In a time where sophistication wasn’t measured by the size of flat-screen televisions or smart-phone apps, the personal library was where one proved one’s merit. In my travels, the library of the Festetics Castle in Keszthely, Hungary put my own personal library to shame.
This library, as you can see from my video, is two stories high, with volumes across genres, across languages, and across time. The detailed, dark woodwork and marble floors lent grandeur to the words protected on these bookcases. My only complaint was that these dusty manuscripts weren’t accessible to the literary tourist.
My favorite room had a hidden door covertly concealed within the shelves. This was a library overflowing with stories, and surely not all of these tales were those written upon pages.
In 2010, those among us who treasure and build our collections of tomes might just be considered hoarders. There’s even a psychological disorder for those addicted to collecting books: bibliomania. But there’s something about the collection of books that can never be matched by a “library” on an e-reader. There’s something nostalgic and magnificent, something we as writers understand more than anyone else.