A Novel Bookstore

A Novel Bookstore


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A Novel Bookstore 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I assume this is meant to be a satire, and as such it is funny in parts. The problem is, for a book that is satirizing good literature, it's not well written. Perhaps some of the problem lies with the translation, but the plot is heavy-handed and clumsy, which certainly is not the translator's responsibility.
2manybooks2littletime More than 1 year ago
If you can get past the long sentences, and I do mean long (sentence on page 119 is 109 words long with 9 commas) and the extremely weird writing in some places, the book isn't all that bad. It is a good story and the characters are interesting enough but the writing presents a hurdle that is tough to overcome. I think the author took herself too seriously and tried to be TOO LITERARY. I almost put this book down several times but kept reading because I hate to give up on any book. I bought it because it was one of the books recommended by B&N.
missyjoonMK More than 1 year ago
Smart and compelling, I fell in love with Ivan and Francesca before I knew it. It ranks right up there with The Elegance of A Hedgehog. This book is not for every reader . . . but it is well written and mysterious, so one must be a patient reader!
booksinthebelfry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An appealing conceit -- two misfit souls, out of step with contemporary literary culture, plan and open their ideal bookstore in Paris and are then forced to deal with a sinisterly orchestrated backlash against their "elitist" approach -- but tediously executed (and that's coming from me, a former bookseller who can spend hours happily discussing fixtures and window displays). The story of the inevitable unrequited romance that accompanies the main plot is so elegantly understated and muted that its sad outcome came as a bit of a shock. Equally unsatisfying was the resolution of various other plot strands. Whether you choose to read it as a romance, a mystery, or a literary broadside (all directions in which it seems to head at various points), the overcomplication of this novel works against what appears to have been the simplicity of its conception.
dono421846 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I especially enjoyed the details -- which other reviewers found distracting -- about the management of the bookstore. In such minutia one discovers the choices that must be made to create such an outlet, and thus the opportunities that arise for a bookstore to be as expressive of one's inner life as writing a book can be for an author. In this sense the bookstore is not too different from one's library. Choices must be made, and through those decisions we reveal what we judge to be important. I do wish Cosse had done a better job resolving some of the narrative loose ends.
Bookish59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A list of Cosse's favorite writers and books disguised as a novel.
JolleyG on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The world of publishing today seems to put profit and saleability above and beyond a book's true worth in terms of promoting a deeper experience for the reader. This book explores the possibility of creating a bookstore that can survive by selling only what is good, as determined by a panel of established authors who also only write good literature. Is this truly possible in today's world. Read the book and find out. I would rate this book higher than I do, but at times the author really gets bogged down in too much detail about the operation of the bookstore, and that gets a little boring.
AuntieClio on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Picked up on a whim in a brick and mortar bookstore, based solely on the title and the cover artwork, I was thoroughly charmed by A Novel Bookstore. It¿s found a permanent place on my ¿favorites¿ booklist.While a love story about fine literature and books, it¿s also a mystery and, in its own understated way, a love story. The Great Novel bookstore is conceived by two literature (and book) lovers. Francesca has the wealth to launch such an enterprise, Van has the knowledge to buy and sell the books. Their concept is simple; establish an anonymous committee of eight great authors who select the stock to be sold at The Great Novel.But intolerance, and ignorance, raise their ugly heads. Attempts are made on several of the committee members¿ lives, the internet buzzes with irrational critiques and commentary, the French media gets involved. It gets messy, and a bit complicated, as all good plots do. Tragedy occurs and The Great Novel is left to shake itself off and reinvent itself. The overriding question here is, ¿Who cares what you read and where you buy it?¿ If you can¿t find your favorite mainstream novel in one store, go down the road (or onto the internet) and find it there.This bookstore is a place I wish really existed. At the end of the book, I wanted to put my things in storage, and go to Paris to find the store, befriend the owners and make The Great Novel my hangout. Rarely do books have that kind of emotional impact on me. A Novel Bookstore is thoroughly engaging, charming and entrancing.
