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10 novels set in bookstores


Probably the best book about a bookstore is 84 Charing Cross Road, but what about fiction? There is actually a mini-genre of novels set in bookstores dating back 100 years to the books of Christopher Morley. Romance, mysteries, and tales about life-changing events seem to be the main themes. John Dunning, who still owns an antiquarian bookselling business in Denver (Old Algonquin Books), created an entire series of crime novels about a detective who loves books.

The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler

A witty, sharply observed novel about a young woman who finds unexpected salvation while working in a quirky used bookstore in Manhattan.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life using his intuitive feel for what the reader needs.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Clay Jannon has left life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. After a few days, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest.

Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

Published in 1917. When you sell a man a book, says Roger Mifflin, the traveling bookman at the center of this novella, you don’t sell him just 12 ounces of paper and ink and glue, you sell him a whole new life. A romantic comedy.

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley

A 1919 suspense novel that continues the story of Roger Mifflin. Not a ghost story, the title refers to the ghosts of the past in the form of dead authors and old books that can be found in a bookstore.

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

In a small East Anglian town, literature-loving widow Florence Green decides, against polite but ruthless local opposition, to open a bookshop.  A bookselling drama of small town politics.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A. J. Fikry lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore.

The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard

A Danish literary thriller. When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen. An arson attempt follows and Jon is forced to explore his family’s past. Unbeknownst to him, the bookshop has for years been hiding a remarkable secret.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

Nina Redmond has a gift for finding the perfect book for her readers. But can she write her own happy-ever-after? This romantic comedy is a valentine to readers, librarians, and book-lovers the world over. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village and buys a van, which becomes a mobile bookshop.

Booked to Die by John Dunning

Denver homicide detective Cliff Janeway is an avid collector of rare books. After a local book scout is killed on his turf, Janeway is on the (book)case, while also opening a small bookshop. The first in a series of crime novels featuring Janeway, the others are The Bookman’s Wake, The Bookman’s Promise, The Sign of the Book, and The Bookwoman’s Last Fling.

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