Today I took a trip up to the special collections section of the university library; surrounded by the comforting smell of old, loved books, I was privileged enough to hold in my hands some real treasures.
I won't lie, I was petrified I would sneeze on them.
But there was something familiar, almost reassuring about handling a book with crisp paper pages, stained with age, and a hard-back, robust cover protecting the story within...
A 1611(!) edition of Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queen.
A 1st edition(!) of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels.
A 2nd edition Shakespeare folio(!), undoubtedly the king of the room!
And the illustrations! Perhaps as a result of it being the title page to The Faerie Queen it had more of an effect on me, but I felt utterly transported and in awe - the drawings were intricate, alluring, and dominated the page in a way that book illustrations rarely do nowadays.
Everyone, I beseech you, if you can, hold an old, valuable book in your hands and experience what I have experienced, because it is a beautiful, inspiring feeling, and I cannot do it justice here!