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A young woman, out wandering the streets after a fight with her boyfriend, stumbles upon The Night Bookmobile. The books inside are strangely familiar. The librarian tells her that the library contains everything she’s ever read in her lifetime. All too soon, dawn comes, the librarian escorts her out the door, and the young woman feels bereft. She can’t get The Night Bookmobile out of her mind and she starts to look for it everywhere, choosing her books with the idea of rounding out her collection.
I love this premise. Can you imagine seeing all the words you’ve ever read in one place? They aren’t just books. They’re cereal boxes and everything. In my library, that reviled copy of Lord of the Flies would be buried somewhere at the back on a bottom shelf while the works of L. M. Montgomery and Charles de Lint would be well-worn but in places of honor at eye-level at the front. How awesome would that be?
But almost from the beginning, Niffenegger rings a faint warning bell and it gets louder throughout this short piece. It’s very well done, and while it’s a warning that most devoted readers need to hear, that doesn’t mean that I liked what it led to. Holy cow. I flipped forward and back a few times, just to make sure I’d really read what I thought I’d read. I had. Man. I love my books, but…man.
And that’s all I’ll say about that.
Read it for the idea, but don’t expect to be charmed at the end.
Read an excerpt.
Find author Audrey Niffenegger on her website.
Buy The Night Bookmobile at
I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore located in beautiful downtown Asheville, NC; and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.