The image at left reminded me of the day I went to the John Keat’s house, Hampstead Heath, London, England. It wasn’t really his house, but he lived in one half of the house, which then was divided in two separate living abodes. Keats had a bedroom and sitting room. The other side of the house lived Fanny Brawne, to whom he would be engaged. Many of Keat’s best poems were written at this house.
I clearly remember walking into Keats sitting room with a small library and French windows that opened to a garden. I felt at home; indeed I felt that warm welcome as the words on the poster image at left say. In fact, in the guidebook I purchased at the time there is a picture of the Joseph Severn painting of Keats sitting in a chair reading a book in that very room.
The feeling I had walking into that room has been experienced in other homes when I see bookshelves loaded with books. No matter how far from, home, no matter how strange the neighborhood, no matter where you are, those bookcases and small libraries offer feelings of comfort, of safety. You sense you can trust the people who live there.
A feeling of even greater wonderment and joy is created when the books are hardbacks, ones without jackets, ones that have that musty old feeling; books that have lived on the shelf for a long time. It is impossible to resist pulling them from shelves to see the publication date, to see the type that was used, to read sentences published decades ago.
I don’t have those feelings in regular libraries, for you expect to find books there. It is more akin to a warehouse. But in a home where there are tall bookcases set into the wall, or floor to ceiling bookcases filled with cloth and leather bound books like the one in Keat’s House, properly called Wentworth Place, is like a little kid being turned loose in a candy store.
My Amazon page housing non-musty digital books for your Kindle bookcase is here.