For my Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge, I chose “The Bookshop on the Corner” by Jenny Colgan for the category “A Book about a Librarian or a Bookseller.” In the case of this book, the main character, Nina, is both!
After the library she works at is closed and reinvented, Nina must decide what to do in a world where libraries seem to be disappearing. Determined to make a new life for herself, Nina moves to a sleepy village many miles away. There she buys a van and transforms it into a bookmobile—a mobile bookshop that she drives from neighborhood to neighborhood, changing one life after another with the power of storytelling.
As someone who works in a library, I’m very aware of the cutbacks that set this story in motion. Despite how much the library provides for the public, many people see it as a dying medium.
The interesting thing about the library Nina works at is that the focus is changing more to a media center who helps with a lot of different public services. That is what the library I work at does.
While we get the chance to help people find the perfect books, we also help them with technology issues and finding resources to help in other aspects of their lives. Even though Nina, and one of her former coworkers see this as a bad thing, I believe it is an important feature of the library, especially during the pandemic.
However, despite my disagreement with the main character’s viewpoint, she is relatable in how she reacts to the change in focus. For someone who lives and breathes books, this change away from physical books and reading can be devastating.
She is also fun to read, most times. While I love reading how she interacts with the local villagers, especially two kids who she mentors, when it comes to her love life, I begin to lose interest in her.
Unfortunately, in stories like these, the romance can feel hit or miss for, and the relationship drama certainly dragged on for me. Not only does the conflict in her love life draw me out of the story, but I didn’t really care about either of the two men she was interested in.
Overall, I enjoyed reading about how this character’s love of books influences her life and helps her connect with others. I give this a 4 out of 5 stars.