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Roger Mifflin is a travelling book salesman who, while small and a bit funny-looking, is confident that “When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue, you sell him a whole new life.” This is news to spinster Helen McGill, who has little to do with books on her brother’s farm. But cooking and cleaning for her brother is distinctly lacking in delights, and on a whim that surprises herself most of all, Helen jumps onboard Mifflin’s traveling wagon full of books and finds herself smitten with the man’s philosophy of bookselling as a duty and an art—and just maybe smitten with the man as well. Mifflin uses his characters to expound his own theories about the tremendous joys of book reading, and as readers, we’re simply delighted to let him do so. There’s a sequel, The Haunted Bookshop, that not only furthers the lives of the Roger Mifflin and Helen McGill, but also offer more opportunities to demonstrate how influential and powerful books can be. Parnassus on Wheels was written nearly one hundred years ago and the sweet little tale of book love has well withstood the test of time. It is, after all, a romance between people as well as a romance between people and books.
posted Jul 13, 2009 at 11:08AM
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