It’s been jocularly observed that the presence of many books in one place can actually warp both space and time.
I’m Iain MacKenzie, the Head Librarian here at the Kinrowan Estate, and I’m not sure that this view is so very far from being right. The stacks here at the Library, for instance, can be rather frighteningly extensive. Though we’ve never actually lost anyone, that I know of.
And did you know there is a unique little bookshop in Kinrowan Hall? You didn’t, did you? I was here for years before I stumbled upon it, just last year.
I was restless late one winter night a month or so ago, unable to sleep no matter what I did, so I came down from our garret revidence leaving Catherine, my wife, sleeping to the Library to do some cataloguing, escorted by Finn, one of the cats. I noticed a warm, yellow light coming from a hallway where I didn’t recall existing before now, so I went to investigate.
The light spilled from the open top-half of a door; the door had a small sign hanging on it that read, rather simply, ‘Books’.
Peering through the door, I saw a rather small, gnarled-looking individual sitting at a tiny desk surrounded by what looked to be thousands of books, shelf after shelf of them. Library-style ladders ran along the walls on the left and right.
The whole lot was in a space barely wider than the doorway itself, but seemingly running deep into the building.
The proprietor appeared to be deeply immersed in a book, and didn’t seem to notice me and the cat standing rather hesitantly just outside the door, even when Finn jumped up onto the top ledge of the half-door and leaned in, waving his stumpy tail around for balance, to get a closer look.
All in all, it put me in mind of one of those tiny bookstores where the proprietor must be talked into parting with one of the books for sale. Finn and I exchanged a glance, and after a moment I decided to continue on my way to my catalogues, Finn jumping down with a soft thud to the floor and running ahead of me across the hall.
And then, as so often happens, I was busy with thing after thing, and I haven’t managed to make my way back to the strange little bookshop to explore. One of these days…