From Iowa To Paris

Fact:  Between 7-8,000 items can found on the shelves of Tanglewood’s library for our resident’s reading pleasure.

Fact:  Each and every item on those shelves has been donated.

Based on those facts I think it is safe to assume Tanglewood residents spend time in bookstores.  A special thank you for those donations!   For all of you who enjoy time looking for just the perfect read, I hope you enjoy the picks for this month’s reviews.

If you are in the mood for a book that makes you feel good, spend some time with The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend (2015) by Katarina Bivald.  It is small town, quirky characters and a bit magical as all books that touch one’s heart.

Sara Lindqvist works in a bookstore in Sweden.  She is in her 20s and is way more comfortable with a book than with people.  Her job was ideal…until the bookshop closes.  The thought of job hunting seemed to be “overwhelmingly pointless.”  But, Sara had a lifeline.  Amy Harris of Broken Wheel, Iowa.

Amy and Sara met online when Sara purchased a used book from her.  The usual part of the transaction is that Amy refused to take payment for the book.  As a way of thanking her, Sara sent a different book back to Amy.  Thus, began a pen pal friendship between two women separated by four decades in age.

Through Amy’s letters Sara became acquainted with the United States and Iowa in particular.  Their friendship grew and led to an invitation to Sara to visit and spend a few weeks in Broken Wheel.  With Sara now out of work, she had no reason to refuse.

When Sara arrives in Broken Wheel she is completely taken aback to learn Amy has recently passed away.  Please note, Sara has never traveled and is alone in a country she has only experienced through reading.  But, she has a sense it all will work out.  “As long as she had books and money, nothing could be a catastrophe.”

Sara feels as if she already knows Broken Wheel and its residents thanks to Amy’s letters over the years.  There is a familiarity not only with the residents but with the small town itself. The townspeople welcome her and make her feel right at home.

How does she thank them?  By opening a bookstore filled with the many books that Amy owned.  Only problem, no one claims to be a reader in Broken Wheel.  At least not at first.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend was one fun book to read.  The characters, some stereotypical small town, but that is ok.  The idea of a bookstore in a town that is fading away bit by bit seems ludicrous but it works.  And, the friendship between two women who never met in person is perfect.  Enjoy!

Time to travel from the tiny crossroads of Iowa to a most unusual bookshop in the City of Light…Paris.  The Literary Apothecary in The Little Paris Bookshop (2015) by Nina George is where you meet Monsieur Jean Perdu.

The Literary Apothecary is a floating bookshop moored on the Seine.  The kind of place tourists like to flock to.  Not just for the tourists and their cameras.  It is a serious bookshop for readers.  But, some customers come for other reasons…its uniqueness.

Jean Perdu is thought of by many as a pharmacist, a literary pharmacist that is.  Perdu has a knack for selecting just the right book that matches the need of his customers.  Sometimes Perdu will not even sell a book to a customer if he feels it is not the right book for them.

Max Jordan, bestselling author, is suffering from a severe case of writer’s block.  Max just happens to enter the bookshop and overhears Perdu telling a customer Night, Max’s novel, is not the right book for her.

This is not what Max needed to hear.  Monsieur Perdu explains his reasoning to Max and learns that the author has been hiding out because he cannot cope with the stress of an overdue deadline and not one word is written.  Perdu knows just the cure.  He shares his personal copy Sanary’s Southern Lights with Max.

Jean Perdu does not reside on the barge.  He has lived in an apartment dwelling at 27 Rue Montagnard for over 20 years.  He knows of the resident’s comings and goings but does not spend much time with them.  It is because of residents, past and present, that Perdu’s routine life changes directions when a letter from a lost love comes to light.  It is discovered that it has been left unread for about 20 years.

As a result of the information found in this years old missive, Perdu casts off the barge and starts on a journey away from life as he knows it.  But, not alone.  Just as the barge moves away from the bank, Max Jordan makes a leap, losing his wallet and phone in the river.  So, begins a new chapter of Jean’s life.

The barge trip for Jean is twofold.  To find his lost love Manon and the person called Sanary, the author of his favorite book.  The trip is not without its problems, quirky characters and situations.  And, what would a trip through the countryside of southern France be without wine and food?  Southern France has always sounded like a beautiful place to visit, even more so now.

Both The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend and The Little Paris Bookshop are written by book lovers but are completely different.  Both have fun, interesting characters and friendships plus some romance, touching moments and disappointments just as in real life.  One added benefit, both authors added reading lists of titles mentioned.  You will notice differences there also.  Happy reading!

 

 

 

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