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Get Lost in a Good Bookstore

If you love libraries, you may also enjoy the atmosphere in bookstores. Here are some gems I found when looking for novels set in bookstores.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

This book had so much more going on between its covers than I had initially thought. I didn’t find the cover interesting at all (now that I know it glows in the dark that opinion has really changed) I came across it when looking for books similar to Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. In this novel, the main character, Clay, needs a job. It is a recession and his web design job disappeared when the small business he worked for went under. Looking desperately for a new job, he ends up at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But it isn’t long before he notices that there’s more going on than it seems… I ended up really enjoying reading this book set in a bookstore. It is what sent me on my quest to find more books set in bookstores.

“The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco web-design drone, and serendipity, sheer curiosity and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey have landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There are only a few customers, but they come in repeatedly and never seem to actually buy anything, instead ‘ checking out’ impossibly obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger, Clay concludes, and soon he has embarked on a complex analysis of the customers’ behaviour and roped his friends into helping him figure out just what’s going on. But once they bring their findings to Mr.Penumbra, they discover the secrets extend far beyond the walls of the bookstore.” publisher

Tomes of Terror: haunted bookstores and libraries by Mark Leslie

Books and ghosts seem meant for each other. If you don’t believe me, just watch Ghostbusters; the relationship can get messy but it is always entertaining. Tomes of Terror is a book documenting some true hauntings in bookstores and libraries around the world. If you like the supernatural and books, this book might be the perfect fit for you.

“Mark Leslie’s latest paranormal page-turner is a compendium of true stories of the supernatural in literary locales, complete with hair-raising first-person accounts. You may even recognize a spectre of your local library lurking in these true stories and photographs. If you have ever felt an indescribable presence hanging about a quiet bookshop, then you’ll enjoy these fascinating and haunting tales. Mark Leslie is the author of Haunted Hamilton and I, Death. He lives in Hamilton, Ontario.” discover

Forgotten Bookmarks: a bookseller’s collection of odd things lost between the pages by Michael Popek

Are you a fan of scrapbooking odd bits of paper or keeping unusual bookmarks tucked between the pages of your novel? If so, you should try this book.

“It’s happened to all of us: we’re reading a book, something interrupts us, and we grab the closest thing at hand to mark our spot. It could be a train ticket, a letter, an advertisement, a photograph, or a four-leaf clover. Eventually the book finds its way into the world-a library, a flea market, other people’s bookshelves, or to a used bookstore. But what becomes of those forgotten bookmarks? What stories could they tell? By day, Michael Popek works in his family’s used bookstore. By night, he’s the voyeuristic force behind www.forgottenbookmarks.com, where he shares the weird objects he has found among the stacks at his store. Forgotten Bookmarks is a scrapbook of Popek’s most interesting finds. Sure, there are actual bookmarks, but there are also pictures and ticket stubs, old recipes and notes, valentines, unsent letters, four-leaf clovers, and various sordid, heartbreaking, and bizarre keepsakes. Together this collection of lost treasures offers a glimpse into other readers’ lives that they never intended for us to see.”  publisher

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin.

Reviewed as a heartwarming read, I am eagerly waiting to read this novel. In this novel A. J. Fikry feels like his life is at its worse and that is when something beautiful and life changing enters his life. I like the hopefulness of that.

“Hanging over the porch of the tiny New England bookstore called Island Books is a faded sign with the motto “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World.” A.J. Fikry, the irascible owner, is about to discover just what that truly means. A.J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, but large in weight. It’s that unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew.” discover

The Door to Lost Pages by Claude Lalumière.

Last for this post is a book from my favorite genre, fantasy.

“On her tenth birthday, Aydee runs away from home and from her neglectful parents. … a series of frightening, bewildering encounters with strange primordial creatures leads her to a bookshop called Lost Pages, where she steps into a fantastic, sometimes dangerous, but exciting life. Aydee grows up at the reality-hopping Lost Pages, which seems to attract a clientele that is both eccentric and desperate. She is repeatedly drawn into an eternal war between enigmatic gods and monsters, until the day she is confronted by her worst nightmare: herself.” back cover

These were a few that I found, but I would love to hear about any other bookstore novels out there. What are your favorites?

About Halifax Libraries

Welcome to The Reader, a blog from the Readers' Services staff at Halifax Public Libraries. Our goal is to create a forum for book news and related discussion among leisure readers. A place for Halifax leisure readers to interact with their library and the larger community of leisure readers.

 

The views and opinions expressed in this content are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of haligonia.ca.

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