This past weekend we escaped into another world, ensconced in the British Library. On previous visits to London, I’ve passed the building many times but this was my first time going inside.
First though, we walked through the courtyard with the impressive statue of Sir Isaac Newton, created by Paolozzi from a sketch made by William Blake. Overwhelmed by history already and not even past the entry.
The view of the King’s Library tower rising up through six floors in the middle of the building is another magnificent sight. George III, mainly renowned for going mad, was a keen collector of books (so, maybe not so mad – if ebooks hadn’t been invented, I would need a book tower like this!).
My wife and I were taking part in a course on Classic Crime fiction. While it covered authors we’re familiar with, such as Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L Sayers…there were many more we hadn’t heard of. So we now have lists of numerous books to be explored.
As part of the course, we were able to view some first editions including one of the original ‘puzzle’ books. These were popular for a time. The reader wouldn’t know the answer of the ‘whodunnit’ until they completed the accompanying jigsaw puzzle.
Although I enjoy reading crime fiction, mainly of the cosy variety—not too gory—it’s not something I feel I could write. I’ll stick to romance for now.
Part of the romance of the trip was travelling on the Grand Central train from Halifax to King’s Cross and back.
All in all, a spectacularly enjoyable few days…talking about books, soaking in the atmosphere of a great British institution, and discovering a deep reservoir of classic books to read.
Buying options for my books:
The Starling Hill Trilogy: