Sunday, March 22, 2009

Now that's what I call writing: Anthony O'Neill

From Anthony O'Neill's fascinating thriller The Lamplighter, this little bit of heaven for book lovers.

It was beyond the limits of his wildest dreams. A cavernous library greater than anything in London, the Vatican, or historical Alexandria. Glassed cabinets, polished mahogany bookcases, and sturdy oaken shelves swept ten stories high and half a mile deep, complete with spiral staircases, ladders on greased rails, and carpeted balconies that trailed into infinity. There were reading carrels, escritoires, cozy armchairs, blazing hearths, silent clocks, drinking fountains, innumerable writing utensils, reams of blank notepaper, a row of magnifying glasses...even a pipe rack. And all of it illuminated with more lamp cabinets and gas mantels than there were stars in the firmament. He might never leave. 

He exhaled heartily, surveying both the gold-embossed spines already arranged on the shelves and the crates spilling over with folios, quartos, octavos, and priceless manuscripts waiting to be catalogued. He barely knew where to begin. But as the appointed curator he had a lifetime, and he doubted his excitement would ever wane.

Now that's what I call a library!

The Lamplighter isn't a well-known book - I found it in my search for another addition to my "Naughty, Nutty, and Slutty Victorians" shelf - but it's a suspense novel that goes beyond what you'd expect. Highly recommended.

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