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A Novel Bookstore

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3.54 of 5 stars 3.54  ·  rating details  ·  2,298 ratings  ·  527 reviews
Ivan, a one-time world traveler, and Francesca, a ravishing Italian heiress, are the owners of a bookstore that is anything but ordinary. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free reign. Tucked away in a corner of Par ...more
Paperback, 424 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Europa Editions (first published 2009)
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The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel BarberyOld Filth by Jane GardamA Novel Bookstore by Laurence CosséThe Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine by Alina BronskyThe Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardam
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3rd out of 71 books — 91 voters
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18th out of 97 books — 265 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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karen

this is a novel that is ideal for those of us who can lose ourselves for hours in a bookstore. any bookstore; whether it be a giant chain box store, or a dusty used-bookstore. this is a book for people for whom coming across a book that is just perfect for your mood or place in your life can be the highlight of your week.

this is a book for me.

imagine coming across a bookstore that only carried "good books." now, this assessment is of course fraught with problems, "what makes a good book??", and
...more
Kelly
Jun 06, 2011 Kelly rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kelly by: Elizabeth
I would like to say before I begin this review that I am a liar. Those five stars above are in many ways undeserved. They are certainly not given for any objective literary merit. They are not given for superior plotting (darlings, you thought I was that blind?) or suspense, for consistently admirable positions- whether political or otherwise (there is a reason that all the blurbs on the back of this book are taken from French newspapers that are standard bearers for the political right), for a ...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
The Publisher Says: Ivan, a one-time world traveler, and Francesca, a ravishing Italian heiress, are the owners of a bookstore that is anything but ordinary. Rebelling against the business of bestsellers and in search of an ideal place where their literary dreams can come true, Ivan and Francesca open a store where the passion for literature is given free reign. Tucked away in a corner of Paris, the store offers its clientele a selection of literary masterpieces chosen by a top-secret committee ...more
Greg
First things first, thank you so much, Elizabeth, for this book!

I loved this book, and it wasn't just because I saw a little bit of Karen and myself and the ways we try to promote 'good' books over the onslaught of 'not-so-good' books. Of course we work in an evil corporate bookstore, but along with others at our particular evil corporate bookstore I think we do a fairly good job at fighting the good fight, so to speak. Elizabeth already wrote an excellent review for this book, and it has the q
...more
Jenny
I don't know. I didn't get this book at all. Really, the plot is very simple: a wealthy woman and a bookseller decide to open a store called "The Good Novel" where they sell only, wait for it, good novels. This is supposed to be some kind of revolutionary movement that will change society for the better. Then they, and the famous authors who decide what constitutes a good novel, begin to be attacked. Because this store is so threatening. Also there are random love affairs. And then midway throug ...more
Paula
Well,now, what to say about this literary non thriller set in Paris. Let's see, it has a terrific opening that led me to believe it would be a mystery about books and book lovers. But that hope was dashed when the owners begin telling the tale of the Novel Bookstore to the police. Convoluted to say the least and really not all that riveting, but I was charmed by the idea of a bookstore devoted only to great literature. The problem being, of course, who is to decide what constitutes great. The ow ...more
Garnette
Gripped with excitement for the first half, then dismayed by change of plot direction. However, I DO see that the author had no where else to go but to increase the tension after the blissful first half. Planning, designing, gathering, publicizing, inviting readers, finally launching even a gorgeous Parisian bookstore does not a book make. Except maybe to me and other aficionadas of the independent bookstore. So plot must take its place. I suppose. Still I read on, delighting in the writing, the ...more
Lyndsay
Though the idea that anyone can decide what is a "good" book is a difficult premise to support, I think most book lovers understand and possibly support the concept (If being discerning makes me an elitist then sign me up! I'm not hurting anyone but myself). As much fun as it is to read the latest bestseller, we know in the back of our heads that it is candy for the brain- not food for the soul. Hey, I've read Twilight just like everyone else. It didn't change my life. But it did make vacation w ...more
Julie
Oct 15, 2010 Julie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Julie by: Queen Anne Books
The gentle tone of this understated novel belies its passion. The passion lies not in the wistful but tepid love affairs of its principal characters, Ivan and Francesca, nor in the acts of spite and revenge committed by anonymous villains. Its passion is centered on a devotion to literature, on a celebration of the novel in its purest and finest form.

Francesca, the lonely and elegant wife of a Parisian captain of industry, and Ivan, an erstwhile adventurer and seller of comic books and classic
...more
K
Mar 16, 2012 K rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K by: M
What do French novels and Seinfeld have in common?

Well, if I got your attention with that question, my first answer is a disclaimer -- I have limited exposure to both and probably shouldn't be making judgments. But I won't let that stop me from offering my second answer, which is that both seem to create a great deal of drama around a nothing premise.

