Novels with Giant Possibly Magical Libraries

23 January 2019

I'm currently reading a fantastic novel where the protaganist - who is in her teens and lives in a sort-of convent for sightseers in the middle of a glacier - is asked by the elders to choose a role for part-time work. Our hero considers two options:

  • Become a pilot of paper-mache, semi-alive airplanes controlled by whistling
  • Become a librarian

I held my breath as I read further: choose The Library!

Why Libraries?

There are two things that, when I encounter them in a book, immediately cause me to fall in love.

  • The word palimpsest
  • A giant, possibly magic, library (extra points for a Forbidden Section or two)

The two are not unrelated. A palimpsest is a book that has been one or more books before, with the older knowledge hidden just beneath the surface of the parchment, waiting to be unearthed. A giant library must, invariably, contain books with once-known, now-forgotten knowledge, just beyond that locked door over there.

But I have the key...

I hereby present a list of the very best novels featuring giant libraries filled with secrets.

My List of Novels with Giant Libraries

*Indicates that I haven't read this book (yet), but rest assured that it was recommended by a semi-close friend, cousin of mine, or Hacker News commenter.

Let me know on Twitter (@whatrocks) if I'm missing anything and I'll update the list, almost like a palimpsest.

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