When I was seven, our lending library was a gray stone building that lay just upstream from a ferry operated by a man in a skiff with an outboard motor. Every Thursday evening I’d get a new book there, science-fiction mostly – as we had no television, I read most evenings. When I was eleven, I got flu badly, and my mother borrowed the Hornblower books. By the time I was well, I’d read them all.
I also loved exploring my parents’ books – Rudyard Kipling, Evelyn Waugh, even James Branch Cabell. In the attic, I found my grandfather’s victorian adventure stories, like Ballantyne’s The Coral Island.
Since then, I’ve enjoyed the mighty Cambridge University library, the New York Public Libraries and, as a member, the quirky London Library.
And from all these adventures, I’ve learned two things: storytelling is timeless; and the best discoveries are made in open stacks!