I finally got around to a few books on my To Be Read list and one was The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. A bookshop is a central feature, almost a character, in this delightful book set in Broken Wheel, Iowa. The back cover blurb captures it well: “A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us.”
Booklovers will get a kick out of the references to books and authors and be thankful for the lists in the back of the book. I was reading about one of the characters being taken with Idgie and was tickled that I finally recalled that Idgie was a character in Fried Green Tomatoes.
That book prompted me to think, “Gee, I think there are other books I’ve read that take place in bookshops,” and I was right. There were a few whose titles I couldn’t recall, but I’ve come up with most of them.
Years ago, I read the Carolyn Hart mysteries that take place in and around the Death on Demand bookshop on Broward’s Rock, a South Carolina island. I likely read the first five or six and enjoyed all the references to books and authors. I wasn’t surprised to learn there are 26 in the series, and I may have to get back to them.
You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan to enjoy Charlie Lovett’s First Impressions, a tale of a previously unknown Austen manuscript. The heroine is recently graduated from Oxford and works in an antiquarian bookshop in London. Because I visited Oxford on a 2018 trip to England, I especially enjoyed recognizing the Oxford references.
I discovered John Dunning’s series of books featuring bookshop owner and former Denver police officer Cliff Janeway when my sister passed along Booked to Die, the first in the series.
Another favorite read was Nina George’s book, The Little Paris Bookshop, a whimsical story of a bookshop housed on a boat. Wouldn’t you love to visit a floating bookshop?
And then there’s The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry about the owner of Island Books on the imaginary Alice Island located somewhere near Boston.
I stayed up late two nights in a row to finish The Diary of a Bookseller, a Christmas gift from a friend who knows me oh-so-well. This one is nonfiction, written by Shaun Bythell, who owns The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. Described as “a wry and hilarious account of life at a bookshop in a remote Scottish village,” it was a behind the scenes look at the life of a bookseller.
As for cats, as I recalled these books, I couldn’t help but think about Books Unlimited, the cozy, inviting bookshop in Franklin, North Carolina, where Nancy the cat roams from the chair to the window to the counter, perfectly at home. If you’re lucky when you visit, she may even curl up in your lap. And, if the books I’ve mentioned end up on your reading list, Nancy and her owner will happily find them for you.