I can think of no better way to begin 2023 that with a review of this short, yet fascinating, book by college librarian/author Peter Briscoe. The book is only 75 pages in length and has 5 short stories, with the main story being the title of the book.
“The Bookseller” has as its main story the theft of books from a library in Ecuador, and the fact that nobody who works at the library was aware of this theft. Why do people steal books, and what do they do with these books? Where do the stolen books eventually find a new home and how do people react when they discover their “new” books they bought were actually stolen? Briscoe deftly is able to answer these questions and then moves on to even larger questions that we, as readers, need to seriously consider.
Briscoe uses this book theft to discuss the demise of public libraries, the rise of digital publishing and electronic libraries to ponder the fate of reading. Social media has changed our reading habits and with that fewer young people read, or even know how to read anything longer than 2 sentences in length. The book is a cautionary tale of the future of books.
Briscoe is a Librarian Emeritus at UC-Riverside and has used his vast experiences as a librarian to craft a marvelous story, one that every reader should make time to read in 2023. And, I am happy that Peter has agreed to be on a special episode of my “Books & Looks” Podcast on January 10, 2023 to discuss his books and the larger issues about libraries and reading. Tune in to your favorite podcast site for this special interview.