Great Books Set In Bookstores

3 Great Books Set In Bookstores

In this post, we explore excellent books that are set in bookstores.

If you’re reading this then you love books! You probably love reading and writing them. And despite having a favourite genre, I’m sure you’ll agree that books about books, or rather places where you can find books are great! So it seems like a good idea to chat about those magical places. We’ve started with books set in bookstores. Keep your eyes open for future blogs about books set in libraries and then book clubs.

3 Great Books Set In Bookstores

Bookshops are the repository of portals to other times, places, people, galaxies, and speculative worlds – the magic, the fantasy, the alternative historical. There is a magic in a bookshop that is different to that in a library. Perhaps it’s the price of a portal entry, a.k.a. the cost of a book. Owning your own portal does feel more powerful than borrowing one for two weeks from the library for free. If your bookshop has a cat, be careful. The magic is strong there!

This is probably why so many books have been set in book clubs, libraries, and of course, bookstores.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

Written in 1970, this classic book is the true story, told through letters beginning in 1949, of the twenty-year correspondence between Helene Hanff, and Frank P. Doel. She was at the time a freelance writer living in New York City. Frank worked at Marks & Co Booksellers in London. The book is dedicated to Frank in memorium.

It is a classic for a reason. It is charming, poignant, and hilarious. Helene and Frank never met. They were separated by geography and culture. But because of their love of books they had a friendship that endured.

The book was turned into a stage play, a television film and then a movie of the same name starring Anthony Hopkins and Anne Bancroft.

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard

Despite its title, the book is about a second-hand bookshop in Copenhagen, the Libri di Luca. Here, a secret society of booklovers and readers who have maintained a tradition of immense power passed down from the great and ancient library of Alexandria, meet. It is the books that hold the power. Some of them are so powerful they can kill anyone who reads them.

Jon Campelli inherits the bookshop when his father dies, suddenly and violently. And that is just the start. Someone is trying to destroy the bookshop and kill all the members of the society.

The Library Of Shadows is engrossing. A literary thriller filled with intrigue, conspiracy, and the extraordinary power of reading.

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

At its best when illuminating the lives of outsiders, outcasts, the misunderstood, and the hopeful, Penelope Fitzgerald’s prose has, according to the New York Times, created a classic whose force has improved through the years.

This Booker Prize shortlisted novel, a subtle blend of poignancy and humour, tells the story of Harborough resident, Mrs Florence Green.

Hardborough, in 1959, had very little in the way of entertainment. There wasn’t even a fish and chip shop! So, Mrs Green opened a bookshop. But some people liked Hardborough the way it was! The conflict is delicious, which probably explains why it too was turned into a movie.

There are so many books set in bookshops that this could be a very long list. To keep it manageable, I’ve chosen these three because I like them. They also cover a range of stories, locations, and eras. There’s a whole raft, or should that be shelf, of bookshop books set in Paris.

And another set in London after World War Two.

There’s also the ‘how to find love in a bookstore’ raft. There’s creepy ones, haunted ones, murderous ones, and ‘little’ ones, like The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George. A bestselling novel about a floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine.

That’s the magic about books. If you have a particular favourite genre, and you like bookshops, the chances of you finding a book about a bookshop within that genre is high.

The Last Word

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Elaine Dodge

by Elaine Dodge. Elaine is the author of The Harcourts of Canada series. Elaine trained as a graphic designer, then worked in design, advertising, and broadcast television. She now creates content, mostly in written form, for clients across the globe, but would much rather be drafting her books and short stories.

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Posted on: 17th January 2023
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