Tripfiction: Ten Books set in Bookshops

Posted on 2nd March 2016 by Tina Hartas
A list of ten books that feature bookshops by Tina Hartas - as we all know, the only thing better than a real book shop is a fictional one.

Walk into any bookshop around the world and a sense of calm descends… people browsing for their next read, enjoying a coffee whilst the choose, chatting to staff who can steer them in the direction of something suitable for their taste. It is the real skill of an author to bring that intangible, yet very strong ambience to life, not just the bookshops set in bricks and mortar, but all manner of housing. We bring together just a small selection of wonderful reads that are set in a variety of bookshops around the world.


The Storied Life of A J Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

A. J. Fikry, who owns Island Books in Martha’s Vineyard, is going through a rather hard time: his bookshop is failing, his wife has died, and a very special first edition has been stolen. One day he finds tiny Maya, only 2 years old, sitting on the floor, with a note asking that she be looked after. His life is changed forever.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

We join Monsieur Jean Perdu aboard his canal boat – his peniche – the Literary Apothecary, moored on the Seine. People visit him from far and wide to soothe their troubles through his recommended reads. He soon decides to head south along the waterways of France, and this is the charming story of his journey and the people he meets, and his search for a long lost love.

Mr Penumbra’s 24 Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Clay used to be a web designer but now he is working in Mr Penumbra’s 24 hour bookstore on the night shift. He gradually becomes all too aware that this store is even more curious than he first thought – no-one seems to buy anything, but customers borrow incredibly strange and obscure tomes. A charming novel of mysterious books and dusty bookshops, with a magical, mystical feel: it is a perceptive and delightful love-letter to both the old book world and the new, set both in New York and San Francisco.

Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs by Jeremy Mercer

The author finds himself in a down phase of life, but finds a job at the legendary bookshop “Shakespeare and Co” in Paris This is his story of the people who come and go, the history, and the famous writers who have poured through the doors over the last century. Founded in 1921, it became the haunt of literary greats, such as Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and George Bernard Shaw and is now one of the must visit destinations for booklovers in Paris.


The Library of Shadows by Mikkel Birkegaard

When Luca Campelli dies a sudden and violent death, his son Jon inherits his second-hand bookshop, Libri di Luca, in Copenhagen.  Jon is unaware that it is the meeting place of a society of booklovers and readers, who still have immense power derived from the days of the great library of ancient Alexandria. A thriller to set a bookish heart racing.


The Little Bookshop on the Seine by Rebecca Raisin

Bookshop owner Sarah Smith has been offered the opportunity to exchange bookshops with her new Parisian friend for 6 months. Winter in Paris, eating croissants, drinking coffee, shopping and of course all the books one could possibly want. What’s not to like? A wonderful love story, with Paris as a stunningly evoked backdrop.


The Bookseller of Kabul by Åsne Seierstad

For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities and continued to provide books for the residents in Kabul.  The author, very much an outsider, looks in on the city, the people and its customs, all set against the backdrop of a sadly derelict city.


The Shadow of the Wind by Carols Ruiz Zafón

A 'cemetery of lost books' is hidden in the heart of Barcelona, full of obscure and long forgotten titles. In 1945 Daniel, a young boy aged 10, is allowed to choose one book from the shelves, and decides upon 'La Sombra del Viento' by Julian Carax. As he grows up, he finds himself at the heart of a mystery, with the life of Carax at the heart, and even the devil appears in this a magically engrossing read.

84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This book is the classic go-to read for books with a bookshop at the heart. A collection of exchanged letters, written over a twenty year period between the author, searching for books which she could not find in her home country and Frank Doel, an antiquarian bookseller in London. A written dialogue that is unique and touching,  between two people separated by an ocean.


The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

1959. A small Suffolk town, Florence Green decides, despite determined opposition, to open a bookshop.

Fictional Hardborough becomes a veritable battleground as Fitzgerald brings to life the atmosphere of small town Britain in this novella, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 1978.


by Tina Hartas for TripFiction 


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