12/27/16

The Bookshop on the Corner - Jenny Colgan {REVIEW}

 

I try to balance the books I read as much as I can. I enjoy reading non-fiction, especially books that deal with various issues of conflict that exist within our society, but I also enjoy YA novels, crime novels, and fiction in general. My interests are all over the place, and I like to try and read more lighthearted books in between more serious ones. I think that was part of what draw me to The Bookshop on the Corner, which I came across one day while browsing Amazon. In all honesty, it also reminded me of one of my favorite movies (You've Got Mail), which might have led to my picking it up on a whim.

When I bought the book, I honestly didn't know a thing about it. I had never heard of the author, Jenny Colgan before, and I didn't know the premise of the book. I tend to do that a lot, and in most cases I have a fairly good track record.

On Goodreads, I gave The Bookshop on the Corner three stars. Really, I would have rather given it 3.5. I wish Goodreads would allow you to give half...or even quarter stars. Sometimes it's so difficult to rate a book this way - I find that many times, I feel torn and I want to be able to rate a book in the middle of two numbers. Maybe that's more about me, and less about the books...anyway...

As my rating suggests, I did enjoy reading The Bookshop on the Corner. I think that sometimes we seek out books that take us to places with unrealistic expectations, but which are still set in the real world. I find this kind of adventure satisfying sometimes. Fantasy blended with the everyday. I think that The Bookshop on the Corner fits this description. I loved the main character Nina's love of books, and I was rooting for her dream of owning a bookshop, as I admittedly dream of owning my own bookstore as well. It's a pipe dream I've had ever since I was little. I also enjoyed the relationships, both romantic and otherwise, that blossomed in the book. The tension between characters often exploded from the page and I think that you could really grasp the emotion in certain scenes. I did though, find that Nina's adventures were often too easy, or too perfect - at least from my perspective.

Sometimes, I found myself having to reread a section because it felt like there was a lack of continuity in terms of the story line. Perhaps I was drifting off, as I tend to read at night when the house is quiet, but I think that the story sometimes got a bit confusing to follow.

There was also a language barrier so to speak, between the book and I. I found that some of the language, and the style of writing/dialogue left me a bit in the dark if that makes any sense. In most cases I could infer from the rest of it, but there were a few instances in which I simply felt lost. I don't really fault the author for this though!

I also really enjoyed a quote later in the book regarding community. Colgan writes, "Nina had grown to understand the longer she stayed there that because they were so far away from big-city attractions, and because the weather was so often not their friend, they had to rely on each other through the long winter evenings and difficult days. It was an actual community, not just a long row of houses full of people who happened to live next to one another. There was a difference, and she had simply never realized it before" (p.230).

This statement really resonated with me because while I have moved a handful of times in my life (or two handfuls really), I have never felt community. I have always lived in places where I had neighbors, but I've never felt any true sense of community. I've lived in rural areas, and in urban areas and that connection to those around you has consistently been absent. I think that theme sort of contributed to the feeling that this story was rooted in fantasy, as I have never experienced that kind of environment first hand.

I enjoyed The Bookshop on the Corner, and I would welcome a continuation of the story of Nina and her cohorts. Reading this book was a nice break in between heavier non-fiction reads. It was perhaps just the right kind of fantasy escape that I needed. I can also say that I now have a strong desire to travel to Scotland...so I suppose that means the book really had an effect on me. ;) 

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