The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger


Author: Audrey Niffenegger

Title: The Night Bookmobile

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2010

Number of Pages: 40 pages

Geographical Setting: Chicago, Illinois

Time Period: 1980-2004

Plot Summary: After a fight with her then-boyfriend, Lexi walks the streets of Chicago (specifically Ravenswood Avenue and Belle Plaine) trying to cool down.  Suddenly, she sees a battered Winnebago playing a Bob Marley tune she knows.  She approaches and finds that this is a Bookmobile.  But, this is not any bookmobile; it’s one that is full of every single thing that Lexi has read in her entire life.  It’s run by a man named Robert, a gentleman who serves her tea and doesn’t bother her as she uses the library for its entire hour of operation (from dusk until dawn).  The bookmobile doesn’t show up with any regular schedule; it shows up at different places in different times over the years.  Lexi is the only one who can see it.  She obsessively waits for the moments when she can interact with the bookmobile again.  She reads and reads in order to get back to it.  Lexi, through all of this reading, rediscovers her love for books and literacy and becomes a librarian. As time goes on, Alexandra decides she wants to work on the bookmobile…even after learning the high cost that comes with the job.

Subject Headings: Bookmobile, Books, Collecting, Chicago, Graphic Novel, Art

Appeal: Intimate, Accessible, Candid, Dramatic, Simple, Unembellished, Eccentric Characters, Accurate Setting, Thought-Provoking, Spare Linguistically, Steady, Surprising, Melancholy

3 terms that best describe this book: Artful (both in storytelling and illustration), Evolutionary, Emotional

3 Relevant Fiction Works:

Insomnia by M. K. Perker: A graphic novel that chronicles the misgivings of a rare book expert.

The Uncommon Reader by Allan Bennett: Features a bookmobile in a more amusing light.

Filthy Rich by Brian Azzarello: A graphic novel that, though it’s on a different topic, reflects Bookmobile’s melancholy tone.

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works:

Lying: A Metaphorical Memoir by Lauren Slater: A woman who has a complex obsession takes readers into her mind to explore a constantly restless conciousness.

Ex libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman: This collection of essays discusses the central importance of books and reading in someone’s life.

The New Woman as Librarian: The Career of Adelaide Hasse by Clare Beck: This is the story of what one controversial woman suffered through in order to achieve her career goal of becoming a librarian.


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