If we can’t visit bookstores right now, at least we can read about them.
By Jessica Dukes
Bibliophiles know that there’s nothing better than strolling up and down the aisles of your local bookstore, walking around with books in your arms, maybe even chatting with strangers about books. Discovering and buying books is often just as satisfying as reading them. With that in mind, here are a few great reads that invite you into a treasured bookstore.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Monsieur Perdu runs a bookstore out of his barge on the Seine in Paris. Customers come to him as they would a doctor — his book recommendations are known to heal people’s lives. When he finally decides that it’s time to mend his own broken heart, he sails to the south of France to find his one true love. He soon meets a struggling author who joins his quest. As the two men share stories, they realize that whatever happens in life, their beloved books can heal them as well.
Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
Lydia is right at home, working at the Bright Ideas bookstore. She loves the organizing, the books, and the BookFrogs, which is how they refer to customers. Everything is upended when Joey, a young customer, commits suicide in one of the bookstore’s rooms. When Lydia learns that Joey has named her in his will, she’s perplexed. Why her? Why did he kill himself? What is she supposed to do with all of his stuff? But then Lydia realizes that his belongings are actually clues, and that his final message is a mystery for her — and her alone — to solve.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
Sara and Amy have been international pen pals for years. So imagine Sara’s heartbreak when she arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa, to surprise her friend, only to find that Amy has passed away. Although she has lost a friend, she gains many more — a whole town-full — as she’s comforted by local residents. With nothing much left for her back home, Sara decides to stay and do the unexpected: open a bookstore. She has no idea if Broken Wheel even wants a bookstore, but Sara hopes that its small-town spirit will work its magic on them all.
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
It’s 1915, and Roger Mifflin and his book wagon, called Parnassus, are traveling across New England. His mission is to simply bring books to the people, along with the incredible lessons, adventures, and inspiration they provide. Much to everyone’s surprise, when he finally decides to arrange the sale of his mobile bookstore, it’s to a woman, Helen McGill. She’s determined to escape the drudgery of her family farm, reclaim her intellectual spirit, and start having some adventures of her own.
The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald
The town of Hardborough in Sussex, England doesn’t have much after the devastations of WWII, but it does have a new bookstore thanks to Florence. Unfortunately, the town also has a bunch of nosy neighbors who are skeptical about the need for a bookstore, a rival who wants to use the space as an art gallery, and an angry ghost. Florence carries on, ordering books she thinks the town will read, mostly war stories and royal biographies. It’s when a copy of Lolita hits her shelves that all hell breaks loose.
A Novel Bookstore by Laurence Cossé
A string of kidnappings, murders, car crashes, and assaults seem unrelated, at first. But the people at The Good Novel Bookstore know better. All of the victims are, in fact, on a clandestine committee that selects books for The Good Novel’s most elite readers. The bookstore has become quite a success for owners Francesca and Ivan and their team of experts. But now the mystery lovers are in a fight for their lives, both professionally and literally.
Booked to Die by John Dunning
When homicide detective, Cliff Janeway, takes police matters into this own hands, he finds himself out of a job. For Janeway, a rare-book collector, opening a bookstore is an obvious second act. He sets up shop and begins selling but still has one eye on an old case, one that seems connected to the sudden appearance of valuable books by Raymond Chandler and Mark Twain … followed by a series of murders. Nothing about owning a bookstore is business as usual for Janeway, except the part where he has to track down a killer.
The Bookshop of Yesterdays by Amy Meyerson
Miranda hasn’t spoken to her uncle in years, and is caught off guard when she learns that he has passed away and left his nearly bankrupt bookstore, Prospero Books, to her. Accepting means moving back to Los Angeles and facing some very painful family secrets, but she does and soon finds herself wrapped up in a mystery. Her uncle has left hidden messages throughout the store and his attached apartment. If Miranda can decipher them, she may be able to save the store and mend relationships with the rest of her family.
The Secret of Lost Things by Sheridan Hay
Eighteen-year-old Rosemary is living her dream when she moves to New York. As if that weren’t exciting enough, she lands a job at the Arcade, a bookstore that specializes in used and rare books. It’s a big store, with eccentric and dedicated customers and bookstore employees who are equally intense. Into this maelstrom, a letter arrives addressed to Rosemary. Someone wants to sell a long-lost Herman Melville. An acquisition like this would put their bookstore on the map, but first Rosemary has to figure out who sent the letter and if it’s the real deal, all while navigating bookstore politics.