“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices… Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”
Written by Matt Haig, The Midnight Library (2020) tells of a magical library where Nora Seed is able to see out different versions of her life had she made different decisions.
It was very late and everyone had left the cafe except an old man who sat in the shadows the leaves of the tree made against the electric light. In the day time the street was dusty, but at night the dew settled the dust and the old man liked to sit late because he was deaf and now at night it was quiet and he felt the difference.The two waiters inside the cafe knew that the old man was a little drunk, and while he was a good client they knew that if he became too drunk he would leave without paying, so they kept watch on him.
The opening lines of “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” by American writer Ernest Hemingway (1899 – 1961), from his collection of stories Winner Takes Nothing (1933). It’s still my favourite short story of his. I’m a big fan of Hemingway and have quoted him on the blog before, on a post about my favourite short story writersand on The Old Man and the Sea.
As said by Howard Hogarth in children’s classic The Iron Man (1968) by British Poet Laurette Ted Hughes. Known as The Iron Giant in the United States (along with the wonderful film based on the book), it tells of a giant “metal man” who appears from out of nowhere and eats all the metal before being efriended by a young boy.
I haven’t been doing much reading as I’ve been busy writing. But if I was in one of these liteart sanctuaries, that would definitely change! Here are eight of the world’s most beautiful libraries from all around the world. Do you have a favourite?
I saw Cathy at 746 books had posted on Book Spine Poetry, where she arranges the spine of a set of books and turns it into a poem. I liked the idea but thought I’d arrange mine into a story concept. Here someone super rich has an dramatic epiphany after a rather lonely life and feels the need to take a silver sword so as to meet the mystical Kafka.
The boy ignored the question. He was undoing the wooden box, and he took out the little silver sword. “This is the best of my treasures he said. ‘It will bring me luck. And it will bring you luck, because you gave it to me. I don’t tell anybody my name – it is not safe. But because you gave me the sword and I didn’t borrow it, I will tell you.’ He whispered. ‘It is Jan.’
The Silver Sword (1956) by Ian Seraillier is a children’s novel that tells of three siblings and an orphan’s difficult quest to make it from Poland to Switzerland just after World War II. I read it again for the first time since Primary School and enjoyed it just as much.
He [Eddie Cicotte] had grown up believing it was talent that made a man big. If you were good enough and dedicated yourself, you could get to the top. Wasn’t that enough of a reward? But when he got there he had found out otherwise. They all fed off him, the men who run the show and pulled the strings and kept it working. They used him and used him and when they had used him up, they would dump him. In the few years he had been up they had always praised him and made him sound like a hero to the people of America. But all the time they paid him peanuts. The newspapermen who came to watch him pitch and wrote stories about him made even more money than he did.
Eight Men Out: The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series by Eliot Asinof, which tells of how a set of elite Chicago baseball players threw the final against the lesser fancied Cincinnati Reds for monetary gain. While the scandal is well known in American culture, there are still plenty of myths and uncertainities around the whole series. There are doubts about how much Shoeless Joe, the most famous of the eight, was involved.
After the war, America rose to the status of a world superpower. It was a daydream of gleaming crome, bright white smiles and bleached/blond hair. But behind the perfect veneer, lay something else completely – strange monsters, quivering with fear and anger. Sterling was able to see those monsters walking in broad daylight – then capture and pin them down on paper.
Taken from Beyond the Zone, the author’s note in The Twilight Zone: Rod Serling and the Birth of Television (2019) by Koren Shadmi. The book is an autobiographic novel of the life of the creative American talent Rod Serling, made most famous for the seminal show The Twilight Zone. For any major fans of the show like me, I really recommend it.
It’s been just over a month since I posted about my second book, and I can still feel that adrenalin buzz. When you can see people around the world buy copies and give lovely feedback it makes all the many drafts worth it. For the writers among you, please keep at it because it is worth it. For those interested the link is below, with availability in both Kindle and paperback form.
“A great sorrow, and one that I am only beginning to understand: we don’t get to choose our own hearts. We can’t make ourselves want what’s good for us or what’s good for other people. We don’t get to choose the people we are.”
As said by the highly reflective Theodore Decker in The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt (2013). The Pulitzer Prize winning novel tells of a 13 year’s old struggle to recover after a tragic incident, and his long-running connection with a painting by Carel Fabritius. You can find my review of The Secret History, Tartt’s debut novel here.