The Night Bookmobile is a dark, haunting, graphic picture book tale of the obsessions one can have with books and reading. Alexandra leaves her home one rainy night after arguing with her boyfriend and walks the streets. It’s after midnight and she discovers an unusual small bus known as the Night Bookmobile. Approaching the door, it is answered by Robert, the librarian, who invites her aboard, serving her tea. On the Night Bookmobile Alexandra finds every single book she’s every read, from her first to the ones she read as a kid, to her cherished books in college, to the paperbacks she finished recently; even her personal diary is here. Surprised beyond belief, she enjoys her tea, looking over and reading through the books, taking a trip down memory lane. But the Night Bookmobile’s hours are limited, only from dusk until dawn, and as the light begins to grow, Robert wishes her a good night. As the years pass, Alexandra wonders if she’ll ever see the Night Bookmobile again, and her wish is to one day work for Robert, or perhaps even become a librarian with him.
The story was originally serialized in the Guardian, and in the afterword Niffenegger explains that it was an idea she couldn’t get out of her head and there will be more to tell in this story. While the end is a little unexpected with perhaps deeper ramifications than intended, overall it is a moving short story that will resonate with all readers who know what’s it like to fall in love with books and reading.
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Originally written on March 4, 2011 ©Alex C. Telander.
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