I think it would come as no surprise to any of you to learn that I am an unrepentant bibliophile, and that libraries are places I put ahead of churches. Doing a bit of surfing, I came across an incredible site: Librophiliac Love Letter: A Compendium of Beautiful Libraries.
Go. Browse. Marvel at the incredibly beautiful libraries there. Pure lust!
It reminds me of the time I went to the Scottish Poetry Library. (A “must visit” place for any poet.) Shelf after shelf after shelf of poetry books. They specialise in Scottish poetry, but they have a superb collection of poetry from Britain in general, and a pretty decent representation of other poetry too. I went in intending to spend an hour or so, and ended up being politely asked to leave when they were closing up for the day. Sigh!
The other great Bibliophile Lust site is the town of Hay-on-Wye, on the Welsh border. It’s certainly got its touristy bits, but they don’t matter. Because what it does have, in obscene abundance, is bookshops. Oh god, the bookshops! Secondhand, antiquarian, new, remaindered, specialist … We used to drive back from my Glamorgan residencies through Hay, and I would be allowed to spend a couple of hours bookshopping. And it was never long enough. Not even close! If you know the paradox of Buridan’s Ass, you’ll get some sense of how I felt each time I visited the place.
I think I need to go and lie down for a while …