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Parnassus on Wheels

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  1,854 ratings  ·  392 reviews
"I warn you," said the funny-looking little man with the red beard, "I'm here to sell this caravan of culture, and by the bones of Swinburne I think your brother's the man to buy it." Christopher Morley's unforgettably weird classic tale of adventure on a traveling bookstore called Parnassus, drawn by a steed called Pegasus. Not to be missed.
Kindle Edition, 202 pages
Published (first published 1917)
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Petra X smokin' hot
Aug 26, 2013 Petra X smokin' hot rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Petra X smokin' hot by: 3131238-judy
Shelves: 2013-reviews, fiction
This is a pilot for a new feel-good tv series:

Opening Credits:

It is a glorious morning on a deserted track somewhere in the rural Midwest. Rolling on the lane is a long gypsy-type wagon being pulled by a great big horse. On the open seat up front holding the reins is a cheery man of middle years with kind brown eyes who is laughing gently in a conversational kind of way with a fat, rather plain but very jolly lady. They are wearing clothes of the era when cars and wagons shared the roads, 1917.
...more
Mikki
"What absurd victims of contrary desires we are! If a man is settled in one place he yearns to wander; when he wanders he yearns to have a home. And yet how bestial is content—all the great things in life are done by discontented people."

-- Roger Mifflin of Mifflin's Travelling Parnassus

This is a tale of adventure, and although actual mileage is accrued and county lines are crossed, it's really more a personal journey -- one woman's mission to travel outside her comfort borders.

For the past 15
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Gregory
I'll admit to being sort of torn on how many stars to give this story. At times I feel like I'm a little too liberal with how I fling 5 stars around at book reviews. In this case, the story wasn't anything so complex. It was just a short, simple adventure vaguely reminiscent of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer if Tom Sawyer had really, really loved books. And been a woman. But I had so much fun reading it that I couldn't put the story down. It was short, sweet, and didn't try to be anything other th ...more
Miriam

Not as smooth or clever as Morley's later writing, but very sweet and fun!

Come on, what book lover could hate a short novel about driving around in a horse-drawn wagon bringing books to the bookless?
Chris
This might be the most fun I've had with a book in a long time! "Professor" Mifflin is a book salesman and Parnassus is his book caravan that he takes from farm to farm, spouting the goodness that can be found in books. A sprite little man, I imagined a leprechaun, quick on his feet with a twinkle in his eye and a love for the written word. One day he happens upon Sabine Farm, where he finds Helen McGill, an overweight, nearly 40-year-old woman who cooks and keeps the farm up for her brother And ...more
Olga Godim
Dec 09, 2013 Olga Godim rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Olga by: Nikki
Shelves: mainstream
Charming, simply charming! I don’t believe in all my readings over the years I missed this author. I’m totally in love with this short and sweet gem of a novella, published in 1917, almost a hundred years ago. I’m going to read more of Morley. I’m definitely reading the sequel – The Haunted Bookshop – as my 1947 edition of this book has both under one cover.
Despite its low page count, Parnassus on Wheels incorporates two interweaved love stories: a short, poignant romance of two middle-aged, lon
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Phrynne
I discovered that this book was a prequel to The Haunted Bookshop so I just had to read it and it lived up to all my expectations. It is a short but utterly charming tale of how the bookshop came to be and I enjoyed it totally! I always like books about books and Christopher Morley is very good at writing them.
Jana
Delightful in every way. It's a love story. With books.

A traveling "Parnassus" (wagon) full of books. What fun! Written in 1917. I love that they're "old" at 39 & 41.

And I'm going to guess that I can use this as my BOTNS Bingo square for "By A Small Press": Melville House. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.
Carolyn
I was amazed to learn that this delightful novella was written as long ago as 1917. The heroine and narrator, Helen McGill, could be any thoroughly modern woman who becomes fed up keeping house for her brother and takes off on adventures of her own. Helen was 'rescued' by her brother Andrew from a life as a governess to settle down with him on his farm. She is a placid soul who happily washes, tends the chickens, cleans and cooks for 15 years (she calculates that she has baked 6000 loaves of bre ...more
Orsolya
Much can be said of our (a collective ‘our’ for those on this site) love for books. Especially when, we even read books on the topic of books. That is precisely a theme in the well-known novella penned by Christopher Morley, “Parnassus on Wheels”.

“Parnassus on Wheels” follows the interaction between a wagon bookseller Roger Mifflin (Houghton-Mifflin, anyone?) and country spinster Helen McGill. Tired of being tied to the farmstead under her brother’s eye (and hoping to prevent her author-brother
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Sue
Sep 17, 2012 Sue rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: booklovers
What fun. I wasn't sure what to expect except that several people whose opinions I respect have enjoyed this book so much. Sometimes it's difficult to believe that I'm reading words written so long ago, I guess because there is a more modern sensibility rising. I love this early 20th century time period more and more.

