To escape the summer heat in the coolest way a booklover can, the members of the Milestone Book Club retreated into the Közkincs Library, where they spent a truly inspiring afternoon in the realm of feminist books.
The idea to visit the library came from one of the Presidents of the Book Club, Csenge Gábeli, who considers herself an enthusiastic feminist. Csenge had visited the library before and knew the owner of this unique venue, Antonia Borrows. Antonia works as a book translator, from English to Hungarian in addition to running the library together with her American assistant Claire, who is in charge of digitalizing the collections of the Közkincs Library.
Staying true to its reputation, the library had about half a room packed with books on feminism and gender related subjects as well as journals, photos, films and short stories. Additionally, the remainder of the library was full of shelves which covered a range of genres, including fiction, science, religion, history, classic and contemporary literature. In our visitors’ opinion what made this place different from other libraries – besides its friendly and comfortable atmosphere – is that it not only owns rare books, mostly antiques, but offers readers a wide range of modern writings as well, most of which one might not be able to find elsewhere. The Milestoners have found amazing books within their fields of interest and were blown away by the diversity and the very intentional and smart purchases that made up the collection. They found dozens of works on domestic violence and some guidelines for feminism; sighting novels like Be Awesome: Modern Life for Modern Ladies by Hadley Freeman, biographies of female role models, and books on religion, myth and tales, including Andrew Lang’s My Own Fairy Book and H.A. Guerber’s Myths of The Norsemen.
After moving on from the amazement of the first glance, the book clubbers went their separate ways, some of them headed to the feminism section of the library, while others picked up as many books as they could carry. Some even went on an adventure, climbing the high ladders, trying to reach the upper shelves, risking their lives to get their hands on their prey. After discovering the library’s collection on their own, everyone sat down and had some quiet time with the books they had gathered. After the quiet reading session they played a roleplaying game with cards – each player impersonated a famous woman from history – and our students even had the opportunity to discuss with their host Antonia, which book she should translate next.
In the end of the visit, the members of the Book Club offered their help with the organisation of the library and discussed further possibilities and opportunities of cooperation which would be beneficial in many ways, not exclusively for the booklovers of their club, but for every curious and open-minded Milestoner.