Katarina Bivald’s character driven novel about the sheer love of reading, gave me a such a joyful reminder of why I like to live among words, and why books are scattered all over my house, that I sat down with my cup of tea and blanket, as I escaped with a strong curiosity about Sweden and a visual in my head of Broken Wheel, Iowa.
You see, just like Sara, Bivald’s main character, I like to smell books; old books, new books, the ones with colorful spines and gold lettering and the ones that seem nondescript but leave you fully satisfied when all is said and done. This was one of those books.
A story full of potential. A book about books. A book about words that compel, a book with words that charm and make you weep. A book that offers comfort and healing.
I wondered at the direction the author chose for her main character, Sara, who appeared in the middle of the street, reading a book, new to the country and Broken Wheel.The beginning was slow. Sara’s character seemed almost too quiet, too simple, in comparison to the community and their voices, as she sat there wondering why Amy was late to pick her up. When it became clear Sara needed to be there, in that moment, the town’s outward appearance did nothing to dissuade me from its residents. Each one with their own story. Broken but purposeful. Quirky and intelligent. The one person Sara wanted to see, not there to pick her up was Amy. Amy has just died. A blow to everyone who knew Amy and a shock to Sara who is mowed down with kindness by the people of Broken Wheel, asking her to stay at Amy’s house, because it was what she wanted.
The story takes off from there.
Sara who for all intents and purposes came to Broken Wheel from Sweden, to find herself and step out of her comfort zone, has lost her job and identity. Instead, the town finds its own identity through Sara. We learn about the people of Broken Wheel through a series of letters between Amy and Sara, as we watch their friendship grow and develop layers. Comfortable layers, like an old sweater that’s been washed many times. Even without the presence of Amy’s solid character, her voice resonates through everyone there.The alcoholic who is quiet, without a voice and yet finds his true calling. The tough, negative, bar tender who does not realize her own worth. The beautiful partnership between Andy and Carl, Tom who is as strong as he needs to be, but vulnerable when it counts, and Caroline, my absolute favorite. Caroline who is dutiful and pious, so many layers to her character and completely not who she appears to be. It is ultimately a story about loving books so much that one forgets themselves. It is a reminder that community built book stores can restore faith in humanity and can bind and heal a community. Katarina Bivald has reinforced for all book lovers through Sara, that each person has an invaluable contribution to society, as she unites a community through her love of books.
Thank you to NetGalley and Sourcebooks for an advance review copy. So happy to participate in the Blog Tour for ‘The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend.’
Title : The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend
Release Date: January 19th, 2016
- Sourcebooks landmark
- Kindle Edition, January, 2016
- eISBN: 978-1-4926-2344-1 ( e-book)
- Sourcebooks has also launched a reader voting campaign to grant money to community book stores. Please check it out.
Sourcebooks Launches Reader Voting Campaign to Grant Money to Community Bookstores
NAPERVILLE IL (January 5, 2016) — Independent publisher Sourcebooks announces the “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore” campaign, which will give grant money to three nominated bookstores. The “Readers, Recommend Your Bookstore Campaign” is inspired by the phenomenal support booksellers have given The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald, which was selected as the #1 Indie Next Great Read for January 2016.
Katarina Bivald’s international bestselling debut novel, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, is a charming, big-hearted story about the joy of books and the transformative power of community bookstores.
“Bookstores are the heart and soul of their community and have enormous impact on readers’ lives,” said Dominique Raccah, founder and CEO of Sourcebooks. “The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend inspired us to create a campaign that will not only give back to a few deserving bookstores, but hopefully highlight all the many wonderful bookstores that service communities across the country.”
Anyone can nominate their favorite bookstore at http://books.sourcebooks.com/readers-recommend-your-bookstore-sweepstakes/. Sourcebooks will award the winning bookstore with a $3,000 prize; two additional bookstores will each receive a $637 prize (the population of Bivald’s fictional Broken Wheel, Iowa). In addition to bookstores receiving prizes, weekly giveaways for those who nominate will be held throughout the campaign. Voting began January 4, and runs until February 19, when the winning bookstores will be announced.