by Susan J. Coll
Publication Date August 4, 2022
Published by HarperCollins Focus
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Genres: Fiction / Romance / Contemporary, Fiction / Women
***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***
A perfect storm of comedic proportions erupts in a DC bookstore over the course of one soggy summer week--narrated by two very different women and punctuated by political turmoil, a celestial event, and a perpetually broken vacuum cleaner.
Independent bookstore owner Sophie Bernstein is burned out on books. Mourning the death of her husband, the loss of her favorite manager, her only child's lack of aspiration, and the grim state of the world, she fantasizes about going into hiding in the secret back room of her store.
Meanwhile, renowned poet Raymond Chaucer has published a new collection, and rumors that he's to blame for his wife's suicide have led to national cancellations of his publicity tour. He intends to set the record straight--with an ultra-fine-point Sharpie--but only one shop still plans to host him: Sophie's.
Fearful of potential repercussions from angry customers, Sophie asks Clemi--bookstore events coordinator, aspiring novelist, and daughter of a famed literary agent--to cancel Raymond's appearance. But Clemi suspects Raymond might be her biological father, and she can't say no to the chance of finding out for sure.
This big-hearted screwball comedy features an intergenerational cast of oblivious authors and over-qualified booksellers--as well as a Russian tortoise named Kurt Vonnegut Jr.--and captures the endearing quirks of some of the best kinds of people: the ones who love good books.
Praise for Bookish People:
"A smart, original, laugh-out-loud novel . . . If you sell, buy, or simply love books, Bookish People is for you. I wholeheartedly recommend this quirky gem." --Sarah Pekkanen, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Golden Couple
- Witty, hilarious, and heartwarming contemporary book about books
- Stand-alone novel
- Book length: approximately 84,000 words
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Bookish People by Susan J. Coll is a light, humorous bookish book that takes place in a large bookstore in Washington, D.C.
Sophie Bernstein owns a large bookstore in DC and is ready to call it quits and just hide. She’s still mourning for her husband, she’s frustrated with her only son’s life choices and she’s about to lose her manager as he pursues a law degree. She just wants to hide from life, in a small hidden room in the bookstore.
Clemi, Sophie’s event coordinator for the bookstore has booked Raymond Chaucer, a controversial poet for an event in the store. Raymond has been accused in the media of killing his wife, however, he has not been charged with murder by the police. Most of his events were canceled because of security reasons, and no other bookstore wants to be associated with a possible murderer.
Sophie asks Clemi to cancel Raymond’s book event, but, Clemi can’t bring herself to cancel because she has other reasons for wanting to see the famous poet. She decides to hire extra security for the event, but that also backfires. Will Sophie find peace in her little room? Will the author event be successful?
This was a bit of a mixed bag for me. I love a bookish book, but this one was slow to get into. First of all, there was a lot going on in this book, and it was difficult to keep track of all the issues of these characters. Second was the characters themselves. I only found one character that I was rooting for, and that was a tortoise named Kurt Vonnegut Jr. The other characters all were too self-involved or just not sympathetic. I can understand that we don’t always like every character, but I would have wanted some more relatable and sympathetic characters in a book of this genre, that is marketed as a rom-com.
After a slow and somewhat confusing start, the story did pick up a bit and the ending was funny and satisfying. Kurt, the tortoise, was really the star of this book, in my opinion! I did enjoy the bookstore and the descriptions of the store and some of the customers. I’m glad I read the book, as I found it overall a good book.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Have you read Bookish People by Susan Coll? Do you like bookish books?