If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. – Cicero
The Abagond Library does not exist – yet. But if I ever come into a lot of money then I would love to build it. It would be my own private library and retreat.
It is in the mountains in the middle of the woods, but less than two hours from New York. It is at the end of a little walkway made of white stones twisting through the woods. You do not see the library till the last minute, there in a small clearing.
It is a round building with tall windows and a dome on top. It has two floors.
The top floor is not much: just four small rooms where people can sleep overnight or work. They each have a bed, a little window and a computer that goes to the Internet.
The ground floor is grand but comfortable. To the north is a fireplace, to the east books from China, to the south books from India and the Muslim world and to the west books from the West. Between the books are tall windows.
Books: It would have all the great books from those parts of the world, in both English and the original tongues. It would have books to learn Chinese, Arabic, Sanskrit, Latin and Greek. It would have
- Encyclopaedia Britannica
- Oxford English Dictionary
- Migne’s Patrologia
- The books of Augustine’s library
On the south wall stands a grandfather clock that tells not just the hour and minute but the day, month and year.
If you look up you see stars and beasts painted gold on deep blue. It turns to match the sky. In the dark it lights up.
On the floor is a large Persian rug with a map of the world done in the style of the late 1500s. You can follow the map to the books from that part of the world.
Round the rug are large, comfortable chairs. You can sit in them for hours and read or talk and lose all sense of time. You can even fall asleep and not get a neck pain.
Next to each chair is a small table with a reading light. It is a place for your books and your cup of tea and maybe some cake.
In the middle is a large, round table.
Next to the fireplace is a door. Through it is a place where you can make tea or get something to eat. It is also the way to the bathroom and the steps that lead to the upper floor.
It is not just a place of books but also a place to get away and get some work done. Or be with friends for a weekend.
I should be able to live there at least a week at a time. If I did not have a family, it would be my house, or at least my country house – I would want a place in the city too.