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A Novel Bookstore

3.50  ·  Rating details ·  3,702 ratings  ·  726 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 rein. Tucked away in a corner of Pari ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 31st 2010 by Europa Editions (first published 2009)
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 ·  3,702 ratings  ·  726 reviews

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Aug 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Glenn Russell

There you are, a booklover in Paris, walking the streets on a crisp day in autumn. To your delight, you've read there's a new bookstore recently opened, one specializing in fine literary novels from around the world. You know the address and you look forward to an enjoyable visit to The Good Novel.

For avid readers of excellent literature, such a bookstore would be a dream come true. If you are nodding your head in agreement, then A Novel Bookstore is for you. Really for you. Laurence Cossé's nov
Jul 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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 Derus
Oct 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Real Rating: 4.9* of five

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 b
Connie G
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
"A Novel Bookstore" is a beautiful tribute to fine literature. Bookseller Ivan and heiress Francesca open a bookstore in Paris that sells only good literature chosen by a secret committee of eight novelists. The store with its high quality books and comfy couches is very successful at first. But then the bookstore comes under attack online and in other media by what seems to be an organized group determined to stop a new trend quickly. Is it a publisher, a writer, or a prize judge whose books ha ...more
Jun 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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?
Dec 14, 2010 rated it it was ok
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.
Elizabeth La Lettrice
Sep 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Elizabeth La Lettrice by: Elizabeth
"He is eager to deliver his letters rogatory, and is somewhat excited: a rather unusual matter, just imagine, the victim is literature."

I am not sure how best to describe how much I loved this book. It is impossible not to love. If you are a lover of literature, bookstores, and well.. all things literary, then this is definitely the book for you. I was so pleased to see how contemporary it was. At times, the author/narrator took moments to reflect on the "greater" issues going on in the world. T
Jan 02, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Mar 05, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Julie Christine
Oct 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Julie Christine 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
Dec 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Dec 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Aug 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Laurence Cosse's beautiful, bookish A Novel Bookstore proved the perfect tome to take on holiday to France. It has been wonderfully translated by Alison Anderson, and reads so fluidly. Cosse ties together different genres seamlessly, and there are so many interesting threads of story which run through the novel in consequence. The idea behind A Novel Bookstore is simple yet clever, and surely any bookworm's dream. I ended up adding an awful lot of new tomes to my TBR whilst reading. The only thi ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
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
Apr 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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 peo
Steffi ~mereadingbooks~
Oct 06, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Steffi ~mereadingbooks~ by: Elizabeth
It took me some time to make up my mind about this book. The reason for this is that it triggered two different reactions in me. I couldn’t decide how to feel about the concept of the bookstore portrayed in the story. On the one hand this is a story about the love for reading and literature and I certainly felt a connection to the characters. I also couldn’t help but think: “What a bunch of snobs!” Even though my overall feeling while reading was a rather warm and fuzzy one, this sentence went t ...more
Apr 24, 2011 rated it liked it
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 novels ...more
Nov 01, 2010 rated it liked it
If nothing else, perhaps we should relegate our emphasis here, this novel engendered an interest in the untranslated canon of contemporary French letters. I harbor considerable doubts whether that was an intention of the translator/publisher. That said, I'm sure many pondered: why isn't this or that author translated into English? ...more
Cascata Nerina
Jan 02, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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.
Apr 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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,
Nov 04, 2010 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
Jan 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Much of this book was an enjoyable read, but it was really about twice as long as it should have been to tell its story of two people pooling resources to open a really fine bookstore of only "good books." It is indeed a "hymn to fine literature" and periodical lists of books I'd never heard of were good for awareness. Unfortunately, most of them were French, and many are not translated. The mystery of those behind the press campaign against The Good Novel store and the assaults on committee mem ...more
Jul 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book sat on my shelf for a few years. I eyed it from time to time but made a commitment to read it this summer. Cosse uses the opening a The Good Novel bookstore to expose people’s envy and jealousy and their desire to destroy what is good.
“Have you seen this? Let them talk. There are always people who, the moment they see a rose that has just bloomed, feel like crushing it into a million pieces.”
“We might have expected this. Good old lefty criticism is alive and well. Anything that is not
A charming, pleasant, unhurried book about a project affirming niche, tasteful books, which was conceived by a group of quirky artistes. In short, in every way a book fitting to the repute of its location of Paris.
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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.

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