery that you possess too many rooms. As if your partner turned on you one day and demanded: “Well, what shall we do with this one?” And you — at a loss, worn out — just said: “Oh, darling, let’s build a library.” And so you did.
Nothing could be further from the truth. Your library is no weary afterthought, but always part of the plan — the best part, too. Indeed, it is the most important room in the house. You even sacrificed a third bedroom to build it.
Other rooms have their supporters. The kitchen is a good place to feed, the hall to keep coats and the bathroom to wash. (By the same token, the TV room is good for TV and the bedroom for sleep.) Yet this is flimflam compared to what the library is good for.
It is useful, of course. Here, a chap may write a letter to his aunt, or polish his memoirs. He may host light literary lunches or lapse into a snooze at teatime. He may even read.
Yet the library’s merits are more than merely practical. No other room carries such hope. It is a place to aspire to — to keep books you have never opened but just might if life stopped interfering. It contains your best potential. It is your better, more charming self.
My library is only a week old and very small, but I am in love with it. Here, I shall read Louis-Ferdinand Céline. I shall play poker by firelight and snooze at teatime.
Read the rest here.