Our Favourite (Fictional) Bookshops and Libraries
By Ellen Tyldesley
Here at The Publishing Post, we're no strangers to using fiction as a method of escapism, and where better to escape to than a bookshop or library!
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
This novel is truly escapism at its finest! Zachary Ezra Rawlins is browsing his university library when he encounters an unusual old book. It becomes even more unusual when he discovers this book is actually about him! The Starless Sea takes you on a journey through magical doors and into a seemingly never-ending library deep below the earth, and into the midst of stories you could never have imagined. The library it centres around is enchanting and whimsical, but with a definite dangerous edge – just to keep it interesting. It’s also full of cats…
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
This little second-hand bookshop plays a small, but very important, role in this novel in a way we can’t really elaborate on without spoiling the book! The story follows Adeline LaRue, a girl in 19th century France who makes a dubious deal with the devil to escape her own wedding and a marriage she does not want. As can be expected when one makes a deal with the devil, there are consequences. For Addie, this means that she is destined to live forever, to see the world and experience more than anyone could imagine, but she is doomed to never be remembered, to never have anyone even speak her name. This is a haunting and captivating novel that spans centuries.
Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Sixteen-year-old Lily leaves her notebook, containing a series of dares, on a shelf in her favourite bookshop and waits for the right guy to come along and rise to her challenge. It appears that the ‘right guy’ is Dash. Starting at The Strand bookstore, Lily and Dash take these challenges all across New York, passing their notebook back and forth. This novel is heartwarming and magical and almost like a modern-day fairy tale – perfect to read in one sitting. We recommend saving this feel-good book for your winter to-be-read list as it’s full of Christmas joy.
The Library of the Unwritten by A.J Hackwith
What happens to all the books we never write? The Library of the Unwritten is located in Hell and houses all the characters and stories that we have forgotten and left unfinished. Claire is the librarian, and it’s her job to keep all the unwritten characters in check and track them down when they go missing. But when the library comes under threat her skills are tested like never before. The Library of the Unwritten is wonderfully written with a diverse cast of characters for you to fall in love with. This is the first book in a growing series and we can't wait to dive into the second book, The Archive of the Forgotten, which has recently been released!
The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abby Waxman
Nina Hill has a quiet life which mostly consists of her bookstore, her trivia team and her cat named Phil. A quiet life is exactly what she enjoys, so when that life is flipped on its head, Nina struggles to come to terms with the world outside of her bookshop and the new relationships she is forced into. This novel is perfect for us bookworms who find comfort in quietly wandering a bookshop, and who find our own family in books. This novel is also a witty and light-hearted reminder that stepping outside your comfort zone once in a while is worth it.
84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff
84 Charing Cross Road brings together twenty years of letters written between Helene Hanff, an American writer living in New York, and Frank Doel, an employee at Marks and Co. Booksellers in London. Despite never meeting, their business correspondence blossoms into a close friendship through their shared adoration of books. Although not a fictional bookshop (84 Charing Cross Road is the real address of Frank Dole’s bookstore), we think this non-fiction book deserves an honourable mention as it is so full of love and charm – attributes which lie at the heart of all good bookshops and all worthwhile friendships.