Bookstories

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Bookstories by Sarah Tollok

“Every book lover says it at one time or another, don’t they? That they want to read ‘all the books’?” In 1960, junior editor Dottie Barber is up to her elbows in the slush pile of a New York publishing house. All of Dottie’s friends and colleagues know her to be a book lover through and through, but what they don’t know is that she has a special intuitive ability to understand pieces of a writer’s life just by reading their words. Only one writer has ever baffled Dottie’s empathic understanding: the mysterious author of brilliant stories submitted to the publishing house with no endings and no name. Every day, Dottie looks for a new envelope from the author, but each submission only adds to her bittersweet frustration. Nearly sixty years later, the mystery remains unsolved. Dottie’s career in publishing has amassed her a wealth of bookish friends, part ownership in a bookstore, and an enormous private library full of treasures and secrets, yet she still yearns to uncover the identity of the unknown author. She’s well into retirement when she meets Jim, a young playwright living in the basement apartment of her building. Despite being at opposite ends of their respective stories, the two become fast friends. Together, they search for the perfect reader—one who can help them finally decipher the author’s identity. A braided narrative of interconnected lives and stories, Bookstories is an ode to the authors, editors, publishers, librarians, booksellers, and countless others who make up the ecosystem of books. After all, it takes a world of people to bring about a world of books.

AdultFantasy/Magical RealismLiterary FictionDiversity Representation/LGBTQ+

Content Warning: nongraphic depiction of suicide by train, reference to child porn, reference to domestic violence, depiction of psychotic episode


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