Here's How to Keep The Independent Bookstore Day Magic Going!

Claire Handscombe

Saturday, April 24th, marked Independent Bookstore Day in the US. It's a day to celebrate the many great things about independent bookshops -- the community hubs they provide, the book-loving staff always eager to provide recommendations, author events, storytime, and more. So to keep the magic going now it's over, why not read one of these bookstore-themed books? (Descriptions are taken from retailer websites.)

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman

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The only child of a single mother, Nina has her life just as she wants it: a job in a bookstore, a kick-butt trivia team, a world-class planner and a cat named Phil. If she sometimes suspects there might be more to life than reading, she just shrugs and picks up a new book. When the father Nina never knew existed suddenly dies, leaving behind innumerable sisters, brothers, nieces, and nephews, Nina is horrified. They all live close by! They're all—or mostly all—excited to meet her! She'll have to Speak. To. Strangers. It's a disaster! And as if that wasn't enough, Tom, her trivia nemesis, has turned out to be cute, funny, and deeply interested in getting to know her. Doesn't he realize what a terrible idea that is?

The Bookshop, by Penelope Fitzgerald

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In 1959 Florence Green, a kindhearted widow with a small inheritance, risks everything to open a bookshop--the only bookshop--in the seaside town of Hardborough. By making a success of a business so impractical, she invites the hostility of the town's less prosperous shopkeepers. By daring to enlarge her neighbors' lives, she crosses Mrs. Gamart, the local arts doyenne. Florence's warehouse leaks, her cellar seeps, and the shop is apparently haunted. Only too late does she begin to suspect the truth: a town that lacks a bookshop isn't always a town that wants one.

The Bookshop of Second Chances, by Jackie Fraser

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Thea Mottram is having a bad month. She's been let go from her office job with no notice--and to make matters even worse, her husband of nearly twenty years has decided to leave her for one of her friends. Bewildered and completely lost, Thea doesn't know what to do. But when she learns that a distant great uncle in Scotland has passed away, leaving her his home and a hefty antique book collection, she decides to leave Sussex for a few weeks. Escaping to a small coastal town where no one knows her seems to be exactly what she needs.Almost instantly, Thea becomes enamored with the quaint cottage. The only person she can't seem to win over is bookshop owner Edward Maltravers, to whom she hopes to sell her uncle's book collection. #But bickering with Edward proves oddly refreshing and exciting, leading Thea to develop feelings she hasn't experienced in a long time. As she follows a thrilling yet terrifying impulse to stay in Scotland indefinitely, Thea realizes that her new life may quickly become just as complicated as the one she was running from.

The Bookstore Cat, by Cylin Busby and Charles Santoso

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The bookstore cat is an adorable . . .bossy . . .cuddly cat.He is everything from intelligent and loyal to naughty and vocal! But most of all, the bookstore cat is a well-loved (and well-read) kitty. Follow his funny antics from A to Z through a day in his bustling, book-filled shop.

Confessions of a Bookseller, by Shuan Blythell

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Inside a Georgian townhouse on the Wigtown highroad, jammed with more than 100,000 books and a portly cat named Captain, Shaun Bythell manages the daily ups and downs of running Scotland’s largest used bookshop with a sharp eye and even sharper wit. His account of one year behind the counter is something no book lover should miss.

How to Find Love in a Bookshop, by Veronica Henry

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Nightingale Books, nestled on the main street in an idyllic little village, is a dream come true for book lovers--a cozy haven and welcoming getaway for the literary-minded locals. But owner Emilia Nightingale is struggling to keep the shop open after her beloved father's death, and the temptation to sell is getting stronger. The property developers are circling, yet Emilia's loyal customers have become like family, and she can't imagine breaking the promise she made to her father to keep the store alive.There's Sarah, owner of the stately Peasebrook Manor, who has used the bookshop as an escape in the past few years, but it now seems there's a very specific reason for all those frequent visits. Next is roguish Jackson, who, after making a complete mess of his marriage, now looks to Emilia for advice on books for the son he misses so much. And the forever shy Thomasina, who runs a pop-up restaurant for two in her tiny cottage--she has a crush on a man she met in the cookbook section, but can hardly dream of working up the courage to admit her true feelings.

The I Wonder Bookstore, by Shinsuke Yoshitake

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A delightful bestseller when first published in Japan, this charming illustrated book takes readers inside the magical realm of books, libraries, and bookstores. At The I Wonder Bookstore, customers come in and ask the owner countless variations on its namesake question (I wonder if you have any books about...) and he is happy to fill their requests in enchanting ways. In these pages readers will discover books that grow on trees, books designed to be read by two (or more) people at once, books that can only be read by moonlight, bookstore weddings, an underwater library, a boot camp for charismatic bookstore attendants, and many more wonders that celebrate the transporting magic of reading in a timeless and irresistible way.

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan

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The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything--instead, they check out large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele's behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore's secrets extend far beyond its walls.

Recommended For You, by Laura Silverman

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Shoshanna Greenberg loves working at Once Upon, her favorite local bookstore. And with her moms fighting at home and her beloved car teetering on the brink of death, the store has become a welcome escape. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to the person who sells the most books, Shoshanna sees an opportunity to at least fix her car, if none of her other problems. The only person standing in her way? New hire Jake Kaplan.But as the competition intensifies, Jake and Shoshanna grow closer and realize they might be more on the same page than either expects...

The Storied Life of A J Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin

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A. J. Fikry's life is not at all what he expected it to be. He lives alone, his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history, and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. But when a mysterious package appears at the bookstore, its unexpected arrival gives Fikry the chance to make his life over--and see everything anew.

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Claire Handscombe is a British writer who moved to Washington, DC, in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but really, let’s be honest, because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the host of the Brit Lit Podcast, a monthly show about news and views from UK books and publishing; the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan; and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives.

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