Character’s Reading List

Of course, reading is a big part of my characters’ lives. I was working on the almanac for my trilogy, and composed a bit about fiction and non-fiction reading in The Continent.

Almanac CM Library

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Although reading is not a popular leisure activity, it is still being utilised by those men of education, in order to collate and expand their theories. It is thus that the small library in the East wing of Costello Mansion is filled with books on warfare and medicine, for the main part.

The first record of the Costello compilation being opened was at the beginning of the twentieth century, with H Costello storing a few of the books he had written together with those he had acquired from fellow writers in different fields. This also made the fields as varied as opinion was.

Back then, writing was not a career, but a sport, and, as most sports, primarily for men. Only through the twentieth century did writing occur to women – for it was they who eventually had the most leisure time for writing.

However, the genres were not so constrained, and, if one happened to be in the knowledge about a subject (often with the status of Professor), there would likely be need for a book to be written for the sake of students.

Miniature sketch of one side of the library
Miniature sketch of one side of the library

In the time of Percival II and Phillip Costello, a large collection had grown, and, as a result of the small study-convert, the shelves had been built further up the three walls without windows, and the door had been decorated with faux-books to match. It was Percival II and Phillip who passed the most time amongst the books, two coffee tables and armchairs. Octavia Costello had come amongst the books during her later pregnancies for peace and quiet, as other Costello femmes had done in the past. In their sojourn in the Mansion, the wives of the elder Costello brothers did not so much share her interest; Lucy had her nurse-work, and Aimee preferred the leisure of company. On the other hand, Elyse and Cassandra Costello were often noticed darting in and out the room, showing that they shared their grandmother’s genes.

Of course, Percival and his father’s interests had been of the war. They strived for the tattered covers of old doctrines and past experiences, to gain more from what had been. Phillip, on the other hand, had an ulterior request from the tomes: that of entertainment.

He had first crept into the stuffed room as a boy who knew no better; the young man had an exploring mind, as many do. Perhaps that was the moment that philosophy caught Phillip’s eye. He scanned the shelves and discovered Descartes. But it had no been fact the young boy had hunted for.

He was looking for the sources of the stories his mother had once read to him. From where did the pure fiction of sky-creatures and far-away kings come?

DunhamLibraryNow a library seems an obvious answer, even one not so well adorned as the Costello Mansion’s place. Indeed, Phillip found fiction amongst the pages of circumstantial fact. He had no idea – as none of the Costellos had – that his great-grandfather had an interest in fictional worlds, too.

It was here that Phillip’s love of an old world endowed with luscious romance began. He has spoken of scandal a few times – this is to suggest that he enjoyed the conflict of a social society in his youth; though, he may also still possess the stubborn, Costello nature of enjoying an arrogant bit of trouble.

Examples of specific books in the library:

Teleological Philosophy – V and L Goldacre

The Red-Shift of the Moon (volume II) – Charles Ferroford

An Elementary Guide to War – H Costello

The Latin Primer – B H Kennedy

Fables for the Society Child – various

The Day the Sky-Creatures Soared – Quentin Farwether

A Murder of Letters in Suit – Alexander Bryant

Silk and Brocade – Theresa L’Acrond

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