Mooose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you've been looking for a book to expand your reading lists, and who doesn't need to add 3 pages of titles/authors to their TBR list?, then read this book. Although it isn't a book of lists titles and authors are mentioned aplenty. It's about a bookstore which is filled only with books the owners and their committee think should be read. Others call it elitist and can't seem to grasp that they can choose to not enter this particular store. Drama ensues. Love the description of the store and their attitudes towards books, reading and readers.
cedartree on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the language but didn't find it as sublime as corner of the veil.
ValNewHope on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Clever concept about opening a bookstore in Paris that carries only "good" novels. A secret committee is formed to select the titles, and intrigue follows as several of these authors, the owners, and the store itself become targets of forces opposed to the perceived elitism of the shop.It was an engaging read, and felt true to the French culture. I felt that it could have been a bit shorter - the middle section dragged a bit, and there were lots of passages listing titles and authors which were probably more relevant to the French audience of the original novel than to readers of the translation. The resolution of the mystery was somewhat disappointing, but it is a worthwhile read.
vlcraven on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A fun little mystery/fantasy for bibliophiles. I say fantasy because the independent bookstore in the novel is wildly successful (this is not a plot spoiler--it's on the jacket copy), which is so unrealistic as to be laughable. Still, it's great fun.
TadAD on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The publicity quotes on the back of this thoroughly enjoyable novel will so mislead."a thriller, a romance, and a fairytale," says Le Figaro. "commentary on the world of contemporary publishing," cries La Croix. "An Agatha Christie-style mystery bolstered by a love story," chimes in Madame Figaro. With the possible exception of "fairytale," all these miss the point. Is there a mystery? Well, yes, but it's a plot vehicle rather than the plot and (quite frankly) never does get resolved all that satisfactorily...certainly not to the standards of M. Poirot or Miss Marple. Is there a romance? Yes, more than one, in fact, and quite well done...but these are really minor threads rounding out the characters rather than defining them. Commentary?...hmm, that's a bit like saying Goodbye, Mr. Chips is a commentary on British public boarding schools—it's there, you can form opinions, but it's not the point.The essence of this story is a paean to the love of reading good books. Ivan and Francesca decide to open a book store, The Good Novel, where you won't find Twilight, anything by Tom Clancy, nor the latest million-selling chick lit. Instead you'll find only great novels, chosen for them by an anonymous panel of some of the best living authors, without regard to publication dates, best seller lists, literary prizes or any criterion beyond the opinion that it is great literature. And therein hangs the tale. The publishers who see 99% of their books rejected and the authors who realize none of their books are represented on the shelves are not happy and a campaign against the store is begun. There is something almost Ayn Rand-ish (without the strong sense of elitism!) about the whole thing except that the reader can discern that it is bruised egos and wallets firing the opposition, not mediocrity.At the beginning, I said that "fairytale" might not quite miss the mark. When I think about the amazing success of the store or about the severity of the reaction, there is more than a bit unreal about it all. However, I don't think it detracts unless you go in looking for a mystery or a commentary. Instead, look for colorful and lovable characters, the author's deep and obvious love for reading, and opportunities to think about a "literary heritage, which is being threatened by forgetfulness and indifference."I'm not sure if A Novel Bookstore would actually make it onto The Good Novel's shelves but I think it would be hard to read this book and not walk away a bit excited and eager for your next good novel.
sarah-e on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A Novel Bookstore is not a traditional mystery, or love story, or really quite like anything I've read. The story mixes elements of mystery, romance, and tragedy - the characters are quite important - but the star of this story is the setting. An ideal bookstore, with handpicked selections guaranteed to please the reader. The promise of the books themselves is almost magical: You can't know who picked the books to be on the shelves, but trust us - we, and they, are just like you - we know you'll like any book you pick up in this store. I wanted to go there. I Google Mapped where the bookstore on the rue Dupuytren, Paris would be waiting for me; a centuries-old building on a quiet street. Who would want to destroy such a place? And why? And what must the lives be like of the people who created it? Many personal tragedies and satisfactions, along with what must be the most interesting history of the most interesting bookstore in France are all yours in this book.
