Monday, November 15, 2010

Review : The Night Bookmobile

The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger. Abrams ComicArts, 2010. (released September 1)

[Source: Purchased]

Audrey Niffenegger is best known for her novels, The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, but she has also published two illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters and The AdventuressThe Night Bookmobile is her first graphic novel.

I don't normally read graphic novels but the author and the story of this one were a combination I couldn't resist.The Night Bookmobile quickly follows Alexandra through years of her life focusing on her encounters with the night bookmobile. Alexandra stumbles upon the bookmobile and it's librarian, Mr. Openshaw, late one night and finds that it contains all the books she's ever read, children's books, novels, textbooks, and even her girlhood diary. I was just thinking about whether books you didn't finish would be on the night bookmobile - would there be partial books sitting on the shelves? - when that question was answered. (You'll have to read it yourself to find out what the answer was...sorry.) Alexandra becomes obsessed with finding the bookmobile again and eventually goes to library school to become a real librarian. That's as much as I want to say about the story.

Despite the short format, Niffenegger hits on a number of important ideas - the state of libraries, the role of reading in our lives, having a love of reading, and burying oneself in books. She nails the passion for reading but conveys the important message of not letting books take over your life. This message really struck me because the very afternoon I read this I was reluctant to go out because I wanted to read. Needless to say, after reading The Night Bookmobile, I left the house.

Niffenegger first wrote The Night Bookmobile as a short story, which she then adapted into a serial graphic novel for the London Guardian. According to the "After Words," The Night Bookmobile is the first installment in a larger work called The Library. This first installment packed such a big punch in so few pages that I can't wait for the next installment to appear.


  1. I do enjoy a graphic novel from time to time and this is one that's been on my radar for a while, so I'm glad to see it's so good.

  2. I loved her Fearful Symmetry, so I am interested to try this one. Glad to see that you liked it so much.