Discover Our Libraries

Come and explore our Marine Studios reference library and our poetry library in The Writers’ Room.

The reference library collection embraces subjects ranging from art and design to philosophy to history to travel, and much else beyond. The poetry library contains copies of Poetry Review, Magma and other poetry magazines, as well as collections and anthologies from classic to contemporary poets.

Please email to arrange a visit.

January Book Review – Helgoland

Our members profile books from the Marine Studios library, one of Margate’s many literary treasures, on an occasional basis. Studio member Tanya Royer reviews Helgoland by Carlo Rovelli.

By Carlo Rovelli

In Carlo Rovelli’s book Helgoland, which takes its title from the island where quantum theory was born about 100 years ago, we are taken on a journey to explore the very smallest objects in the universe – that of electrons, photons, atoms and molecules.

Rovelli takes on the troublesome behaviour of these tiny objects, which operate in ways that contradict the rules of classical physics. To try to account for this, Rovelli asserts another way of looking at reality. Reaching beyond physics, he suggests that every physical and mental phenomenon in the universe is part of a deep weave of interdependence that is without a centre or unifying point. Everything in the universe is relational, and nothing exists unto itself without its relationship to another.

Unpacking the underlying architecture of the universe as we know it is a fairly challenging project, and Rovelli takes care never to abandon his reader to the deeper complexities of quantum theory, which is an ongoing mystery to physicists. With a daydreamer’s nonchalance, he offers pillowy, fluffy paragraphs in which to consider the sublime nature of our experience:

“Reality is a luxuriant stratification: snow-covered mountains and forests, the smile of friends, the rumble of the underground on dirty winter mornings, our insatiable thirst, the dance of our fingers across a laptop keyboard, the taste of bread, the sorrow of the world, the night sky, the immensity of the stars, Venus shining alone in the ultramarine blue of twilight.”

Here in Marine Studios, some 470 miles west of Helgoland, there is much evidence to support the idea of a purely relational reality. As I am discovering, to walk into the library is to encounter the Studio’s evolving hive mind, where all of these interests find themselves at home.

In this sense, the Studio library could be seen as just one of many manifestations of Rovelli’s theory.