Maybe "nothing premise" isn't really fair or accurate. There was a premise here. "A Novel Bookstore" is yet another addition to the books-are-aweso
...more
Fionnuala
A bookshop with space to linger and permission to read as much as you like.
A bookshop where the latest prize winners aren’t automatically promoted.
A book shop where you won’t come across stacks and stacks of current blockbusters.
A bookshop full of good novels you already know and many more waiting to be discoverd.
Such is the uncomplicated dream of this novel’s main characters when they decide to open Au Bon Roman on rue Duypuytrin in the centre of Paris. But who should decide what is good? A
...more
Chris
Over a year ago, I went into my local Borders to buy a copy of Last Watch. The woman behind me in line had a copy as well. We turned to each other and said, "Don't you love him?".

That's what books do.

Now, my local Border's is nothing like the bookstore in this novel, though my local Borders tends to hire readers as booksellers so as long as you know something about the book, they can find it. And as much as I enjoy the Watch books, they aren't really part of the 600.

But books are important. Read
...more
M
For a very long time now I have fantasized about opening up a bookstore - not a bookopolis ala B&N, or a cozy used bookstore per se, as much as one that instead of sporting categories such as fiction, non fiction, etc, mine would have 'I really loved this and everyone must read it,' 'this is really dark but so worth reading,' 'I couldn't finish this but everyone else seems to like it' shelves. In essence it would be the living breathing physical version of my goodreads list.
I think that most
...more
Sandra
Facendo una valutazione complessiva del libro lo definirei un romanzo da intrattenimento da leggere sotto l’ombrellone, come ho fatto io, privo di velleità letterarie.
La trama gialla, pubblicizzata nel retro della copertina, è davvero esile, i tre quarti del libro sono costituiti dal racconto a partire dalle origini dell’apertura e dell’attività della libreria del buon romanzo, fatta a un poliziotto, dai proprietari della medesima, preoccupati per il compimento di atti intimidatori da parte di
...more
Triciareader
I love Europa editions. I had to buy this book because I loved it so much - I want to go through the book and make a list of the books which they recommend and start reading them. There are two pages mid-book that I want to see as a poster ... a manifesto for good books, not merely what is popular.

"For as long as literature has existed, suffering, joy, horror, grace, and everything that is great in humankind has produced great novels. These exceptional books are often not very well-known, and
...more
Cassandra
Drömbokhandeln var den första boken som valdes i den nystartade bokcirkeln Boktokarna. Den tycks ha lämnat ett splittrat intryck, och många vet inte riktigt vad de känner inför den. För egen del landar intrycket på ett mestadels positivt intryck. Kärleken till böcker lyser igenom, även om jag inte håller med alla gånger, och får det att spritta av glädje i mig. Bokhandeln verkar vara en underbar plats, där du kan fastna i timmar för att läsa och går därifrån med ett saligt leende…

Du kan läsa res
...more
Felice
Umm...yeah. Part of the premise of this novel is that the bookstore of the title only stocks the best novels available. All I need to tell you is that they would not stock A Novel Bookstore.
Yossibarzilai
Salvo una trama paralela que sobra es una muy "buena novela"
Tyska
The story of a bookstore that only sells good literature and receives more than a fair share of criticism.
There's not more I want to reveal about the story itself, mostly because it was so frightfully boring.

It's very obvious that the author put a lot more effort into trying to tell the world how stupid it is for worshipping "fast-food literature" and "bestsellers" and how well-written, niminy-piminy books are being looked over at the same time. Her attitude got to me from a very early point on.
...more
Nancy
Nov 04, 2010 Nancy added it
This book really hooked me. It is not particularly well constucted and the characters are not drawn with depth, but the detailed description of starting up a bookstore in Paris really drew me in. When I followed the invitation on the last page to "join the conversation" by visiting the Web site, on first perusal I thought the bookstore must be a real place and that I was meeting the book characters who came up with the idea for this marvelous place. The feeling was thrilling, sort of like being ...more
Margherita Dolcevita
"Van stimava la sua clientela" riprese Francesca, "e aveva imparato a farsi ascoltare. Se un libro gli piaceva poteva venderne centinaia di copie.
Se invece gli chiedevano un libro di Danielle Steel o, senza andare troppo lontano, di Pierre Benoit, rispondeva gentilmente: non posso tenere tutto, ma lo troverà certamente alla Librairie Principale."


