Books, Bookshops, and Cats, Oh My! | Beaufort County Now

I finally got around to a few books on my To Be Read list and one was “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.” books, bookshops, cats, book review, kathy manos penn, april 30, 2019
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Books, Bookshops, and Cats, Oh My!

Kathy Manos Penn with Lord Banjo
    I finally got around to a few books on my To Be Read list and one was "The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend." A bookshop is a central feature, almost a character, in this delightful book set in Broken Wheel, Iowa. The back cover blurb captures it well: "A heartwarming reminder of why we are booklovers, this is a sweet, smart story about how books find us, change us, and connect us."

    Booklovers will get a kick out of the references to books and authors and be thankful for the lists in the back of the book. I was reading about one of the characters being taken with Idgie and was tickled that I finally recalled that Idgie was a character in "Fried Green Tomatoes."

    That book prompted me to think, "Gee, I think there are other books I've read that take place in bookshops," and I was right. There were a few whose titles I couldn't recall, but I've come up with most of them.

    Years ago, I read the Carolyn Hart mysteries that take place in and around the Death on Demand bookshop on Broward's Rock, a South Carolina island. I likely read the first five or six and enjoyed all the references to books and authors. I wasn't surprised to learn there are 26 in the series, and I may have to get back to them.

    You don't have to be a Jane Austen fan to enjoy Charlie Lovett's "First Impressions," a tale of a previously unknown Austen manuscript. The heroine is recently graduated from Oxford and works in an antiquarian bookshop in London. Since I just last year took a trip to England and visited Oxford, I especially enjoyed recognizing the Oxford references.

    I discovered John Dunning's series of books featuring bookshop owner and former Denver police officer Cliff Janeway when my sister passed along "Booked to Die," the first in the series. Now I know there are four more in the series, so they're going on my TBR list.

    I've mentioned Nina George's book, "The Little Paris Bookshop," in a previous column, but this whimsical story of a bookshop housed on a boat belongs on this list as well. Wouldn't you love to visit a floating bookshop?

    Still on my TBR list is "The Storied Life of A.J.Fikry," about the owner of Island Books on the imaginary Alice Island located somewhere near Boston.

    Another book I'm looking forward to reading is "The Diary of a Bookseller," a Christmas gift from a friend who knows me oh-so-well. This one is nonfiction, written by Shaun Bythell, who owns The Bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. Described as "a wry and hilarious account of life at a bookshop in a remote Scottish village," it promises to be a behind the scenes look at the life of a bookseller.

    As for cats, as I recalled these books, I couldn't help but think about Books Unlimited, the cozy, inviting bookshop in Franklin, North Carolina, where Nancy the cat roams from the chair to the window to the counter, perfectly at home. If you're lucky when you visit, she may even curl up in your lap. And, if the books I've mentioned end up on your reading list, Nancy and owner Suzanne will happily find them for you.

    Kathy is a Georgia resident. Find her books "The Ink Penn: Celebrating the Magic in the Everyday" and "Lord Banjo the Royal Pooch" on Amazon. Contact her at, and follow her on Facebook,


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