Isn’t a library the best place for your imagination to run wild? ^_^
The basic premise is related to “The 1001st Book”, but this is closer to my own reality, although it is still highly symbolic, vertical projected onto horizontal and with a tinge of urban fantasy. That would be the closest genre, I guess: Urban fantasy. Although that genre seems overrun with vampires and werewolves these days. This is not like that. Very unconventional.
The main character is a rather solitary adult man (unlike the late teens I usually have, but somewhat similar to my Eternal Road in this regard, which makes sense from the intended audience). His favorite place to hang out is the library, and one day an unfamiliar librarian tells him that he has read a thousand books. As a reward, she lends him a book that is not in the shelves: The Chance of a Lifetome.
Yes, the mythspelling is intentional. For the book tells the story of the mysterious and legendary book called “the Lifetome”, which enables the reader to travel to worlds outside of our timestream. While in these worlds, one will hardly age at all, even should one stay there for many years. One is also virtually immortal while there, as even if one should seem to lose one’s life, one would just return to the timestream. There are supposedly a myriad of these worlds. While they may seem to be outside of time, they have their own time, although it flows differently from ours: While there, one will see not only the seasons come and go, but people are born, live and die; only the visitor, returning home after decades, will find that hardly any time has passed. In this way, one may live for centuries or even millennia, just not in one’s homeworld.
The Chance is not itself the Lifetome, but contains clues to the next book. Each book must be read and understood in order to correctly predict which is the next, until the last in the series is the Lifetome itself.
I have picked up the word “lifetome” (as in “the work of a lifetome”) from the One Cosmos blog, but there is no relation between its use there and my worldbuilding here. Well, apart from the obvious, that the blog has sent me down the path of chasing numerous books, some of which have sent me to other books and so on. But then again, that is what happens when you read a thousand books, don’t you think? ^_^
(In case it isn’t obvious, the books are themselves “lifetomes”, allowing us to sit in on the lives of many others. Through the magic of books we can travel in time, we can see empires rise and fall, even the stars are within our grasp. We can visit worlds filled with magic, or worlds sparse and harsh and gray, or worlds so mundane that they might be our own. It is an amazing thing in its own right, and I am glad to see that neither the gramophone nor the cinema have managed to eradicate reading, contrary to predictions…)