Guest Post: My Parents’ Library by AmyBeth Inverness

The room I’m in seems strangely devoid of books. Most of the horrid green wallpaper has been steamed away, revealing a very dirty shade of light green underneath. It’s been this way for a couple of years now; we intended to remodel the closet and repaint the room when we moved in, but the baby’s room took precedence and, well, real life intervened.

This room, which is now hubby’s and my bedroom, used to be my parents’ library. They moved here to Vermont when I was nineteen years old and away at college. I never did get to go home to Colorado; going home meant getting in an airplane and flying across the country to a state I’d never even visited.

I love this house, and so did my parents. They bought it as empty nesters, ready for grandchildren.
Sure enough, four grandchildren did come along while they lived here. It has six bedrooms; quite huge for empty-nesters, but that meant that my mother could have a sewing room and my father could have a library.

The ugly wallpaper didn’t matter too much back then because it was mostly covered over by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves that were specially built exactly for this room. It did have a bed and doubled as a guest room, but it was always called “The Library” just as if it was a formally designed room in the mansion of some hero in a historical romance. There were plenty of those Romances on the shelves, although they were overshadowed in number by the Science Fiction. Paperbacks were stacked two deep, as a four-inch softcover doesn’t take up much room on a ten inch deep shelf. My father’s collection of Analog magazines was well picked over, as various family members browsed the room and I only saved the Analogs from the year I was born when my parents decided to retire to a warmer climate. Most of the books were donated, as were the shelves. There was some argument for leaving the shelves in place, as they had been built specifically for the room, but in the end it was decided that the room should look as generic as possible for a potential buyer. Re-enter the green wallpaper.

It was bad timing to try and sell a house. In the end, instead of selling, my parents agreed that it would benefit us all if my husband and I would move in and rent from them.

Even empty, I still looked at this room as “The Library.” I certainly had enough books to fill it. But we had a growing family, and other needs. Three of the four upstairs rooms, including the library, were in desperate need of renovation or at least a coat of paint. We put our oldest kid in the only room that had already been stripped of old wallpaper and repainted. The baby moved around a little as we changed which room we were working on. She turned three, and then four, and now five. We still haven’t got around to steaming off the last of that ugly green wallpaper.

There are books all over this house. We trip over them. My youngest uses my paperbacks as building blocks. Yet, none of the six rooms is a library. I have fantasies, not of this house, but of another dream house someday. It will have a library with a vaulted ceiling so you have to use a mounted, rolling ladder to get to the books at the top. Behind that highest wall I want a hideaway for the kids, a loft space with pillows and bean bags where they can curl up and read. To get there, they can climb the ladder and go through an opening in the bookshelf. It will have another more normal entrance, too, and the shelves directly below the opening will have secure toe-holds so you can climb up as well.
There will be a large fireplace that really functions, not just for show. Besides the usual furniture of comfy chairs, there will be a table or counter with power available so that family and guests easily use their laptops. I will have unusual areas for seating, too. Maybe a window seat, or out-of-the-way nook where the reader can escape the real world for a while.

And I will be organized, with a database that lists all our books and where they can be found. A special area will showcase the signed copies of books I’ve collected from my friends and interviewees, with pictures of us together from some writing convention where we finally met in person. And my own books would be there too. Not showcased, nothing big. Just a simple shelf, so that when a new guest comes over, someone who doesn’t really know me yet, and they ask “Oh, are you a writer?” I can smile, and say “Why, yes. Yes I am.”

What are the must-haves for your own dream library?


AmyBeth’s short story The Peanut Gallery Rebellion is entered in the America’s Next Author competition! Please read it, and if you like it, click VOTE. It does not require a log in to do either. If you are feeling especially generous, leaving a review is also greatly appreciated.

A writer by birth, a redhead by choice, and an outcast of Colorado by temporary necessity, AmyBeth Inverness is a prolific creator of Science Fiction and Romance.  With short stories coming out in two different anthologies in 2012, she can usually be found tapping away at her laptop, writing the next novel or procrastinating by posting a SciFi Question of the Day on Facebook. When she’s not writing, she’s kept very busy making aluminum foil hats and raising two energetic kids and many pets with her husband in their New England home.


  1. From one AB to another, thank you so much for having me!


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