Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Fictional (and real-life) Bookshops

The Lost and Found Bookshop by Susan Wiggs is sure to interest the avid book lover. This whimsical story begins with Natalie Harper, a tightly-wound, serious, career-driven woman receiving a promotion. This is a special day for her though it is dimmed by the absence of her mother and her boyfriend (and the fact the job doesn't bring Natalie any joy).   

While she isn't passionate about her career, it is a job that provides a paycheck, benefits and security, which were things that were missing from her Mom’s life as Natalie was growing up. Little does she know she is about to gain a understanding of her mother’s decisions that confused and frustrated her in the past when, after a terrible accident, she inherits her mother’s small, but charming bookshop in San Francisco.

The bookshop is in an old historical building that also houses the family apartment. The building has been her family for many years and so it possesses a lot of history and memories for Natalie. While the bookshop is a charming magical place that provides comfortable chairs, a quite place to read, hot tea, and dainty calico cat named Sylvia, it isn’t doing well and Natalie must either sell it or figure out a way to make it profitable. The shop contains memories and dreams of long ago and that brings Natalie peace as often as it brings anxiety. She gathers her courage and leaves her stable job with the hopes that she can turn the failing bookshop around.

To add to the complexity of Natalie's situation, she also inherits the role of caregiver for her elderly grandfather who is starting to suffer signs of Alzheimer’s. His memory of long ago is clearer than his memory of yesterday. Often Natalie doesn’t know what is real and what has been created in his mind.    

This book contains all the elements needed to entertain the reader: history, mystery, love and loss can all be found in the plot.

We have our own magical bookshop not far from us, with comfy chairs, and (several) bookshop cats! The Haunted Bookshop in Iowa City. Established in 1978, The Haunted Bookshop carries over 45,000 titles in more than 80 different sections ranging from Iowa interest to poetry, children's books to ecology, Classical Studies to science fiction and more. The shop itself is located in a beautiful 1847 home on North Gilbert Street.

If you enjoy books that take place in cozy bookshops, there are many titles to choose from. The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan is the second book in the Scottish Bookshop series and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald takes place in Iowa! Both can be found on our library shelves or digitally through Bridges or Libby. 

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay and The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald are also great bookshop reads you can borrow digitally through through Bridges or Libby. The Bookshop was also recently made into a movie you can borrow from our shelves!

What's your favorite real-life bookshop?

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