As you enter the lobby your eyes are immediately drawn to the grand staircase and the light coming in from the three large windows. The sound of your foot steps echo along the floor as you near the top of the steps. It’s a rather quiet wandering, as the rain and early morning has kept the visitors at bay. Without a map or guide, you find yourself walking somewhat aimlessly, enraptured by the beauty of the textures and warm tones insulating the grand space.
For a moment you feel a bit like Alice in wonderland, except you haven’t fallen into another place, instead you have stepped into a large room, with doors leading into other rooms, each with its own mystery, style, and charm. You decide to turn right, which takes you into a room of red and white checkered floors. It’s rather quite dark and empty, with the top third of the walls covered in murals. You follow the images in a complete circle before exiting the room. A few yards away, and you notice an arched opening, with a staircase almost hidden behind the corner.
As you walk up the narrow and dark staircase leading up to another floor, your eyes are yet again stolen by the paintings along the wall. You find yourself studying the emotions on each portrait, trying to make sense of the story that is being told. As you continue to stare, your vision becomes temporarily frozen in the grandeur of its idleness. For a little while it feels as though you can’t escape its spell.
The lighting, images, and intricate details off each room are enough to spark inspiration and adventure, so instead of leaving right away, you become drawn to the long hall, dressed with tall windows, a high ceiling, rows of wooden tables, and shelves lined with books. Your best decision is to pull out a chair, open a book under the light of the green lampshade, and stay awhile.
But if for some reason you’d rather not stay indoors, another escape awaits you outside. A quick stroll down the staircase and around the corner leads into a palace-like courtyard, where you’re met with the sound of birds chirping, a gentle breeze, and the feeling of peace and calm.
April book list:
Because libraries like these tend to inspire me to read more, I’ve included my reading picks for the month of April. As far as last month’s list, I really enjoyed reading A Moveable Feast. It felt as though I was reading journal entries about Hemingway’s life, which gave me a bit of insight into his life and some of the relationships he had, such as with Hadley, Gertrude Stein, and Scott Fitzgerald. Paris Was Ours was also interesting as it provided short recollections 32 different people had regarding snippets of their experience in Paris. I enjoyed reading about what brought them there, where they came from, and what they pursued while there. Walks along the Seine river, finding the cheap locations to eat at, hanging out in cafes, and pursuing a career as a writer, were all reoccurring themes present in this book. The biography Napoleon: A Life was a very big book on Bonaparte’s life. You gain a good sense of how he was raised, his interpersonal communication struggles, his dramatic feelings (as shown in excerpts of his writing), his perception on the French and Corsicans, his love life, and of course his growing success and promotion in the military. I would recommend this read if you are interested in learning more about French history. Lastly, The Canterbury Tales was a unique read for me as I’m not usually one to read poetry. I really enjoyed the rhythm and storytelling of this book from the different characters.
For this month, I am really looking forward to reading The Letters of Vincent Van Gogh, especially after learning a bit more about art during his time. I added Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies more as a book to inspire me as I try to improve my writing. A Confederacy of Dunces was actually a book I bought for my husband, but have been told it is really good. If you have read any of these books, I’d love to know what you think of them.
1. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
2. Caring for Words in a Culture of Lies by Marilyn Chandler McEntyre
3. The Letters of Vincent van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh
If you’re interested in viewing past book lists, click here.