Preston & Childs new Pendergast novel Bloodless
Agent Pendergast takes on a bizarre and gruesome case: in the haunted city of Savannah, corpses without blood in their veins are found – which sow panic and revive whispered stories about the notorious Savannah vampire. As the mystery rises along with the number of bodies, Pendergast and his partner, Agent Coldmoon, attempt to understand how – or if – these murders are linked to an infamous skyjacking, and together they will uncover not only the answer … but an unearthly one Evil beyond imagination.
It’s a case like no other in the new Preston & Childs # 1 episode of the New York Times best-selling series.
With 116 libraries and 16 million books, Cambridge is every bibliophile’s dream. However, with so many ancient and famous libraries, it’s hard to know where to start. Here is a (very subjective) list of some of the must-see.
Admittedly, due to COVID restrictions, admission may not be possible at the moment, but hopefully soon!
#1. The university library
Okay, this one is obviously a classic. The main library, which serves the entire university, was founded around the 14th century and today contains over 9 million media.
Aesthetically, I have to admit that it’s nothing special: it looks more like an industrial prison complex. When it comes to looks, the Bodleian in Oxford is sadly much nicer with its classic architecture and eye-catching blue dome. However, UL is one of only six legal deposit libraries in the UK, which means it is legally entitled to obtain a copy of every single book published in the country. This makes it an invaluable research resource. When you stroll through the narrow, cramped aisles between miles of dark shelves, you can really feel a “library hood” feeling, which (almost) compensates for the less appealing exterior.
# 2. Wren Library, Trinity College
The Wren Library – the flagship library of the university’s richest college – was designed in 1676 by the famous architect Sir Christopher Wren and is a Grade II listed building. It is reputedly one of the earliest libraries to be built with large windows to give readers maximum light.
To be completely honest, it’s surprisingly small; I was a little overwhelmed when I first walked in. But there is another library in the college anyway to cater to student needs, and the Wren’s collection of rare manuscripts is impressive. This includes several original manuscripts by Isaac Newton, AA Milne’s own manuscript for Winnie the Pooh, the first book to be printed in English, and much more.
# 3. Pepys Library, Magdalene College
The 17th century diary writer Samuel Pepys bequeathed his huge private library to his alma mater Magdalene when he died in 1703. It contains over 3,000 items, and the Legacy states that books cannot be sold or added to. The college has also preserved the original bookshelves that the books came on first and the order in which he placed them.
Of course, Pepys’ famous diaries form one of the most significant elements of the library, but there are also several medieval manuscripts, Sir Francis Drake’s Almanac, and a vast collection of printed ballads. The library is housed in the Pepys Building, which he partially paid for to build.
# 4. Parker Library, Corpus Christi College
The Parker Library was bequeathed to the corpus of Matthew Parker, a 16th century Archbishop of Canterbury, and consists of over 600 rare books and manuscripts, mostly drawn from those of Henry VIII the Norman conquest); a psalter owned by Thomas Becket; and Geoffrey Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde. Many of the books in the collection are over 1,000 years old.
His most important piece is the Gospel of Augustine, one of the oldest existing European books. It was made in Italy in the 6th century and is widely believed to have been brought to England by Augustine in AD 597 when he was sent by Pope Gregory the Great to convert the Anglo-Saxons. It is now being removed on special occasions such as the enthronement of new Archbishops of Canterbury for whom the Master of Corpus will bring the Gospel to Canterbury.
Photo taken of me
# 5. Katharine Stephen Room, Newnham College
I would be remiss of me to write an article like this and not include my own college library in the summary somewhere. I won’t say too much as I wrote a virtual tour beforehand.
I will, however, go into a little more detail about the Katharine Stephan room, in which our collection of rare books is housed. Named for an old Newnham director who was also Virginia Woolf’s cousin, it was built in 1982 and added to the Grade II list in 2018. It contains over 6,000 rare books and manuscripts such as Shakespeare editions from the 16th and more. I was also particularly surprised to go inside and see that it contained a ring with the braided hair of Emily and Charlotte Brontë in a small display case.
Are you looking for more libraries to visit? Check out these beautiful libraries from around the world.