labfs39 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Do you stand reading in bookstores until you realize you are now late, and the book is half done? Do you find yourself scanning friends' bookshelves surreptitiously, while nodding at small talk? Do you think some books are better than others? If so, you will probably enjoy this book as much as I did. However, if you think there is no such thing as a "great book" or are a publisher or mega-chain bookstore owner, you probably won't.Although this book contains within it a mystery, a couple of love stories, and a bit of otherworldly Chagallishness, mostly it is about people who love books. The catch is that these people don't love just any books, they love good books. Often today's culture celebrates diversity by saying everything is equally good. The consumer should decide for his or her self. Differences in quality or ability are minimized, hidden, or ignored for fear of the e-word: elitism.A Novel Bookstore explores this concept in the world of book publishing, selling, and reviewing. Fed up with the mediocrity and sameness of the mega-bookstores, and even many smaller ones, Ivan and Francesca decide to open the ideal bookstore: one which carries only ¿good¿ novels. We are led through their entire planning process. Novels or all fiction? Just classics or also newly released? Only new copies or also used? And above all, who will decide? The bookstore opens with a flourish and attracts both serious readers and the attention of those who stand to lose if some books are deemed better than others.I found the beginning of the book delightful: a celebration of literature wrapped in a fun mystery-love story. But somewhere in the last third, I began to feel as though the author had lost her way. A narrative voice appears from nowhere and is a distraction, the mystery comes bogged down and is never resolved, and the theme of discernment in literature turns to an inditement of large publishers, booksellers, critics, and book prize judges in general. But despite a less than optimal ending, I found the book fun to read and a reminder that it is okay to say, ¿This is a good book, and this one is not.¿
alana_leigh on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Fans of quality literature and--perhaps more particularly--quality bookstores will undoubtedly be enchanted by Laurence Cossé's A Novel Bookstore. Within its pages, Cossé has created her (and many others') ideal bookstore, entwining its creation with a strange mystery, made more mysterious by the intricate workings of life, love, and what goes in to selecting great novels.The story opens upon confusing and strange circumstances, where individuals connected in some as-yet-unknown-to-the-reader way have suffered minor attacks upon their persons. The aim appears to have been not to take their lives, but to shatter a piece of what defines them. Eventually, we find our way to the more linear understanding of the novel: a rather unique bookstore sells only good novels and a secret committee of selectors (so secret that even they do not know the other members on the committee) is responsible for submitting titles that comprise the stock. With extensive advertising efforts, the bookstore appears to be quite a success -- until a series of vicious attacks in print, online, and finally on the supposedly-secret committee members shows that clearly not everyone is thrilled with a bookstore that seems to define "good" novels. Ivan "Van" Georg is a man who does not appear to have made all that much of his life, but he does know good literature... and those who value literature are drawn to him, appreciating his recommendations and the ability to speak with a kindred spirit. After striking up some conversations with a wealthy customer, Francesca Aldo-Valbelli, Van is suddenly enlisted to assist her on an endeavor to open "The Good Novel," a Parisian bookstore where only good novels will be sold. Together, Francesca and Van go about laying plans for the dream bookstore -- lush, elegant and selective, while still fostering a strong sense of community at the store and online. Francesca and Van select eight modern writers as secret committee members and each person is charged with writing down a list of 600 novels. Each year, they will be asked to submit additional titles so that new books might also have a shot at entering the store's stock. These will be the only titles stocked at The Good Novel; though in return, the secret committee members are sworn to silence regarding their involvement.Francesca goes above and beyond in advertising for the bookstore and immediately it seems to be a hit. Then the grumblings come, which lead to greater issues. Opinion pieces in newspapers asking what right anyone has to exclude certain works from a store. Customers ordering books that the Good Novel does not stock, then failing to pick up the order so the bookstore has to eat the cost. Counter-ads from other bookstores that insist they have books for everyone, not just the elite. Questions buzzing about just who is funding this endeavor. It's hard enough to run a bookstore in the current climate without such bad press (though this buzz doesn't necessarily hurt the sales at the bookstore at first), but then the attacks upon the secret committee members happen. Van and Francesca decide that it's time to come clean with the committee list, go to the police, and recount the whole story. Mixed in to the history of the bookstore (and, indeed, perhaps creating the more emotional, meatier heart of the novel) are the secret histories of Francesca and Van... Francesca cherishing deep grief and hopeless love; Van stumbling in life and passionate about a girl he barely knows. Readers intrigued thus far should hold firm to that interest, for the beginning is a bit dense. I felt a bit daunted by the sudden onslaught of events, French names, and multitude of characters. I even started writing down a character list -- after all, when the authors go by code names to submit their selections and Cossé feels free to refer to them by either name (and they're all vaguely Frenchy), it can get confusing. About fifty pages in, I finally felt like I had m
