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A Tribute to a Life Spent with Books

A combination of shades and drapes for libraries

The weather was typical for receiving bad news, an afternoon rendition of Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s dark stormy night, one could say. The one man Elizabeth faithfully looked up to, her father-in-law. Dr. Arthur Atticus Elrond had bid farewell to the world he never stopped enriching with his knowledge and intellect. He was by far one of the most learned men she had come across, and being a literary scholar herself, that was saying a lot. Certainly, a man of his caliber was hard to come across, with innumerous laurels to his name, which is why the line to pay respects at the funeral seemed never-ending. He was loved and respected by all. When she decided to tie the knot with his son, Edgar, a literary scholar like herself, Elizabeth knew she was marrying into a scholastic family; the mother, a retired archeologist, was a Ph.D. holder as well. After marriage, unlike most wives who aren’t fans of their in-laws, she frequented their cottage in Oregon to enjoy the weekly high tea as she and her father in law discussed literature, while Edgar spent time with his mommy dearest. She let them be during these visits, as Edgar was quite the mummy’s boy, and Mrs. Elrond always felt and often expressed not so subtly that her son had been “snatched” from her loving care by yours truly.

 

 
Elizabeth would never forget her Sunday evenings because of this, they traveled through space and time in their conversations. Having lost her father at a very young age, Elizabeth felt she got to experience what it would be like to have a father around to talk to about such stuff, she was very grateful for his existence. Although he was such an erudite being, Arthur was one of the best listeners she had met. He’d listen to her argue in favor of popular fiction and how it is as important as highbrow literature (for lack of a good enough example, she’d get defensive when the conversation bordered along the lines of how her generation hasn’t come up with literary gold, compared to the classics at least), when deep down both of them knew fully well that post-modern contemporary literature wasn’t a patch on the literary classics. Of course he was an avid reader, there wasn’t a topic he couldn’t give his expert opinion on, not to say that he always did. He was very humble in spite of his genius. His books were his best friends; he had a book for every occasion and situation. She remembered the book he gave her when Edgar had passed away two years ago, “A Widow’s Story” by Joyce Carol Oates. The book helped her through the hard nights when she lay all alone in the bed they shared. His books were his sanctuary and literally speaking you’d need something as big, to keep them. His library was as big as her house, and his collection was never-ending.

 

 

 

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When she found out that he’d left his whole collection to her in his will, she was touched, he’d known how much she loved to read. When work got to her, she’d take off to her in-laws and spend a whole day just reading. Arthur always knew when it was one of those days, and let her be, also ensuring that the mother in law didn’t make matters worse. She wondered what she’d do with the whole collection; it seemed wrong keeping it all to herself, “literature was a joy that had to be shared”, as Arthur always said. She couldn’t imagine spending pleasant evenings discussing the ins and outs of literature with her mother-in-law, no, there had to be another way. What would Edgar do, she asked herself.

 

 
As she poured over a solution one night, it hit her, a library dedicated to her father-in-law. It would be the perfect grand gesture he deserved. Of course the mother-in- law thought it was a preposterous idea, “Why would you let strangers get their dirty hands on my husband’s precious books?” she exclaimed in her high pitched snooty voice. But it was not up to her, and Elizabeth knew just what to do. The boat-house that Arthur frequented was more than happy to donate their spare hall for the library when Elizabeth explained her idea. She took care of the expenses of installing wooden shelves and rich mahogany furniture with plush fabric along with classy light fixtures and lamps. She was going in for a Victorian feel, one that set the mood for reading good literature, much like Arthur’s reading room.

 

 
Now lighting was critical in a library; window treatments had to let the maximum amount of light in and at the same time, complement the vintage décor she was going for. She chose the Graber Artisan Drapery to maintain the Victorian look, paired with horizontal sheer shades for functionality. To achieve this look she used two-way drapery panels made out of luxurious maroon damasks fastened on either side to let in a view that was altered by horizontal sheer shades. These shades had the elegance of shades and the utility of blinds. They allowed maximum light in while cutting out glare and UV rays. These shades had vanes arranged parallel to each other and were held together by sheer fabric. To aid functionality, they could be raised with the vanes open. These shades also maintained an amount of privacy as they let light in while allowing a muted view even when the vanes were closed, so unlike blinds, one needn’t open the vanes to illuminate the interiors. She picked the two-inch vanes to allow the maximum light in. When it came to the drapes, she figured valances would add to the Victorian look. She chose double scalloped valances to add an elegant, not-too-lazy look to the drapes. These valances also cut out a good amount of glare as they took up less than one-fourth of the upper half of the windows. Minimizing UV rays was important as the furniture used could not afford to be damaged, she had invested a lot into this library and preserving its gorgeous interiors was important. The drapes came with rod pockets instead of hooks that allowed smooth utility. Maintenance was easy as a light one over with a vacuum cleaner would do the job.

 

 
These shades were GreenGuard certified; they had been screened for chemical emissions and lead content, ensuring a healthy indoor environment. The shades also had a Microban protection that prevented the growth of bacteria and mildew, which were potential pools of disease-causing germs, which was important especially since the library was situated next to a water body. These shades were flame retardant as well, lest anything happened to the books.

 

 
After a month or so of setting things up, the library was ready. She got a bronze plaque inscribed with “Dedicated to Dr. Arthur Atticus Elrond, may his treasure trove of knowledge leave you ever more watchful to the adventures of reading. May he rest in peace” set into the wall beside the entrance. Elizabeth could tell, as she watched her mother-in-law cut the ribbon that she had finally accepted this move; this was what Arthur would’ve wanted.

 

 

 

 

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