Saturday, April 9, 2016

23. The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - Katarina Bivald

Translated from Swedish by Alice Menzies
Library book - large print because all the regular prints were on a long reserve list
2013/2016 Kennebec Large Print
394  pgs.
Adult CRF
Finished 4/9/16
Goodreads rating: 3.60
My rating: 3, I liked some of it a great deal
Setting: Contemporary Broken Wheel, Iowa

First line/s: "The strange woman standing on Hope's main street was so ordinary it was almost scandalous.  A thin, plain figure dressed in an autumn coat much too gray and warm for the time of year, a backpack lying on the ground by her feet, an enormous suitcase resting against one of her legs."

My comments:  I think I'm going to have to congitate on this one a bit before I give it a "rating."  It reminds me of another book, but for the life of me I can't think of which one it might be.  The premise is terrific - a 30-something "nobody" from Sweden has come to Nowhere, Iowa to meet the much-older penpal she's been trading books - and life stories - with for two years.  The town is dying/dead, but a small group of stalwart souls still inhabit and... run....the town.  Quirky folk, to be sure.  Enchanting.  Real?  Hmmm.  And Sara, the protagonist, is from Sweden.  She must speak flawless English, but this is never EVER referred to in any way.  Of course, when she arrives, her penpal is dead, having never mentioned that she was bedridden when she invoked the invitation.  If you read this with tongue-in-cheek, never taking anything too seriously, it's a great read.  Just a little too sugar-coated for me in places, I guess.

Goodreads synopsis: Once you let a book into your life, the most unexpected things can happen...
          Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist—even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. 
          All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love.

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