our second floor bedroom at the old parsonage b&b in frant, kent, was the most delightful of all the places we stayed in the united kingdom, and not only because of the lush green landscape and lamb dotted hills. the room itself was lined with bookshelves floor to ceiling, volumes of every ilk and style. the estate was an old family home, and this room had obviously become the repository for the famly books. there were children’s readers, popular novels (popular in the 60’s and 70’s that is), poetry collections, biographies of obscure englishmen, coffee table photography books -a miniature library right in my bedroom. a veritable paradise for this ravenous reader.
in an article in today’s new york times, attention is given to choosing the “right” books to adorn our “second homes.” after all, “built in bookshelves and rooms called libraries are common amenities in many vacation homes.” what are the “proper” books to fill these shelves? short story collections are high on the list, from the likes of cheever and updike, as are books that “are good for flipping through”-madonna’s sex gets the nod in that category. it never hurts to include books that “can be dipped into satisfyingly,” and the poetry of auden or keats is noted to fill this requirement.
since i just left my “vacation home,” i must glumly consider the sad little library that nestles on a shelf in the guest room closet, consisting mostly of paperbacks i’ve brought down and finished, not caring enough to haul them home. there are a couple of hardcovers, picked up on the remainder stacks at borders when i’ve run out of reading material while visiting. and, (i’m ashamed to admit this, but it’s true) one copy of dennis mcfarland’s the singing boy placed carefully on a dresser in the guest room because its powder blue cover blends perfectly with the room’s color scheme. (of course, i read the book first, and it was very good!)
so, bookwise, my vacation home is far from the b&b in frant. i also have some work to do if i’m to bring my “library” up to the nyt’s requirements.
i suppose that means i need to do some book shopping. (smiles)