There are stories to tell in every aspect of daily life, even the simplest tasks have a narrative. I am endlessly fascinated by the human psyche and the way that our minds control our entire world. Reading provides a socially acceptable outlet to try on all sorts of lives and minds. As children, we are taught that magic only exists in fairytales, but reading transports us to the past and the future, mythical worlds, far away galaxies, exotic lands, the apocalypse, and beyond. So who can really say that books are not magical objects?
Stories have the power to manipulate genuine emotion. I have a library full of smudged tear soaked pages as proof. I’ve mourned the death of cherished characters, celebrated their triumphs, blushed at their embarrassment, slept fearfully with the lamp on, and thrown my book across the room in disbelief. Words are powerful. They teach us how to feel, how to love, and how to process emotion. Books have held my hand in times of loneliness and some fictional characters have kept me company when my life has been empty. We all want our lives to be rich and eventful, but we inevitably go through periods when things are less than perfect.
When we connect with a book, we walk around in a partial daze. Half existing in reality and the other half of us residing inside the book world. Being able to immerse ourselves in fictional worlds is an escape. Only books can allow us to explore insanity, poverty, depravity, fear, heartbreak, love, and death, all through the safety of a lens. Just slam the cover shut to return to the real world.
Reading has taught me that literary masterpieces do not only flow from the quill of Shakespeare. Some of the more obscure and eccentric writers have the most enigmatic and profound stories to share. Even just a short string of words or single sentence can leave a lasting imprint when it resonates. Everything we read is absorbed into ourselves – the classic, the quirky, and the life changing. I am the product of everything I have ever read and I was written by many storytellers.
I studied English Literature at university where I was expected to view books in an academic mindset. It felt scientific initially and I didn’t want to place my favourite texts under a microscope to be analysed like specimens in a laboratory. I love the smoke and mirrors of art and didn’t wish to have my illusions dashed, thank you very much! Then reality set in – if I wanted to graduate, I had to assimilate.
I spent hours anatomising words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters of brilliant and beautiful minds, discovering that looking deeply into literature did not ruin the magic at all, quite the contrary actually. I learned to read in between the lines where the real magic is hidden. As a result, my reading enjoyment was magnified to new depths and levels of context. This led me to all sorts of new revelations. Sometimes the deeper you look, the more you see.
Towards the end of my degree an idea dawned upon me. The privilege of being able to talk about books in a room of gifted and likeminded people would soon come to an end. Fearing that I might become the eternal arts student haunting the gothic catalogue of the library, I began working on a website dedicated to literature, a cosy place to write about books whilst feigning adulthood in the real world simultaneously.
Reading may be a solitary adventure, but literature is most beautiful when shared with others – hence the birth of Lady and the Library, my little online nook for bookish folk to gather and connect.