In my previous life as an elementary school teacher and reading specialist, one of my professional principles was the importance of reaching students where they were. To hook them somehow, by attaching what they were interested in to what we were doing in class. Spiders. Trains. Kittens. Dragons. Whatever. I also knew that if they disliked reading, I just hadn’t found the right book. Yet.
I still believe that everyone ought to be reading and recent research seems to suggest that reading books prolongs our lives. Readers live longer! It also makes us happier and more empathetic, not to mention giving us somewhere to go when we’re stuck where we are.
With that in mind, I find books about books doubly intriguing. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Little Paris Book Shop are examples. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald is the latest in this sub-genre, and while charming, it didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Perhaps because it was translated from the original Swedish? Whatever its imperfections, it was good enough to keep me reading to see that the small cast of characters achieved their own happy endings.
Summary: Amy is elderly and lives in tiny Broken Wheel, Iowa. Bookworm Sara is younger and works at a bookshop in Sweden. They become pen pals in the snail mail sense. When Sara travels to Iowa to visit Amy, she is unexpectedly thrown into the center of small town life. She connects with the somewhat reluctant residents of Broken Wheel over books. She finds herself, and because it’s a novel, she finds love.
Like me, Sara believes that there is a book out there for everyone. Readers will probably appreciate the list of books and authors mentioned in the book that the author has included added at the end. She’s also given us the unique book classifications that Sara uses to help readers decide what to read: “Sex, Violence, and Weapons,” “Short but Sweet,” “For Friday Nights and Lazy Sundays,” “Unhappy Endings,” and “Happy Endings When You Need Them.”
Sara made it her mission to connect people with just the right book. Not a bad reason to read this book, if you ask me.
Are there other books about books that you’ve enjoyed? Kindly share in the comments.
4 thoughts on “Book Report: Do you like books about books?”
I looooove loooove loooove reading too, but it’s hard and challenging for me to inspire someone who refuses to read to pick up that love as well. I feel it has to come from within to make it a happy journey.
You can’t force it. I tried to model my love of reading and spark it within my students.
On your recommendation, Lorie, I just finished The Little Paris Bookshop, which enthralled me from beginning to end, and now I’ll add The Storied Life of A.J. Friky and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend to my ever-lengthening list of must reads. I also want to tell you that your first paragraph explains the magic I saw at work in your classroom every time I entered it.
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I too LOVED Little Paris Bookshop. (Mrs. Pence did not, however.) And about my teaching, thank you! It’s what I aspired to, but wasn’t always successful. I remember telling parents one that I considered myself more of an AFFECTIVE teacher than an EFFFECTIVE one. I felt that I needed students to like what we were doing (and trust that it had value) to keep them engaged and growing.
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