RandyMetcalfe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ivan and Francesca have a dream. They believe in literature, truly great literature, and want to set up a bookstore that caters solely to that end: The Good Novel bookstore. No transient fiction, no genre junk, no latest must-reads as dictated by crass publishers and marketeers. Just good novels, as selected by a secret committee of experts. Who could object to that? It turns out a great many people, virulently and eventually violently. But is it a single angry individual or a co-ordinated group behind the attacks? And is the real target the bookstore itself, the individuals behind it, or the idea of some novels being better than others? Laurence Cossé¿s novel may be an honest attempt to write a novel that might get selected for The Good Novel bookstore. Or it may be simply a platform for hectoring the tainted publishing world (but hasn¿t that been done repeatedly since the 18th century?). It is certainly an opportunity to orate on the virtues of great literature. And underlying it all is a curious exploration of idealistic love (Francesca for Ivan; Ivan for Anis; all of the protagonists for great literature). The story of The Good Novel bookstore is related through a nested frame, with discordant intrusions by the narrator. It is so uneven that you cannot help but be suspicious of the translation. And the amorous pangs of the diffident main characters are risible. It is all just a bit sad. You may be enticed by the idea of The Good Novel bookstore, but this book will not be on its shelves.
esquetee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Found this on my public library's new book shelf and remembered reading about it in the GoodReads newsletter. Had to stop after about 100 pages -- too pretentious, affected, and silly-but-taking-itself-seriously. Perhaps something was lost in the translation, as they say. I really *wanted* to like it. It's a book about books and booklovers! How could it go so wrong? Oh, but it does. Yes, indeed, it does. The dialogues are stiff, cold, and completely unconvincing. The characters are flat. They story is apparently missing in action. Sadly, I un-recommend the book.
CarolynSchroeder on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a difficult book to review, I believe, because it sets out to be many things and on some levels it fails and on others it succeeds. At its core, the story is simply about the opening of a quality bookstore wherein a committee chooses only "good novels" for the stock. This irritates some people, infuriates others and the majority of Parisians found it was just what the future of literature needed. So it was this part I loved the most, how they chose the books, who chose them and what went into the opening and running of the store ~ and then the various wildly divergent reactions to the store. But there is also a mystery of sorts and a few love stories. Those, I felt, were the weakest part of the book. The ending is also just really bad, basically fizzled out; but I cannot say much without spoiling how it plays out. In any event, there are breathtaking and beautiful passages about reading, love of literature/novels and a few about love and friendship. For that and the fable-esque part of the store itself, it was very much worth the read. I think it is just a traditional case of an author trying to take on too many themes in one smallish novel. I do recommend it though, especially for those with a passion of the "good novel."
richardderus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Book Report: Well, okay, see, this is a French novel, and it's really, really hard for a Murrikin like me to disentangle what French novels are about, like what the author set out to do, because the French don't really have the same rules we Murrikins do for novel-writing. It seems to be about two people, a rich, smart woman and a poor, smart man, who sorta kinda fall in love in a way and yet they don't because she's married to a major Philistine a-hole and he's in love, for some unfathomable reason, with this dreary little chickie half his age who seems drippy, useless, and uninteresting to *me* and, I suspect, to the rich lady too. So the rich lady does what rich people do best and unbelts with a big pile of gelt for the poor-but-smart dude to start this bookstore that will sell only novels, and only the best, the finest, the most ut of the lit'ry output of the planet, chosen by eight of the best (French) writers now writing. Hijinks ensue, which are frankly completely incredible (in its literal sense), but are lots of fun. What this book is *not* is any species of thriller or mystery; it's a French novel. That's what it is. No more, no less, no different. So, in the end, the Philistine husband and the poor-but-smart dude part ways but the store must go on, and the book's narrator is revealed, though I have to say it's not a huge surprise, though I think it's intended that way. The end, happily ever after but sadder and wiser.My Review: I gave the book a generous 4.1 stars because it's one of those books that, while reading, goes wildly up and down the star scale; but in the end, cover closed, glasses chewed upon, assumes a different shape than the one that the reading process creates.I'd recommend this book to all and sundry if only because of this passage, beautifully translated by the very talented Alison Anderson, on page 150 of the Europa edition:"Literature is a source of pleasure...it is one of the rare inexhaustible joys in life, but it's not only that. It must not be dissociated from reality. Everything is there. That is why I never use the word fiction. Every subtlety in life is material for a book....Have you noticed...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 will say no, literature is not life, that novels teach you nothing. They are wrong. Literature informs, instructs, it prepares you for life."If that passage rings you like the bell you wondered if you might be, then this book will speak to you and shape you a bit differently than you were before; if it seems tediously long, avoid this book like it's got herpes, because you'll hate it.*gooonnnggg* goes my spirit.