I encourage all readers and booklovers to come and read about Parnassus on Wheels, the liberation of Miss McGill, the romance of life on the road.
Judy
Jan 01, 2013 Judy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Judy by: Chelsea
A fun, humorous account of a spinster, middle-aged woman who upon a whim buys a wagon of books from a bookseller and hits the road to sell them and have adventures. I LOVE this book and am surprised I never heard of it until this year.
Christy
The first of Christopher Morley's two bookselling novels ("The Haunted Bookshop" is the second), this book breathed wind into my sails, a true, fable-ish bookseller's manifesto.

Helen McGill is an ordinary, middle-aged "housewife" for her brother Andrew, whose literary aspirations have interfered with the running of their New England farm. One day when Andrew is out, a "Parnussus" (like a tinker wagon I imagine) rolls up and out jumps a little red-haired man (R. Mifflin), a cross between a lepre
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Yossibarzilai
Muy divertida, ingeniosa, más en las reflexiones que en la trama e incluso cómica a veces rozando el slapstick. Una lectura muy agradable.

"Son casi increíble las estratagemas a las que descienden ciertos editores"
"When you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue- you sell him a whole new life"
"A veces tengo la impresión de que los editores saben menos de libros que nadie"
"La última vez quería algo de Shakespeare pero no se lo di porque no lo vi preparado
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Bev Hankins
Actually finished this one late last night, so it counts for the last of my Classic Bribe Challenge Reads. Parnassus on Wheels (1917) is the first novel by Christopher Morley. It tells the story of Helen McGill who is getting tired of taking care of her older brother Andrew who has recently become a famous "homespun" author and who is spending less and less time doing the farm chores that are supposed to be his end of the bargain. One day Roger Mifflin, owner of the Parnassus on Wheels traveling ...more
LJ
PARNASSUS ON WHEELS (Novel, New England, Gaslight) – Ex
Morley, Christopher – Standalone
Wildside Press, Orig. published 1917, US Hardcover – ISBN: 1587155923
First Sentence: I wonder if there isn’t a lot of bunkum in higher education?
*** Helen McGill has been keeping house for her brother, a successful author and less successful farmer. Roger Mifflin shows up with a horse-drawn caravan, or Parnassus, which he has converted into a traveling bookstore. Helen, who has never had an adventure, buys the
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Kwoomac
This book was written in 1917. WWI was in full swing but this gentle novel makes no mention of it. Perhaps the author wanted to give his audience a way to escape the violence and horror they were dealing with. The biggest worries in this book were hobos and light rain. It worked for me. It was a cozy, feel-good story.

Roger Mifflin is a traveling book salesman. He drives around in a horse-drawn caravan, accompanied by his trusty dog Bock. Anyone who loves books will fall in love with Mifflin. At
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Nikki
Parnassus on Wheels is a sweet novella, a lot about loving books and a bit about adventure and a little bit about romance -- the kind of romance that comes all of a sudden; the book doesn't focus on wining and dining or anything like that, it's just a part of the story which doesn't take much development but still manages to feel just right.

Mostly it's fun because there are some lovely passages about books and the love of reading, and especially the importance of reading. It's not the most subst
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Mona Temchin
A delightful classic novel

This sweet and short book was published in 1917.

Helen McGill is tired of keeping house, cooking, and running the
farm for her author brother, Andrew. She wants an adventurous vacation. She is fat, plain, and middle aged, but a very spirited lady who is a terrific cook and housekeeper.

She buys "Parnassus", a mobile bookstore (in those days, this meant a horse drawn wagon full of books) from the owner, Roger Mifflin,a red bearded fellow she calls "The Professor". At the
...more
Iblena
Helen McGill lleva una existencia monótona dedicada al cuidado de su hermano Andrew y a los quehaceres de su granja hasta que se convierte en la propietaria de una librería ambulante, junto con el Profesor Roger Mifflin, antiguo dueño del negocio emprende una peculiar travesía por los senderos rurales del medio oeste norteamericano que se convertirá en una aventura inolvidable para ambos.. Divertida, entretenida, reflexiva y deliciosa historia que habla del poder de los libros y su influencia en ...more
Stephen
I first read this short novel as a youngster at the prompting of my mother who designed to turn her only son into a bibliophile like his mama. Written in 1917, it is the story of a woman who leaves the farm to travel country roads in a horse-drawn wagon filled with books for sale. The owner, "the professor," preaches a Gospel of literature to every farmer and farmer's family who will listen, selling a few books in the process. To say much more about the story would be to spoil the reading which ...more
Marie
Parnassus on Wheels is a charming little story.

