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Village Books

(Village Books #1)

3.38  ·  Rating details ·  1,898 ratings  ·  240 reviews
Village Books is a local institution…which is good, because most of the staff probably belong in one.

There’s the manager, Dante Andolini, who’s hiding more than just his hypochondria from his overbearing mother…Sebastian Donleavy, whose hedonistic lifestyle is two rails short of being on the rails…Aldous Swinghammer, whose philosophical eccentricities have not been the big
Kindle Edition, 296 pages
Published March 28th 2012 (first published March 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.38  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,898 ratings  ·  240 reviews

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Richard Derus
Jul 30, 2014 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5* of five

The Publisher Says: Village Books is a local institution…which is good, because most of the staff probably belong in one.

There’s the manager, Dante Andolini, who’s hiding more than just his hypochondria from his overbearing mother…Sebastian Donleavy, whose hedonistic lifestyle is two rails short of being on the rails…Aldous Swinghammer, whose philosophical eccentricities have not been the biggest hit with the ladies…Ebeneezer Chipping, whose crotchety exterior hides a burning
Mar 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
I'm giving it two stars because I feel it is wrong giving one star to a book I didn't finish. I quit at 85%.

It started okay but then I wanted something to happen. Nothing happened. The plot was almost non-existent. I could not click one more percent.
More like 4.5 stars. I am always worried when I read books told in the First Person because sometimes the voice is not clear & also becomes a bit of a turn off. And sometimes, it takes a while to fall into the story if it's told by a narrator that doesn't have an engaging tone. None of that was the case for me while I read this book. I really liked the narrator & thought he was quite witty. The story was told colorfully & I felt a connection with the characters he related in the telling. I must ...more
Mar 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 13-reads, gen-fiction
This had the makings of a good book -- a pretty good plot, fairly good characters, etc. But it was a miserable failure. I got it free and got exactly what I paid for -- nada, niente, zilch, zero.

A novel about a non-chain bookstore in Toronto and its zany staff could have been a good book. But the author's filthy mind and depressing sexual obsession completely turned me off.

I know I'm more prudish than many people when it comes to literature, but I could not in good conscience recommend this to a
Hannah Fenner
May 09, 2018 rated it it was ok
I gave this a low rating as I didn't feel the story went anywhere. It was an easy read but very unfulfilling. ...more
Aunty Janet
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
''Village Books is a local institution...which is good, because most of the staff probably belong in one.

The manager's addiction to WebMD has turned him into a closeted hypochondriac. The cashier's husband may have just gone AWOL with a small arsenal of fragmentary explosive devices. The fiction lead is buying urine on the black market. Trying to hold it all together is the store's long-suffering assistant manager, who is spinning his wheels in retail while he waits for something better to come
Lisa *OwlBeSatReading*
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really funny in places!

I thoroughly enjoyed this book where everything is based in and around a Canadian bookstore. Some truly witty and dry characters make this a book lovers perfect read. Authors writing style was easy to follow, overall, a really entertaining story.
Sep 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was looking for a nice, easy, enjoyable read and this really fit the bill. I liked all the quirky characters and the bookshop setting. The storyline was good, but the characters made it for me.
Terry Parrish
Feb 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I especially loved that it was mostly set in a Bookstore. Have to say there were some really wacky people in this book. I think my favorite characters were the germophobic cashier and the owner. There were not any that you could not like. I personally think thats what makes it so good. No evil involved. I would also recommend this book to everyone over the age of 18, for those younger there's a few things they don't need to read. Overall, I gave this book 5 stars because you h ...more
Mar 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Many thanks to the author, Craig McLay, for making Village Books available for download on

This is a surprisingly good read. The story did not grab my attention like other books have, though I was kept interested to the very last page. The author has an amazing writing style and I was pulled into the daily lives of a group of people that work at "Village Books".

The best way I can explain myself is with this sentence: "Reading Village Books is like watching a good movie in my mind". I
Feb 11, 2013 rated it it was ok
It was okay. It may have not been my style, which is understandable, but in the seven minutes I have to write this, I have to say: It wasn't my favorite. It had a rather unsatisfying ending to it all, and the characters kind of just... got everything they wanted. The last couple of chapters were a rush to conclude the plot after the entire book plodded along. Again, maybe it wasn't my style, but I found it a rather unsatisfying read. ...more
May 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
(After just starting). Decent. Entertaining in that "beach read" kind of way. And I've laughed out loud a few times!

(Upon completion). Ok. It was a pretty boring plot with an over the top "happy" ending of fairly shallow characters. But I think this author isn't so awful that I would say they never write a book again....just keep trying. I did think it started out well. Read this on a beach if you will.

Dec 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Recommended to Denise by: 281
Light, frothy read with odd, quirky characters. Loved that it was set in an indy bookstore, but its plot was rather predictable. A free kindle read and I did enjoy it.
Kathy Davie
Sep 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A standalone novel about life in an independent bookstore in Toronto.

I can see why, in 2012, Village Books won the eFestival of Words award for Best Literary Fiction.

My Take
McLay is intelligent with a sense of humor. I particularly enjoyed XX's comment to the woman attempting to return a $4 used out-of-print book for which she had no proof of having purchased it from Village Books.

