Okay, you all know that sometimes I skip myths and legends to feature something out of popular fantasy or crossover fiction that I just think is really, really cool. Today is one of those times.
We’re all readers here, right? So somewhere within us, even if we buy our own copies of every book we’ve ever read, somewhere within us is a yearning for a great and perfect library. Well, in Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series a world where you can—if you have the gift—actually jump into books, that library is the Great Library, the library wherey each and ever book is alive.
Fforde compares everyday books versus Great Library books to photos versus the people they represent. The Great Library is a bit like an intermediary between fictional (or literal, as there are nonfiction books as well) worlds, and it contains every version of every book every published, alphabetically by author on twenty six separate floors, one for each letter of the alphabet. In the Well of Lost Plots—the subterranean levels of the library—it also contains every version of every unpublished and/or unfinished manuscript, as well, and there are places in the Well of Lost Plots where books are demolished bit by bit and can be sold off piecemeal to be turned into something new. In the main section of the library there are also the basic creature comforts of tables and chairs at which to read, of course.
I’ve always been enchanted with libraries, myself, but a Fforde just makes me want to live inside of this one. The reading experience of these Great Library books is supposed to be the best reading out there—nothing can distract you, your mind doesn’t wander, smells and tastes become real as you read of them… it’s a little bit like book heaven. A lovely, fictional book heaven.