As a teenager, I fell in love with a beautiful old leather-bound copy of David Grayson's Adventures in Contentment, I think as much for the beautiful gold moon on its leather cover as for the gentle story inside, which told of a young man in the early 1900s becoming ill and leaving the rat race to enjoy the simple life of a farmer, along with his sister, Harriet. It had a utopian sort of simple poetry about it, though as I recall, Harriet isn't real
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Michelle
Well, I just had WAY too much fun with this hilarious and off-the-wall romance. How fun! But I knew I was going to love any book that started out like this:

"I wonder if there isn't a lot of bunkum in higher education? I never found that people who were learned in logarithms and other kinds of poetry were any quicker in washing dishes or darning socks. I've done a good deal of reading when I could, and I don't want to 'admit impediments' to the love of books, but I've also seen lots of good, prac
...more
Mmars
Quick little story that harkens back to quaint times in rural America, when travelers were welcomed to come on in for a meal and a good night's sleep.

I'm not THAT old, but I do remember my brother asking every visitor who happened to be on our farm at lunch time if they'd like to come in to eat. My mother would whip off her apron and go out and stay one step ahead of him. Although our Avon lady (who thankfully didn't stop by over meal time) would bring her dreadful children with her and we HAD
...more
Michelle
This is a delightful book! It appealed greatly to my nerdiness and my introvertedness as well as my romantic side. :) Its style and tone reminded me a little bit of "I Captured the Castle," although I believe it is set earlier. Charming, light, with lots of great book-loving quotes. I'm off to read the sequel now ("The Haunted Bookshop")!
Elizabeth A
First published in 1917, this novella is a quick and delightful read.

Roger Mufflin has been traveling the New England countryside with his horse drawn book mobile leaving literacy and the love of books in his wake. He's ready to retire and write his book so is looking for a buyer for his Parnassus on Wheels. Enter Helen McGill, who has kept house for her brother for far too long. 6000 loaves of bread too long. Adventure awaits.

Curl up with this lovely book and see if you don't smile as you read
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Toni
Morley was a prolific writer, having written more than 100 novels, essay collections, and poetry collections. Parnassus on Wheels was his first novel, published in 1917, when he was 27. He had previously published a volume of poems, worked as a publicist, an editor, and as a newspaper reporter and columnist.

Parnassus on Wheels features Roger Mifflin, an itinerant bookseller (“pedlar”) who travels the countryside in a robin’s-egg-blue van (the Parnassus) full of books. He preaches the value of bo
...more
Heidi'sbooks
This novella is delightful! Quite frankly I'd never heard of Christopher Morley before I started reading The Art of the Novella series from Melville House Publishers. This one I received as a gift from Melody at Fingers and Prose. How fun to receive a surprise package in the mail from a fellow blogger!

This is the story of an enthusiastic book seller, Mr. Mifflin, peddling his wares by horse-drawn bookmobile. It is also the story of a bachelor farmer, Andrew, and his spinster sister, Miss McGill.
...more
Patti Henger
This book would never have been on my radar had it not been for the awesome tastes of the editors at Book Riot who pick the quarterly mailings for their subscribers. An ode to Bibliophiles, this is the prequel to Christopher Morley's Haunted Bookshop. Featuring an evangelical traveling Bookseller, his dog Bock, horse Peg, and latest convert to the trade- Helen McGill, the troupe travels the countryside in their Bookmobile- Parnassus on wheels. They preach the importance and vitality of books to ...more
Lilian
This is a delightful book, perfect for a holiday break. The illustrations by Douglas Gorsline are perfect.

First published in 1917, the book was well reviewed by the Boston Evening Transcript:



To read Parnassus on Wheels is to be glad there are books in the world. It is graceful in style, light in substance, merry in its attitude toward life, and entertaining in every aspect of its plot and insight into character.


Yes! This short novel, weighing in at only 160 pages, is written in the robust first
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Christopher Morley was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania while his father was a mathematics professor at Haverford College. Morley graduated from this same school in 1910 as valedictorian. He then went to New College, Oxford University for three years on a Rhodes Scholarship, studying modern history. Arriving home, he headed out to Garden City to begin his life of letters at Doubleday, where he work ...more
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“The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.” 31 likes
“That's when a woman finds herself--when she's in love. I don't care if she is old or fat or homely or prosy. She feels that little flutter under her ribs and she drops from the tree like a ripe plum.” 5 likes
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