Even though this was mostly one of those day-in-the-life sort of fictional stories (I thought it would be a mystery
Oct 21, 2017 rated it did not like it
Shelves: gave-up, ebook, dnf
I gave up around the 40% mark. It felt like the plot wasn't going anywhere (was there a plot? I couldn't tell since what I thought was the plot seemed to solve itself in the first third of the book) and the conversations between the characters were just long-winded babble. They went on for far too long and just like with the plot, they didn't seem to go anywhere. ...more
Mar 07, 2017 marked it as unfinished
Shelves: kindle-free
giving up. have no interest in any characters. no idea what story is supposed to be. don't care for the writing and keep wanting to skip ridiculous babble, so might as well give up ...more
Mar 11, 2013 rated it really liked it
'Village Books is a comfortable place where I can hide out from the world for a while. Which is exactly what a good book is supposed to be. I suppose the reason I have so much trouble picking a favourite [book] is because I'm in no hurry to come out of hiding.'

This novel pleasantly surprised me! There isn't a strict plot, rather it follows the lives of a rather eclectic bunch of employees at Village Books, an independent bookshop in Canada. It is written in first person, so that character takes
May 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: kindle-books
After reading a few reviews for this book I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it because quite a few of them were not exactly favorable. Now I know why.

Village Books is a more boring (and book centric instead of music centric) version of the 1995 movie Empire Records. (I'm not sure how many people will understand the reference but I just thought I'd put it out there). Village Books is about a crazy crew of bookstore workers (some in managerial positions, some part time, some who the reader barely
Feb 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: ebooks
I liked the setting of a small independent bookstore struggling to survive faced with competition from giant chain stores, online shopping, and e-readers. The main character was likable. But some of the other characters were not just eccentric or quirky - they were fairly unbelievable. It became difficult to accept that an employer would continue to put up with so many employees who didn't show up for their shifts, didn't do their jobs properly, and were not at all customer friendly. Surely ther ...more
Jan 29, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: e-books
I have an entirely impractical dream of owning a small, independent bookstore. That's why Village Books intrigued me. It soon convinced me that I'd better hang on to my day job. McLay does a fine job of populating his story with colorful characters, each of which has at least one notable eccentricity. The narrative voice is witty and ruthlessly skewers everything from the quintessential evil corporate conglomerate to midlist authors at book signings. (No, I have never done a book signing, becaus ...more
Mar 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
I found that I really enjoyed reading Village Books. McLay introduced a cast of colorful characters who worked together at a bookstore, and the reader has no idea what these characters would do next. Each character is developed nicely and has a unique personality of their own. The narrator is a manager at the bookstore who finds love at the bookstore with a newly hired manager. I enjoyed the bookstore setting, the customers the characters had to deal with, and the surprises that happened along t ...more
Mar 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Enjoyed the characters and data on the inner workings of an independent bookstore. Took me a while to realize the setting was Canada, but that was okay.

The story was a little glib. Bookstore assistant manager--a retiring, perceptive guy--meets a would-be actress and falls hard. Since the storyline wasn't really their romance, I guess the lack of surprises in their relationship didn't really matter.

I'm slow, so it took me a while to realize this was a replay of small bookstore eaten up by big boo
Aug 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a fun read. It was a free download from Amazon for my Kindle Often these ebooks are just okay, but I really enjoyed this one. The author has quite a wit and writes in a very contemporary style.

Village Books is a local bookstore in Canada with a strange mix of employees. It's told in the first person by the store's manager. He's been working there for three years without much direction in life, but things are about to change. There's a fair amount of friendly blue language bantered about
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I did not read it in a day, I started about the 5th or 6th of March. It was an enjoyable read until about haldf way through, the use of the F*** word increased as did the obsession with talking about sex. Other than that I really liked the characters and their odd differences. You trily felt like you knew them and rooted for their lives. Takes a while to get into it.
Aug 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
I downloaded this book because it was free without reading a description. I clicked on it to read it and was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it. As I read I really started to care what happened to the characters. The narrator was funny and someone I could easily relate to. Definitely a fun read!
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the banter between characters. I only have one complaint about the book. I'm fairly intelligent and well read but the author seemed to write like a Dennis Miller storyteller. All of the movie and book name drops and obscure authors and occasionally the dialogue just annoyed me. ...more
Nov 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult, 2016
I enjoyed reading this book because it was funny to follow such an average guy with an average job. He was so honest and easy going. Leah's character was a bit off and a bit too manly to be believable. I loved how all of the characters developed throughout the whole novel. ...more
Kerry Stewart
Mar 18, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2013-read
Had the making of a good book but just never went anywhere...I was excited thinking that this would be a cozy little story about a bookstore but it just never seemed to develop a story line.
Kenya Starflight
Jun 25, 2018 rated it liked it
As a book lover, I'm always a sucker for a book about a bookstore. And books about weird and eccentric co-workers in general are usually good for a chuckle -- after all, anyone who's worked in retail or any other group setting will testify that their fellow co-workers are a bunch of nuts to varying degrees. So "Village Books" seemed right up my alley, and I figured it'd be good for at least a few chuckles. And it was a good laugh... but it has problems with its pacing and characterization, and t ...more
Nov 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
For about the first quarter of this book I kept wondering when the sci-fi element or the supernatural element was going to make an appearance. After all, the previous books I have read by Mr McLay would seem to suggest that these are his milieu. Then I realised, this is a different sort of book - this is a book about life. So three books by one author and all in different genres - go on, you can tell us Craig McLay is the pseudonym for a writing group and each of these books has been written by ...more
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