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The Night Bookmobile Hardcover – September 1, 2010


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Far from the Madding Crowd
Far from the Madding Crowd
The strong-minded Bathsheba Everdene—and the devoted shepherd, obsessed farmer and dashing soldier who vie for her favor—move through a beautifully realized late 19th-century countryside, still almost untouched by the encroachment of modern life. Fox Searchlight Pictures will release a movie version of Far from the Madding Crowd May 1st. Learn more
$15.80 FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Only 5 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; First Edition edition (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0810996170
  • ISBN-13: 978-0810996175
  • Product Dimensions: 11.9 x 0.5 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #339,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Novelist and visual artist Niffenegger brings the dark dreaminess that characterized her bestselling novels to her first full-length graphic novel. After a fight with her boyfriend one night, Alexandra goes for a walk and comes upon a bookmobile. When she goes inside to look at the books, she discovers that it's a library of her own reading history; every book she's ever read, including her diary, is on the shelf. As her life continues, she searches for the bookmobile, but years go by before she finds it again. Meanwhile she becomes a librarian and a loner, eventually deciding that she wants to work in the bookmobile, though the price for doing so is high. Niffenegger's full-color art has a naïve tone, with sometimes stiff figures, and text written in childlike script. The simplicity of the images contrasts with sophisticated page layouts in which she plays with panels and perspective. The story was originally serialized in the Guardian, and in an afterword, Niffenegger reveals that the book is the first volume in a larger project. At heart this romantic, melancholy tale is a paean to reading and to the life one person lives through books.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Niffenegger’s love for and wariness about libraries is threaded through her best-selling first novel, The Time Traveler’s Wife (2003), and blossoms poisonously in her first graphic novella. An artist given to elegantly eerie and clever drawings, as seen in her two illustrated novels, Niffenegger makes supple use of the graphic format in this pensive and unnerving story. Alexandra is out walking late one night on a quiet Chicago street after a fight with her boyfriend when she happens upon an old Winnebago that turns out to be a magical mystery bookmobile open between “dusk and dawn,” and piloted by Robert, a gentleman librarian who serves tea. Even more strangely, its collection comprises every book Alexandra has ever read. She is galvanized. She looks for the bookmobile every night and longs to work with Robert. Years go by. Alexandra reads incessantly and becomes a librarian. Yet still she is refused a place on the bookmobile, until one especially grim night. With beautifully complex perspectives, lustrous and moody colors, and refined expressiveness, Niffenegger has created a haunting cautionary tale about solitude, obsession, and the unfathomable power of books. Originally serialized in the Guardian in England, this is the first provocative volume in a larger work titled The Library. While the book is best suited for adult collections, teens who like classy and psychologically subtle spooky tales will shiver happily over this gorgeous short story as well. --Donna Seaman

Customer Reviews

I did not like the ending of this book.
Rochelle
As for the paintings themselves, they have a very modern touch that works well with the story and adds a great atmosphere.
Omnes
The collection of the bookmobile is every book she's ever read, and she has her own personal librarian.
Kristin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

63 of 70 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Alluisi on September 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I don't usually review books on Amazon, but I felt I needed to counteract the only other person who has reviewed this so far. If you'll observe the categories where Amazon has placed this book, NONE of them mention that it's for children. That's because it's not a children's book. It's not supposed to be a children's book, Niffenegger never refers to it that way, and it's clearly not subject matter meant for children. This is an illustrated short story, and it is meant for adults.

It's an excellent story about the joys of being a book lover and the dangers of succumbing entirely to that passion. It simultaneously celebrates how awesome books are, how much joy they bring into a book-lover's life, and warns about what happens when that love goes too far, when love of books comes before all else, including other people, your career, and even yourself. It takes all of 10 minutes to read, it's beautiful to look at, and I can definitely imagine reading this again and again.
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26 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Audrey Niffenegger reminds me a lot of Alan Ball (True Blood, Six Feet Under.) Neither one is afraid to explore the darker side of our obsessions with people, places and things. In this fairy tale for adults, Audrey deftly explores our fascination with reading books and creating our own libraries. It is a cautionary tale of obsession and the consequences of getting what you wish for.

