by Peter Briscoe
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Pub Date 31 Jan 2022 | Archive Date 26 Apr 2023
Palo Verde Press, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
SECOND ENLARGED EDITION. INTERNATIONAL LATINO BOOK AWARDS HONORABLE MENTION.
Five stories about professors, students, librarians, booksellers, and early scientific explorers—all living literately, on journeys of the mind. The first story, "One of Our Stars," is about a professor so engrossed in difficult studies that even a blatant sexual invitation (accepted) merely distracts him. He concentrates with the mental force of a chess grandmaster, a zen roshi, or a musical virtuoso. The next story about a female college student is set in a Colombian jungle. The third story portrays a once formidable professor coming to terms with retirement, old age, and approaching death. The fourth (title) story, novella length, takes place in an Ecuadorian library that is experiencing rampant theft. A place where some men steal books while others wonder why they bother. The underlying theme is the fate of libraries and books in the modern world, as told through the gaze of a complex and rather driven librarian. A literary, intellectual mystery that explores the library as a profound idea while the world rushes into a digital, post-literate future. The fifth story explores the evolving status and influence of a beautiful young female scholar who each year attends a Latin American Librarians Conference.
A Note From the Publisher
Illustrated by Nanne of 99designs
“Inside this book is prowess of the written word like you probably have never seen it. Briscoe's voice doesn't just welcome you into his fictional world with his fictional characters. He transmits your mind into the exact space where everything is transpiring on the page....An exceptional collection of short stories that you won't want to miss. Rating 5 stars.”
—Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite
“The Book Seller story was riveting! I couldn't put it down and read it in a single sitting. I'm a great Borges fan, so I loved the echoes, both in style and subject matter. Patricia Fara, historian of science and author of Life after Gravity: Isaac Newton's London Career
Peter Briscoe's prose is brilliant and flawless....If you appreciate mystery, ideas, characterization, libraries, and elegantly written expression reminiscent of Balzac, all woven into a memorable work of literary art, The Bookseller is for you. Rating 5 stars.”
—Reviewed by Jon Michael Miller for Readers' Favorite
“The gripping title story—more of a novella—draws on Briscoe's 30 years of experience as a university librarian to explore what will become of the world's libraries as we hurtle towards an increasingly digital future. The additional stories rounding out the collection are much shorter than his title work, but still insightful—similar to meditative vignettes. Great for fans of Haruki Murakami's Men Without Women."
—Publishers Weekly BookLife Reviews
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 11 members
Four intriguing short stories and a mesmerizing novella length story - 'The Bookseller'. Peter Briscoe is a very talented author and has captured the functioning and the essence of libraries through his brilliant compilation. The stories include professors, students, librarians, booksellers, and early scientific explorers that link to the 'library'. Highly recommended novel to all booklovers and well worthy of five stars.
Reading Peter Briscoe’s slim but flawless and memorable book The Bookseller and Other Stories, 2nd Edition reminds us to not judge a book by its cover, or its page count. The collection includes four short stories, two of which are short-short stories, and one novella titled “The Bookseller.” The first short story “One of Our Stars” is of an academic – a man who struggles with anything that does not feed his off-the-grid intellectual pursuits; a man left to his own path since “his publications were impeccable.” The second short story “A Girl in Columbia” is by a close observer of a young, “demure” woman in a line to enter a jungle park in Columbia. The observer’s male perspectives and projections wander from the woman’s immodest, loose attire to his brief fantasy of pursuing knowledge about the woman’s life. In "After You, Please," the third short story’s elderly male narrator is a crusty, retired academic ruminating on the malaise of aging and external expectations. While his life of fewer self-expectations, ambitions, interests, and achievements – even small ones, may appear light and entertaining, the short portrait lands hard in the last two paragraphs once double-backed to the first line of the story. Loss. The fourth short story comes after the novella – “The Library Conference” which follows the career and ambitions of a female PhD participant. The writer brilliantly injects the non-objective, often stark male mindsets and desires of the narrators into the stories. It works.
In the novella “The Bookseller” the narrator steps back and, with its Jorge Luis Borges touch, tells a tale within a tale. The first few pages are about a man who “is flying somewhere and reading a book. This is his life.” He sells books and may tell stories to fellow travelers, such as the one that follows, one of stolen rare books from an old library in Ecuador, the Inspector Guillermo Robles investigating the theft, and the library’s notable scholar and ardent bibliophile Doctor Vidal with his passionate and lyrical paeans to the world of libraries, librarians, and reading - and his apprehensions of the cascading loss with digital collections.
If Jorge Luis Borges “imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library,” then The Bookseller and Other Stories will be there, probably being read by Borges. Peter Briscoe, with decades as an academic library administrator, is a superb writer who makes us long for more of his writing and his literary world.
This opinion is all my own. I am grateful to NetGalley, Palo Verde Press, and Peter Briscoe for access to this marvelous book. I needed to hold this printed book in my hands, and so I bought the paperback. Plus, I have ordered more as gifts for others, especially retired librarians. Perfect gifts.
Nicely done. This is quite short, but the stories here are quite good. I hope the author write more in the future. Recommended.
Thanks very much for the free review copy for review!!
I loved the first couple very short stories. I read them 3 times, fascinated by what elements were shared and where the stories left off.
I was less interested in the longer story. I read it twice. I found some of the details cumbersome.
That said, I really enjoyed this book.
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the chance to read and review this book.
“If God existed, he would be a library.” This epigram by Umberto Eco sums up the sanctity of the library to anyone who worships books and the knowledge they contain.
All four stories in this book are worth reading and very engaging. However, the Bookseller itself is brilliant. The way the story unfolds at the end - when Detective Guillermo Robles was handed a letter from Doctor Andres Vidal after his death, about the rare and exquisite books that have been stolen from the library, bestowing the responsibility to him - is a thought-provoking twist.
At some point in the book, Peter Briscoe mentions that some people take libraries for granted and I think this is absolutely true, and in my opinion, libraries are full of treasures. Another one of my favorite quotes is this one: “A nonreader lives his or her life, but a reader lives multiple lives.”
I recommend this book not only to all book lovers but to anyone who wants to spend just a little time reading a story that takes them to another world.
Thanks to Palo Verde Press and Netgalley for a copy of The Bookseller.
Thanks so much to Palo Verde Press and NetGallery for providing me with a free copy of this book in return for my honest review.
What an absolute delight to read. 3 vignettes, a novella styled story and one short story, all contained in 75 pages. The title story is the novella, and deals with stolen book from a South American library, and then the bigger issue of libraries in general and the loss of readers due to our electronic and digital lives. Marvelous how the author, a lifelong librarian in his own right, hits upon a topic that should be near and dear to all of us who have a love of books and reading. Just a wonderfully important book.
These are the kinds of stories I like to read while waiting for an appointment at a doctors office or just want to have a quick read. From missing books to white library‘s mean for the digital age and more do use for short stories hip on topical topics and make them entertaining I enjoyed all four stories and would definitely read more from this author in the future. My favorite story was the third one but they’re all really good although I did like the one about the stolen library book. I find it so interesting when an author writes about a topic he knows intimately and you can tell this author knows libraries. I truly and thoroughly enjoyed the stories and highly recommend them. The book cellar by Peter Briscoe is definitely a five star read. I received this book from NetGalley and publisher but I am leaving this review voluntarily please forgive any mistakes as I am blind and dictate my review.
This is a short, but excellent book containing five stories about libraries and books. The stories touch on professors, booksellers, students, book thieves, explorers, and librarians themselves. Four of the stories are brief vignettes, one a short story, and the title story a brilliant novella.
This is a nice collection of stories that can easily be read and thoroughly enjoyed in one sitting. I especially enjoyed the title story novella and the investigation told of stolen books.
I would like to thank the author and NetGalley for providing a copy of the book to read in exchange for my honest review.
This was an enjoyable read. It's a very short book at under 100 pages, but it is well written with great short stories that I really connected with. My only wish was that the book was longer. The author is obviously talented and creates very interesting stories. I loved the culture in these stories. The actual story of the book Seller was my favourite it could easily have become a great full-length novel. I actually rated this book 3.5 stars rounded up as it was interesting.
Many thanks to the author and publishing team for creating these great stories.
The above review has already been placed on goodreads, waterstones, Google books, Barnes&noble, kobo, amazon UK where found and my blog today https://ladyreading365.wixsite.com/website/post/the-bookseller-by-peter-briscoe-ibpa-independent-author-3-5-stars under ladyreading365 sorry for the delay
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