There I was, minding my own business, when I happened upon The Literary Gift Co.
Lord, have mercy.
So many bookish delights, so little time.
For instance, take a look at this hand-lettered poster, highlighting 226 geographically connected authors from the U.S.A . . .
And for heaven’s sake, let us not forget those authors from Britain and Northern Ireland . . .
Of course, my favorite is the map of children’s literature in Britain . . .
Perfect for the library, non?
The Library of Congress was established in 1800 to serve solely as a reference library for Congress. After the British set the Capital Building ablaze (August 1814)—thus destroying some 3,000 volumes—Thomas Jefferson offered his own, personal library as a replacement.
And oh, what a library it was . . . amassed over fifty years, it included 6,487 books covering all manner of topics, in a variety of languages. Jefferson believed some might take offense with a few of the titles. True enough. Seems there was a bit of a kerfuffle. Members of Congress argued amongst themselves (as members of Congress are wont to do) whether or not it was a good idea to purchase such a diverse collection.
Luckily, in January of 1815, the quest for knowledge won out.
Of course, we won’t talk about the second fire that destroyed nearly two-thirds of those books. That’s just depressing.
Instead we’ll celebrate the fact that Jefferson laid the foundation for the Library of Congress as it stands today—the world’s largest library, housing 36 million books and other print materials in 460 languages, 69 million+ manuscripts, the largest rare book collection in North America, and more. They’re just a few million reasons why the Library of Congress is a beautiful place to while away the hours . . .
There’s nothing quite like a wall of books. They have a way of making any space–no matter how industrial–seem warm and inviting. La Maison de Verre–the famed House of Glass— is a perfect example …
Inviting or no, just imagine the conversation that transpired in that room. It was, after all, frequented by French surrealist poets and writers of the time including Louis Aragon, Paul Eluard, John Cocteau, and Max Jacob.
Click here to learn more about the architecture of the building–and view the “before” photos.
Click here to read The New York Times (26 August 2007) article that touches on the most recent owner.
Ladies and gents, Neil Gaiman’s library …
*ahem* … his downstairs library. It’s complete with bookish felines and gargoyles–requirements for any truly respectable library.
According to his website, he also has an upstairs library. Apparently, that’s where he keeps books that are best pulled from the shelf at a moment’s notice…those that can accomodate a quick read, when you have but a moment. Say, I like it…
Click here to get the whole story from Shelfari.
Click here to take a tour.
AND click here to visit Neil Gaiman’s official site.