The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted
When enigmatic Hannah Babel arrives in a quiet Australian town in 1968, she immediately sets to work on opening the first bookshop to ever grace the area. To help her build it, she hires Tom Hope, a farmer who’s recently found himself alone (and who’s read only one book in his life). As the two grow closer, Tom learns about Hannah’s traumatic past as a Holocaust survivor, and the pair finds solace in the printed word and the exchange of their own stories.
In this ode to bookstores and the magic within them, 15 celebrated authors write about their favorite bookshops around the world. Their moving recollections—from voices including Ali Smith, Yiyun Li, and Juan Gabriel Vásquez—serve as a reminder to cherish our local bookstores (and booksellers!) and to continue showing up for them.
Words in Deep Blue
A YA read that will charm bookstore fans of all ages, Words in Deep Blue follows the budding love story of Rachel and Henry. Before she moved away years ago, Rachel hid a love letter to Henry in one of the books in his family’s bookstore—and never heard from him again. Until, that is, Rachel returns after her brother’s tragic death and takes a job in the same bookstore. As Rachel and Henry pass notes through the books, they manage to find their way back to each other.
How to Find Love in a Bookshop
Emilia Nightingale is faced with a dilemma much like Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail: she’s trying to keep her departed father’s bookstore running, but it’s easier said than done. As Emilia considers the cash offers flowing in and wishes for her father’s advice, she’s buoyed (and further conflicted) by the community of readers who call Nightingale Books a second home. A heartwarming read that will have you jetting off to your local bookshop.
The Diary of a Bookseller
A wry and surprising memoir by a naïve-turned-cantankerous bookseller, Shaun Bythell’s account of his first year running a secondhand bookshop in a Scottish village is keenly entertaining. Come for the dreamy descriptions of the store—situated in a gorgeous old house by the sea—and stay for the hilarious interactions with Bythell’s quirky staff and zany customers.
The Little Paris Bookshop
Nina George’s enchanting bestseller follows literary apothecary Monsier Perdu on his mission along the Seine to find the one who got away. Conveniently for Perdu, his bookstore is easily transportable—it’s on a floating barge—which allows him to continue dispensing literary prescriptions to wounded hearts along the riverside. It’s a sweet journey through the expanse of human emotions and the ability of books to meet us where we are.
At Read It Forward, there are few things we love more than an inviting, stocked-to-the-brim bookstore. We’ve waxed poetic about accidental bookselling, the multiplying nature of bookstore-themed tote bags, the importance of using our purchasing power to keep bookstores alive, and the strange things we’ve done in bookstores—including speed-dating. For bibliophiles, there are few brick-and-mortar locations as magical and, yes, even romantic (which explains why romance is a common theme of this reading list). Enjoy these delightful books about bookstores, then pop over to your local indie and show them some love.
Featured Image: @patrickbrinksma/Twenty20