I saw myself in this book. I have floor to ceiling book shelves and stacks of books everywhere. I never worked in a library, but I did work in a book store for five years to build up my reading collection. As soon as AMAZON launched I quit the bookstore and began buying books on the internet. And even though I give lots of my books away to libraries, charities, family and friends, I am like Thomas Jefferson - I end up buying ones I have parted with all over again. This grim fairy tale helped me put things into perspective.

This graphic novel was first presented as a short story in Zoetrope and serialized in The Guardian. This is the first book in a proposed trilogy.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Sheila A. Dechantal on January 21, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Not a children's read! After a fight with her boyfriend one night, Alexandra goes for a walk and comes upon a bookmobile. When she goes inside to look at the books, she discovers that it's a library of her own reading history; every book she's ever read, including her diary, is on the shelf. As her life continues, she searches for the bookmobile, but years go by before she finds it again. When she does, she finds that the books she has read since last she visited have also been added to this personal library. As Alexandra strives to read more and constantly searches for the bookmobile,she hopes that her hard work will allow her to work with the bookmobile... only all her hard work does is make her a loner and a very lost person who discovers the cost of her dream is really too high.

This book was recommended to me by friend and fellow Bookie, Angie. She has read it and email me that she thought this would be a wonderful graphic novel to look more closely at and probably generate some good blog discussion thoughts.

The title alone captivated me.

I of course loved the fact that the bookmobile was filled with every book that Alexandra had ever read. I imagined what my own bookmobile would look like.... all the treasures of my youth... from the big puffy baby books to picture books, then into paperbacks.... I get excited thinking about the books I have forgotten I read and how thrilling it would be to see them and recognize them!

And if that was all this small graphic novel had to offer that would have been enough.

But no, there is an ending to the book that shocked me. It was this ending that actually left me thinking about this book days after I read it but unable to write this review.
Read more ›
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Hired Pen on September 3, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The Night Bookmobile is a graphic novel for adults. It's a quirky story of a young woman who discovers, quite by accident, a bookmobile that contains everything she's ever read. The Chicago setting is evocative, and the storytelling is lyrical. Yes, the story does have a somewhat somber ending, but it's not gratuitous.

This is not a children's book, but it doesn't pretend to be. The graphic novel genre isn't exclusively for children. At the American Library Association convention (June 2010) I attended a panel discussion on graphic novels for adults. Ms. Niffenegger was there, and she gave a great presentation on the genesis and evolution of The Night Bookmobile. (Also on the panel was David Small, author of Stitches.)

As Ms. Niffenegger says in the "After Words," this is a story about the claims that books place on their readers, the imbalance between our inner and outer lives, a cautionary take of the seduction of the written word. It's a book for book lovers, and the well-told tale will leave you wishing for more.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By L. Fannon on February 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Night Bookmobile produced a reaction in me similar to Her Fearful Symmetry - there were parts that I loved, but others that left me feeling somewhat cold toward the book.

For one, the concept behind this comic is perfect. The idea that each person has their own library with each book they have read and started to read stored in a vehicle of sorts. Alexandra, after fighting with her boyfriend and walking alone at night to clear her head, encounters her library and quickly becomes obsessed with it. Secondly, the art is lovely and adds to the mystery and fantasy of the story. It was short and sweet, with a memorable conclusion.

But a significant part of that conclusion really upset me, not because of what happened, but because of how abrupt it was. Of course, I do not want to spoil anything, so I'm being purposefully vague. It is a shocking turn of events that I honestly found difficult to understand. I really wanted to love this book unreservedly, because the idea is so bookish and wonderful, but I just couldn't.

I don't necessarily want to deter anyone from reading this comic. It really is wonderful for most of the time. Apparently it is a part of a series that Niffenegger will be continuing in the future and I sincerely hope that as a whole the series is as lovely as the majority of The Night Bookmobile was.
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More About the Author

Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and a faculty member at Columbia College in Chicago. In addition to her bestselling debut novel, The Time Traveler's Wife, she is the author of two illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress. She lives in Chicago.

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