(pag. 74, punto in cui ho abbandonato il libro)

"Un giallo che è anche una storia di sentimenti e che pone un'urgente domanda: sopravviveranno i buoni ro
...more
Franco Vite
Allora, fin dalle prime pagine avevo intuito che non era il mio genere di romanzo, tanto che la prima volta non ho superato pag. 10.
Poi però, a furia di leggerne bene (ed anche per il rosicamento di aver pagato un tot di euri), mi ci sono messo. E sono pure partito con le migliori intenzioni, quelle di una persona motivata, che trova il momento migliore - necessità di calma e relax mentale, voglia di "cultura" e non di "delirio", etc etc - che si fa forte del suo passato di libraio (cioè, di com
...more
Erincolleen
A novel every novel lover needs to read.

The genius of this book lies in the structure. A Novel Bookstore starts out with a bang as we witness several mysterious crimes perpetrated against an even more mysterious cast of charaters. The first third or so reads like the run-of-the-mill thrillers our heroes eschew, with anonymous menacing thugs and hints of a secret society or conspiracy peeking out from behind the curtain.

The action slows down considerably, however, in the remainder of the novel,
...more
John
Broke genius literateur Ivan and exquisitely beautiful and rich heiress Francesca decide to open a bookshop in Paris that will go completely against the grain of a French literary scene dominated by the Gallic corporate equivalents of Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Called Au Bon Roman (the original and much better French title of this book; approx. "The Good Novel"), this store has a stock that eschews all the fifteen-minutes-in-the-limelight bestsellers du jour, focusing instead entirely on nov ...more
Cascata Nerina
Jan 03, 2011 Cascata Nerina rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Book Lovers
Recommended to Cascata by: Mom saw it and showed me the title while in D.C.
This book is not light reading. However, it is one of the best books I've read in a long time. Especially outside of genre novels (which I read a lot of). The plot is twisty and complicated with several threads moving together. Many of which do not resolve until the end. Another thing that makes it hard to read is that it is written in first person, but the narrator is never directly identified and my only be deduced very near the end of the book.

During my reading of this book I compared it to
...more
Marta Traverso
Cosa distingue un buon romanzo da un cattivo romanzo? Chi decide cosa è letteratura e cosa accozzaglia di parole messe insieme?

La libreria del buon romanzo parte come un classico giallo: misteriose aggressioni, un "comitato" dalla dubbia identità, un uomo e una donna che decidono di sporgere denuncia. Poche pagine, e la storia si trasforma in filosofia, in riflessione, in meditazione.

Un uomo e una donna creano la libreria dei loro sogni. Poetico, non è vero? Lo pensavo anche io: Bret Easton Elli
...more
Loida
To think, a novel that inspires you to read other novels!

Book lovers will enjoy reading this novel; reading A Novel Bookstore re-kindled my voracious love of a good story.

This story within a story within a story trusts the reader to make their own intellectual connections rather than blatantly outlining them for readers -- those needing Hollywood or Fairy-Take endings may not enjoy this novel

The various plots (tragic love, the struggle of the creative process, coming-of-age) and emotions (greed
...more
Djinnjer
Nov 02, 2010 Djinnjer rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: booksellers
A beautifully written book by an author who clearly loves words, literature and bookstores. One of those books that I wanted to quote incessantly at people. One of those books that made me want to read every book mentioned within it.

Why not five stars?

Well, that's all tied up with the ending. So, spoilers ahead.

I feel as though I ought to be bothered that the mystery hook which lured me into the novel is solved but unresolved, or perhaps resolved but unsolved. Though to tell the truth, by the ti
...more
Kristina
Excellent. Incredibly well read..., surprising ending, delicate language all through... Pick up this book!
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She was first a journalist in the French newspaper Le Quotidien de Paris and then at the French public radio France Culture. Most of her novels have been published by the French publishing house Gallimard.
More about Laurence Cossé...
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“Literature is a source of pleasure, he said, it is one of the rare inexhaustible joys in life, but it's not only that. It must not be disassociated from reality. Everything is there. That is why I never use the word fiction. Every subtlety in life is material for a book. He insisted on the fact. Have you noticed, he'd say, that I'm talking about novels? Novels don't contain only exceptional situations, life or death choices, or major ordeals; there are also everyday difficulties, temptations, ordinary disappointments; and, in response, every human attitude, every type of behavior, from the finest to the most wretched. There are books where, as you read, you wonder: What would I have done? It's a question you have to ask yourself. Listen carefully: it is a way to learn to live. There are grown-ups who would say no, that literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature performs, instructs, it prepares you for life.” 18 likes
“We have no time to waste on insignificant books, hollow books, books that are there to please...

We want books that cost their authors a great deal, books where you can feel the years of work, the backache, the writer's block, the author's panic at the thought that he might be lost: his discouragement, his courage, his anguish, his stubbornness, the risk of failure that he has taken.”
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