Writing, // October 19, 2016
The Ideal Library — WRITING
The Ideal Library by Luiz Valério de Paula Trindade —
Some years ago I used to have a private library at home holding slightly over 1,500 titles and for me, that was an amazing achievement. Not only due to the number of titles per se that I considered quite reasonable by that time but mainly due to the fact that I had the satisfaction to have read at least 60% of them, if not a little bit more. Of course that, as it can be imagined, amidst those titles there were many waiting for their chance to be read, and some others that had been bought by impulse and probably would take even longer to have their chance to be read. My aim, in fact, was to enlarge the collection even further towards a greater number of titles as much as possible, but for this to happen appropriately I would also need to make more room at home or maybe even moving to a larger home and none of those options would actually take place in a foreseeable future. And I might also add that this aim was not motivated by a mundane desire to have more books simply for the sake of having them, but in fact due to my passion and interest for a big array of literary genres and all the possibilities that I truly believe that books can bring to our lives with regard to new discoveries, learnings, pure entertainment and pastime.
Relatively speaking, even though I did love my library with all those titles I eventually came to realise that, as a matter of fact, it was not that big, and I say that because years later I had the opportunity to work with a successful career consultant and writer who had a private library holding over 5,000 titles, and that was absolutely impressive to me. I did not envy his library and neither had it become a sort of target number to be reached in the future, but it certainly has given me a completely new perspective concerning how large a private library could eventually become. First, because it has astonished me due to its size and, in second place because he is an ordinary person like myself, rather than a celebrity or a tycoon that we do not have access to.
But still, both mine and his libraries may not be that impressive from the perspective of any wealthy or affluent collector, well-established and successful best-selling authors, and obviously not to mention public libraries. Nonetheless, what emerges from this conversation is less about the size of a personal library and more regarding what could, in fact, be considered as the ideal library. For each one of us who are passionate about books, would that be a library holding 1,000 titles, or would it be better another one holding, let us say, over 10,000 titles? As you can imagine, it is quite hard to come up with an accurate and definitive figure because it does not work like that. It is not that simple. Nevertheless, every time I think about this subject matter what comes to my mind is that to find out what the ideal library could be it requires us to look at the issue from another perspective that could enable us to sharpen our standpoint. And this gaze may be geared less by a quantitative bias and based much more on what the books may effectively bring to us and how do we relate to them. This line of reasoning brings us to the idea that, as a matter of fact, the ideal library may encompass mostly books that you really enjoy and preferably that you have had the opportunity to read them and is able to tell your impression about them individually and why they are part of your collection. In another word, this means that you are able to tell to anyone that gets in contact with your personal library what exactly makes each title special enough to be on your shelves, independently of the number of titles. What is the story behind them, what did they add to your life, why are they still being kept rather than given away, are good examples of enquiries.
Chances are that, apparently, this approach may suggest that we are talking about a mere shift from quantity to quality, but I advise you not to jump straight into conclusions yet because, in reality, it is not only quality but rather towards meaning. And meaning in its turn contributes to making our ‘relationship’ with the books similar to the ones that an author builds amongst the characters in a fictional novel. Having said that, I do believe that the ideal library based on meaning can potentially bring even greater satisfaction to us than one based solely on any given figure. Therefore, as a consequence of that, each one’s ideal library would become the result of meaningful personal stories whose characters (i.e.: any given number of books) can eventually change upwards or downwards over time, but more importantly, is the fact that the individual stories keep evolving and being told.
Arts Illustrated article: http://artsillustrated.com/luiz-valerio-de-paula-trindade-writer/
Clube de Autores: http://clubedeautores.com.br/authors/140299
Apple iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/author/luiz-valerio-paula-trindade/id946586586?mt=11
Google Play: https://play.google.com/store/books/author?id=Luiz+Valério+De+Paula+Trindade
Bubok Portugal: http://www.bubok.pt/autores/luizvalerio