leperdbunny on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Title: A Novel BookstoreAuthor: Laurence CosseGenre: Mystery, Contemporary Fiction, French Literature# of pages: 424Start date:End date:Borrowed/bought: boughtMy rating of the book, F- [worst] to A [best]: ADescription of the book: A French bookseller and his friend have a dream of opening a bookstore where they only sell good novels. Soon, someone or someones start attacking their private selection committee.Review: If you like Bibliophile literature- you will enjoy this book. Many parts of the prose are Beautiful. I had to read this book slowly just because I enjoyed the bibliophile talk so much! There was a lot of talk about french literature I had no idea about- so I think I'll be going through the book to look for the literature the author was talking about. The ending was so sad- by then I was so emotionally invested in the characters I had to take a breather- definitely turned into a favorite for me.
SamSattler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Seldom have I had mixed emotions about a book to the degree that I have them about Laurence Cossé¿s A Novel Bookstore. I was initially drawn to the novel because it seemed to be a mixture of two of my favorite genres: books about books and crime fiction. And that is exactly what A Novel Bookstore is but, in this case, the two genres do not work particularly well together. Perhaps that is because the dialogue is generally too stilted and otherwise unrealistic to give the crimes in question much teeth. To my ear, these characters are more akin to something from a 1930s romantic farce than they are to 21st century France. They just do not seem real ¿ making me wonder whether the author intended A Novel Bookstore to be more fable than novel.There is, however, much to like here. Anyone who has ever spent much time in a bookstore will be drawn to the concept of a bookstore that only stocks the good stuff. No James Patterson, Dan Brown, or Danielle Steele will be found in a bookstore like the one being designed by Ivan and Francesca. The pair have come together to create a truly novel enterprise, one that sells only the finest world literature ever written. They are so unconcerned about popular demand that it will take at least a year for a new book to hit their shelves ¿ and not many of them will ever make it there.The bookstore¿s initial offering will be chosen by a committee of eight specially chosen people, each of whom will be asked to list their favorite 600 books. Even with the overlap in choices, this means that more than three thousand books will be offered for sale on the bookstore¿s opening day. The store, despite generating little in the way of profit, soon attracts a loyal group of customers, some of whom browse daily and have to be reminded to leave when it is time for the store to close. Ivan and Francesca are thrilled with what is happening, but the backlash soon begins.Authors and publishers that cannot find their way to A Novel Bookstore¿s shelves are not at all happy about being frozen out by such a prestigious bookseller. Attacks, both personal and otherwise, that try to make the owners look like literary snobs, begin to appear in newspapers and magazines. That is bad enough, but the agitation is followed by threats and physical attacks against several of the committee members ¿ a group of eight who were never identified by name even to each other. Obviously, there is a leak somewhere.That is the crux of the story, but what I enjoyed most were the pages devoted to designing the new bookstore and readying it for its opening. Although many of the literary references (especially the French ones) were new to me, the whole process of choosing the best 4,000 books for the store intrigued me to the end. That is what kept me turning pages, and I am happy that I did. A Novel Bookstore is any book-lover¿s fantasy and, to be fair to Ms. Cossé, that might be why her characters, including the criminals, do not seem more real than they do. It could never happen¿or, could it?Rated at: 3.5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago