The Secret Lives of Booksellers and Librarians: True Stories of the Magic of Reading

Little, Brown. Apr. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780316567534. $28. BIOG
Prolific novelist Patterson has collaborated once again with Eversmann (they previously coauthored Walk in My Combat Boots: True Stories from America’s Bravest Warriors) to compile a varied selection of brief personal histories written by librarians and bookstore owners across the United States and Canada. Taken and read collectively as a whole—as opposed to focusing on individual stories—this volume is both moving and compelling. Readers will learn how librarians and booksellers interact with patrons, cope with financial and political challenges, delight in connecting reluctant readers to books, rise to the challenge of finding obscure volumes, savor celebrity appearances, and generally take pleasure in the everydayness of their work. All of the contributors are, of course, avid readers themselves, and their enthusiasm for books is contagious. Patterson and Eversmann document the business side of books as well.
VERDICT A noteworthy addition to the literature lauding the foot soldiers involved in getting books out to readers. A good complement to Debbie Berne’s The Design of Books.
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