While in Lynchburg, Virginia, down the highway from VCCA, where I spent a two week residency in February, I stumbled into a labyrinthine antique shop with rows and rows of books from every era of this century. Not only that, but this shop had more than one location, and I only got to fully explore one of the two (or three). To make matters even more interesting, the shop was two doors down from one of my new favorite bookshops/cafés of all time: Inklings/The White Hart, named for C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and the "Inklings"...whose work I have loved for years, even making a pilgrimage to the Eagle and Child, the pub where they used to meet, in Oxford, on Elizabeth's and my trek through England in '97.
So here I stumbled upon such a charming bookshop named after this group of British literary giants, on the main street of old Lynchburg, which seems straight out of an old dusty photograph. The shop itself and its sister café has as their mission "to sell the good, the true and the beautiful," which also include an impressive selection of books on the "war between the states," another of my former obsessions. So I bought some books about Lewis' writings at the White Hart, then had a lovely conversation with Ed Hopkins, the owner, who invited me to look through his great collection of early editions, at Inklings. When I asked him about his most prized book, he retrieved a huge, beautiful fascimile of the Gutenberg Bible, and flipped through it with joy and care.
So getting back to the antique store. . .I have to say that it was an add-on, as I was so happy to have found Inklings and seen what a wonderful world Mr. Hopkins and his family are maintaining. But when I wandered back through the furniture I found a treasure trove of books, several of which had pages that offered themselves up to being source material or surfaces to paint on. Others of which I saw and immediately thought of the Reanimation Library, a treasure of a place, by the Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn.
I knew that Andrew Beccone, the mastermind of the library, had an open call out to interested library users, for donations. . . so I picked up a few that I thought might pass muster:
Note the hilarious title Plant Parenthood (kindly passed over because its innards did not live up to its title) and some remarkable images from the great Kidney and Urinary Tract Infections book (happily accepted into the Library's collection). Such remarkable, unbelievable, over-the-top images are what the Reanimation Library is all about. Visitors are invited not only to peruse this treasure-trove of images we never thought possible or printable, but to scan them so as to use them in their projects, ah yes! What a wonderful place. . . I long for a long span of time to go and browse through the library for wonders unknown, but so far, I have only been able to spend a good long hour with the online image archive, which does not disappoint. Neither do either of these literary fellows, whose comprehensive and heartfelt book projects are there, in Lynchburg and in Brooklyn, to shower lost humans with life and hope.