Is there such a thing as book envy? Or maybe library book room envy? If so I have it.
My greatest wish was to walk into a room lined with my whole book collection instead of it being scattered across my home in boxes, bags, and a suitcase in my loft. My ideal room would have a huge solid English oak desk looking towards French windows that opened onto a stone patio. The view from the patio would be towards rolling green fields and woodland. The house would be a smallish with large windows that let in plenty of light. It would be an easy to clean house with a surrounding garden of trees, flowers, and a flagstone paths leading a vegetable garden.
Whenever I visit stately houses in England I go weak at the knees on seeing their libraries. Most of their books are under lock and key. Books were valuable possessions and a symbol of wealth. It meant that the family could afford to educate their children. Books were privately printed for those who could afford to fill a room with them.
It wasn’t until mass printing in the 15th century that allowed books to become more freely available. At that time the only book most people owned and valued was the family Bible. It’s why they recorded their births, marriages and deaths in it.
My love of books started when I was very young. I couldn’t read, but my grandmother used to read The Family of Robin stories to my sisters and I. As I grow older, I used to spend my Saturdays in a reference library across the road from where I grew up. All day until it closed, I would sit on the floor looking through a pile of books.
My father had a love of books too, mainly sci-fi, which he would often give me to read. After I read them he would ask my thought on them. My ex-husband’s family were great readers, and were the first family I knew who had shelves of books everywhere. My father in law was a member of a book club and received new books through the post, which I thought was amazing.
Car boot sales and charity shops gave me access to cheap books. As I’ve always lived on a tight budget, especially when my son was little, I was able to build up a good collection of my own books. I’ve told my son that all that would be left in my home when I died, will be my collection of books. Everything else I no longer need will slowly be got rid of like china, clothes, etc.