Saturday, November 13, 2010

Europa Editions - A Novel Bookstore

A Novel BookstoreI've mentioned here in the past how often a book cover catches my eye and this one was no exception. I've read several books translated and printed for publication in the U.S. through Europa Editions and they are the loveliest books to look at, to hold, and to read. If you've read their edition of Muriel Barbery's The Elegance of the Hedgehog then you'll know what I mean.

If you'll admit to being a book snob then this is the perfect novel for you! Author Laurence Cosse has accomplished something that isn't easy nowadays - she's come up with an imaginative plot and then slowly, lovingly, laid it out for readers to savor, admire and chuckle at. You've heard of the Slow Food Movement? Well I would call this a slow novel in the very best sense of the words.

Contemplate, if you can, a bookstore with nary a copy of Dan Brown or Danielle Steel. Put it in a big old brownstone with curved front windows and window seats, set on a quiet side street in any cosmopolitan city - in this case it's Paris. Ahhhh - now choose eight authors whose works you've admired for years, who never let you down, whose novels stand the test of time and your own high standards. Invite each of them to anonymously contribute a list of the best 600 books they've ever read, collate the results and begin ordering only the world's best novels for your exclusive bookstore.

Van and Francesca have lived this dream - she owns and he operates this Novel Bookstore. The eight authors continue to write novels as well as critique others' novels for inclusion. We learn all of this as they share their history with a police detective. Why? Because someone is trying to KILL the book snobs! How have their names been discovered? Their every move monitored? I've read some pretty nasty book reviews and have even alluded to them in this blog, but I wouldn't secretly wish for the reviewer to meet an untimely end. Who knows, one day it could be me!

A Novel Bookstore is a deep reader's delight. A hodgepodge of literature, character study, humor and mystery. Keep an open mind though, the ending may surprise you.

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