You may notice here a photo of a gorgeous building. This is in fact a building that was engineered in its time to be grander and more “Western” than the original Western European spaces is was meant to outshine- with the addition of copious amounts of the newly invented light bulb.
That’s right. I went to the Library of Congress.
The Library of Congress
Obsessive literature nerds, like myself, may know the Library of Congress as being the national library of the United States. Especially if you’ve followed this blog and remember I’ve already posted about their digital offerings inspiring me before. If they were local they might even realize that it’s completely open to the public and hosts public bookish events all the time in an attempt to remedy their reputation as being for researchers only (they totally aren’t) as well as to further their aim of spreading literacy through programs like The Center for The Book and the national library for the blind as well as capturing the American story through recordings of interviews with laborers of every job and veterans and all sorts of people whose stories are rarely heard.
What I like is that it is literally the biggest library in the entire world. They have four giant buildings worth of books, scrolls, films, reels, movies, magazine, folios, photos, music sheets. They cover law and science and that sort of thing but every novel conventionally published in the United States, and occasionally some self published books as well, are kept there. You’ve name it, they’ve got it. They even have a collection of something called fiches, which I have never heard of before.
A Great DC Day Trip
It was a magical place to visit, even if it wasn’t my first time there- but honestly I could go daily to each of the many reading rooms and public rooms and galleries and presentation rooms and I still would not see all there was to see.
I follow For Reading Addicts (You definitely should too) and I love the different #shelfies they post. I feel awkward using the hashtags because I’m pretty sure too many of them make you an outdated internet dinosaur instead of making you cool, but I’m so amused by photos of other people’s shelves I thought it would be worth the risk to hashtag it out on here.
As you can see I’ve got a few second hand books in here that are looking a little scruffy, like “Beyonders” by Mull that I picked up in a hostel in Panama City Panama and felt like I’d won the lottery to find a book that was free, hard back, written in English, and from an author I knew of and like to boot!
Then there’s “Entwined” by Dixon on the right that I bought with part of my first ever paycheck and devoured because it was magical. And above it is Cornelia Funke’s “Dragon Rider”, which I adore, with her book Inkheart right on top of it because I really do like her work (which you can probably tell because a third book of her’s is next to it- “The Thief Lord”- is definitely one of my hands down favorites!)
And then there’s the Tamora Pierce books on the top left of the stack because I am slowly buying her books whenever one pops up in my local library’s book sale or in a used book store.
And Bruce Coville’s “Into the Land of The Unicorns” is clearly well loved as the majority of its cover has come clear off, though thankfully the follow up below it is another part of the series which will hopefully stand up better to frequent reading due to the hardback cover.
And then we have “The China Garden” on the top right which I think few American readers have heard of but is definitely a yearly revisit for me.
This is just a section of my bookshelf that covers my self defined “magical books” genre. Does anyone else just go and make up their own categories for their private bookshelves?
And then there’s the world’s tiniest picture frame with a photo made from one of the mini Polaroids marketed to kids in the late nineties and early `aughts before anyone could afford the early digital cameras, and I trimmed off the waste plastic wrapping the film so I could fit it into the tiny frame. It’s a nice reminder of my brother when he was young, which is great to remember at this time of year as his birthday inched him a little closer to thirty now and the passage of time makes me nostalgic yet again thinking of childhood memories.
And there’s the harmonica next to it which I am still determined to learn to play so I can maybe perform for my grandpa some time as he’s always been a great bluesy player on his own oversized bass harmonica.