Last weekend I went to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie; I sat up until 1:00AM that night because my mind couldn’t wind down — little things tend to overexcite me, and the joy of seeing one of my favorite Disney movies brought to life in such a way was more than my little heart could take.
One scene I nervously anticipated was the Beast’s library reveal. As a child, the scene where Belle enters the library and is left speechless was my favorite; my life-long dream is to have such a library (reasonable goal, right?). I won’t give spoilers, but I teared up during that scene. It was a beautiful moment and reminded me of the wondrous allure of books.
(candle from Frostbeard on Etsy; smells exactly like a bookstore/library!)
This set me on another thought: What sort of books would Belle have in her own library? The movie took a gander and incorporated Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, a tragic love story, among her repertoire, which I think fits considering Belle’s dreamy, ambitious nature.
I did some dreaming of my own and came up with a few titles that I believe you would easily find on Belle’s bookshelves.
A naive but individualistic young woman who falls in love a man who is not all he seems?No way Belle doesn’t fall in love with Jane Eyre.
Ostracized due to her peculiar habit of reading and longing for freedom, including Fahrenheit 451 is not far-fetch. The story of a man who goes against the grain and collects forbidden books, essentially risking his life to continue reading, is one I feel would have Belle on the edge of her seat.
“I want adventure in the great wide somewhere…” Belle longs to travel beyond her provincial town and see the world, and with her love of words, what better book than one full of exquisite words and their meaning from all around the world?
A boorish, aristocratic man and head-strong woman start off on the wrong foot but soon discover there might be something there that wasn’t there before.
“How can you read this? There’s no pictures!” “Well, some people use their imagination.”
– Gaston & Belle
Yet another example of a fiercely independent woman full of naiveté who is repulsed by an uncouth gentlemen, only to discover there is more than what the surface would suggest.
Standing up to another kind of beast, the Nazis, Liesel steals forbidden books and shares them with her neighbors and the Jewish man hiding in her surrogate family’s basement. Belle would applaud her courage and the risk she takes to share stories with others in a time of hardship.
An adventure-addict and traveler can’t be uninterested in history; throw in a love of books and libraries, and this book would be displayed proudly on her shelves.
A coffee book photograph collection of the most beautiful libraries…an essential book for every shelf, so I’d assume it would be in Beast’s vast library. (I imagine Belle pointing to a library in the book and making “Beast” take her there!)
I also wanted to share a few Beauty and the Beast bits of merchandise on which I splurged to go along with this post.
Belle’s Library: A Collection of Literary Quotes and Inspirational Musings is the gorgeous little book that inspired this post; it features quotes from the supposed books in Belle’s “dream-come-true” library. Any lover of this story deserves to have this book on their shelf.
Also among my purchases was As Old As Time, which is essentially a fan fiction twist on Beauty and the Beast that follows the idea that Belle’s mother was the enchantress. Though marketed towards a younger age, I’ve heard this is a dark, well-written “twisted tale,” so I picked it up for myself.
I also bought this beautiful little journal; the compass embossed on the front reminded me once again of Belle’s desire to see the world, and don’t you think Belle would be one to keep a journal? At the very least I’d imagine she’d have to record the events of those first few days at the castle.
And what better way to journal than to cozy up with this ADORABLE Belle mug? (I couldn’t resist.)
Though I loved Beauty and the Beast as a child, I connect even more with Belle as an adult. Her adoration of books, the ache for adventure and travel, and her strength make her one of the greatest heroines in my book. Tell me, did you grow up watching Beauty and the Beast? What do you think you’d find on Belle’s bookshelf?
“I like books that aren’t just lovely but that have memories in themselves. Just like playing a song, picking up a book again that has memories can take you back to another place or another time.”
— Emma Watson