Graphic Novel Review -- The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

What would you sacrifice to read the perfect book, forever?

What is heaven to you? What would you sacrifice to engage in one earthly passion for all of eternity?

The concept of heaven is different for each of us.

For some, heaven is

  • Sitting in Starbucks and sipping a never-ending Pumpkin Spice Latte
  • Watching sports - think ESPN for eternity
  • Cuddling with puppies and kittens
  • Reading - ME!

  • For the woman in The Night Bookmobile, her life was reading.

    "Here was consolation. I wiped my nose on the back of my hand and surveyed the shelves. In the same way that perfume captures the essence of a flower, these shelves of books were a distillation of my life."

    The Night Bookmobile
    Audrey Niffenegger
    Publisher:Harry N. Abrams
    Publication Date: September 1, 2010
    Number of Pages: 40 pages
    Genres: Graphic Novels, Mystery, Literary

    Audrey Niffenegger, the New York Times bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, has crafted her first graphic novel after the success of her two critically acclaimed “novels-in-pictures.” First serialized as a weekly column in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a wistful woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing library on wheels that contains every book she has ever read. Seeing her history and most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile. But her search turns into an obsession, as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and memories.

    The Night Bookmobile is a haunting tale of both transcendence and the passion for books, and features the evocative full-color pen-and-ink work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

    Thoughts on The Night Bookmobile

    This graphic novel, set in Chicago and written The New York Times bestselling author of The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, brought me to tears as the story came to its end. See, I understand what is like to succumb to the power of the word. Sadly, though not embarrassingly so, reading has invoked an imbalance between my inner world and the one everyone else sees. Yet, I am not sure I would follow in Alexandra's steps.

    Dark and melancholic, the tale is of how Alexandra finds a battered Winnebago at 4:00am, after an argument with her boyfriend. What she finds is nothing short of amazing - the bookshelves contained all the books she has read.

    As with most, when you find something that touches a part of soul, you seek it out again. To her dismay, the library does not appear until much later. Filled with intense desire to work with the librarian, she makes a fate-altering decision.

    "I drank my tea and explored the farthest recesses of my collection. Each spine was an encapsulated memory, each book represented hours, days of pleasure, of immersion in words."

    The art is tasteful, though no appealing to my eye. Being a lover of renaissance art work, I longed for more detail. Yet, in spite of the art work, the layout was simplistic and allowed me to focus on the story and its meaning.

    The written word in indeed powerful, as the solitude and unbridled obsession. Alexandra, clearly obsessed with reading, seriously contemplated all that she has given up for reading. If I do have any regrets, it would be the time I have spent trying to organize my thoughts in to eloquently crafted reviews. Unlike Alexandra, I don't want to live my eternity reading and writing fancy reviews... I read to learn and prevent unnecessary mistakes in life, albeit from fictional stories that are quite likely to happen (well...some anyway.) Further, I write reviews mainly for myself. It is a creative outlet and I can play around with words...(Sorry...I don't do it for authors or other readers. Sure, they benefit. But, I do it for myself.)

    I have not read the author's other works. But, I think I might. I have learned a few valuable things about myself and will be making some changes.

    -The Literary Apothecary


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