This post is sponsored by Michael as a present for Marija.
You need an ever present audience to appreciate such monologues as “Where Did All My Money Go Why Did I Spend It All On This Library” and “Oh God I’m In So Much Debt How Will I Crawl Out of This Debt.” Inanimate statues will do for yelling ideas like, “I’ll sell everything else—everything else,” alone in your library. The best statues appear noble, brooding, or listening.
Sell some of your furniture, and procure really nice antique globes. The kind that aren’t up to date so you can say to your statues, “Look, look, do you see this? It says USSR!”
Spiral Wooden Staircase (via)
You need somewhere to pace up and down thinking of ways to get by without having to sell your dead sister’s jewelry.
Wrapping Balcony (via)
Ever since the self-imposed financial ruin brought on by your wild library scheme, sometimes you contemplate jumping off. So far your statues have talked you out of it.
You’ll want to be able to do that thing where you slide the ladder down the bookcase to quickly retrieve the book most pertinent to your current conversation, monologue, or thought. “‘I wish I hadn’t built this library,’ said Pete,” you read from Dante’s Inferno, and snap the book shut, thoughtfully.
Old Maps (via)
“Maybe I can flee this land forever and never return,” you think as you unroll an old map and place it on a book stand in a huff of excitement.
Book Stands (via)
“Goddamn it, there are so many miscellaneous objects I didn’t consider would be necessary for outfitting a dream library,” you tell your 300-year-old book stand.
Navigation Instruments (via)
These can include a compass, that dangly thing that looks like a cross between a compass and a clock — we’ll call it a sea compass — one of those tiny globes that move around in the boxes, and whatever the thing in this picture is. Their intended use is in case anyone visits and wants to know if you’re traveled and worldly, or for possible permanent escape.
This is for when you need to look out the window and try to forget about your dream library.
For the daytime version of your library you need some natural light. How will your library illustrate the romance of pursuing knowledge if you can’t see dust particles floating in sunbeams? How are you going to achieve enlightenment without light? Where else would you gaze out forlornly when the decision of having sold the bracelet Alex wore at her wedding weighs too heavily on your shoulders?
Reading Lamp (via)
These are good for nighttime, or when you need to draw curtains over the light because its presence only further depresses you. I use the term “lamp” broadly — a chandelier, candelabra, or wall sconce will do just fine. A fireplace also works well for burning painful reminders of happier times.
This is where you can sit and write things, like your will.
Cabinets are good for hiding precious objects, such as the rarest volumes in your book collection, random naturalistic things like antlers, and what remains of Alex’s belongings.
Large Wooden Door (via)
You are done with the rest of society. You have no need for it and it has no need for you. Everything you need is right here in your dream library. Everything. You are here, living your dream life.
Maybe they’re frescoes, maybe they’re hanging on the wall; preferably they’re a nod to the mythic, dead, or divine. This will set you back at least the car you no longer use now that you spend all your time in your paper dungeon.
Wooden Ornament (via)
Be it plain wood or gilt, this is pretty important for the whole grandeur element. Whether worked into moulding, balustrades, columns, or arcades, you’ve got a lot of options on how to execute this ornamentation. But execute it you must. You could get away with structural integrity as ornament — for instance, take the medieval route and go with the hammerbeam, scissor truss, or queen-strut roof. But if you’re set on baroque, you’re gonna have to lay it on reeeeeal thick with the gilt and add some marble and ceiling frescoes and sell the rest of Alex’s things.
Not just any shelves, but floor-to-ceiling shelves. These shelves must be massive and architecturally cohesive with whatever wooden ornament path you’ve decided to take. They must complement arches and alcoves, they must be tiered and curved and exquisitely carved. They must help you forget everything up to this point in your life.
Congratulations, you have reached the final step in outfitting your dream library. Nearly as important as wooden ornaments, books are a true decorative staple and your library would look pretty dumb without them. True, you no longer own many clothes, carry any sort of insurance, or have access to the rest of your property. But this is what you wanted, isn’t it? This was your dream. Now, throw yourself into the escapism of literature.