Art & Design Magazine

Books & More Books: Words, Books & Mysterious Pasts

By Mariagrazia @SMaryG


detail from the cover of  "La libreria dove tutto è possibile"

Two brilliant debut novels, two books about books, bookshops or bookstores.  They have many common features, though  their respective atmospheres and the authors’  writing styles make them quite different. Ready to discover more?
This book got mixed review since it came out in April last year,  but I really wanted to read it . Now it has just come out in Italian for Garzanti with the title “La libreria dove tutto è possibile” (The bookshop where everything is possible) .  Like every book lover, I can’t resist books about book lovers, librarians, book shops, libraries and so on.

One of the things I especially like in this novel is its being set in York, one of my best favorite English towns with its amazing Minster, its rich Ricardian legacy, its lovely little shops and intriguing ghost stories.

In Butland’s novel there’s a small cute bookshop in the city centre, where Loveday Cardew finds refuge and solace. She only feels safe when she is there, taking care of the books which take care of her at the same time in return. Through the pages of great novels Loveday manages to communicate her deepest feelings: Anna Karenina’s loneliness, Vaniy Fair’s love for life, Wuthering Heights'  overwhelming passion.

One day she starts receiving mysterious parcels containing books, the books she’s grown up with, so she starts thinking there’s someone’s out there trying to send her a message. It must be someone who knows her  as well as  her the story of her childhood. Loveday’s childhood was complicated, torn between her absent mother and the woman who tried to substitute her. Her childhood memories are sad and painful. Loveday doubts who the mysterious sender may be but she is sure she can’t go on hiding. If she wants to build a better future for herself, she has to solve what she left unsolved and buried in her past.
Lost for Words is available as a paperback or ebookFROM THE BOOK
 “I like books cause they don't care
if your knickers match your braIf you've washed your hair.I like books cause they don't invade your spaceThey sit on your shelfThey don#t get in your face.I like books cause they don't mindWaht your heart containsWho you've left behind.I like a book cause it doesn't give a shirtWhen you get to the end what you think of it.Books don't care if you've got a degreeWhat you watch on TV.Books don't judge if you've got tattoosIf your friends are few.I like books cause they don't care.”  
― Stephanie Butland
Publisher: Zaffre (2017)  
“All words are masks, and the lovelier they are, the more they are meant to conceal
I couldn’t but notice that  there are a few similarities between this novel and the previous one in this post, not only their being book-related. What about playing the game “spot the … similarities”?

Lydia is shy and introverted. She loves hiding among her beloved books and  among the shelves of the Bright Ideas Bookstore, where she works in Denver, Colorado. 

Lydia is  kindhearted with a soft spot for the homeless and the bizarre people, whom she calls BookFrogs,  that populate the aisles at the bookstore.

When one of Lydia’s favourites,  Joey,  hangs himself among the shelves upstairs,  she discovers he has left her all his possessions, including books defaced in a way that sends her a message about himself   and about her ownterrifying past. She herself had happened to find the young man’s dead body that night, soon after closing time ,and she had done whatever she could to help Joey in that crucial moment which would  deeply change her existence.  On that horrible night Lydia had found a photo peeping out of the young man’s trousers’ pocket: unexplicably, that is one of her photos, a photo from her childhood. Why did Joey kill himself right there, in the bookstore? Why did he happen to have one of Lydia’s photos in his pocket? And why did Lydia get the impression that is just the first of a series of clues Joey left for her?   What is the message of the books he left her? In search for that truth, Lydia comes to recall the images of a terrible night from her childhood, details buried in her memory start resurfing right now as well as presences she thought forgotten and lost, like that of her father.

Gripping, addictive, and smart, Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore is a great thriller that depicts the intellect and eccentricity of the setting and will keep the reader guessing until the very end.FROM THE BOOK
“To the inexperienced, many BookFrogs appeared as derelict or homeless, but to the seasoned eye it was clear that they’d shed themselves of the world, rejecting its costumes and rules in favor of paper and words.” ― Matthew J. SullivanPublishers: Penguin UK/Windmill Books (2018)

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