Sunday, October 17, 2010

Chicago Author Month: The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Niffenegger

Chicagoan Audrey Niffenegger is best known for her popular novels, The Time Traveler's Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, but has now created The Night Bookmobile, a graphic novel that combines all of her talents.

Niffenegger is not only a talented writer, she is also a visual artist. She trained at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and received her MFA from Northwestern University. She has been an exhibiting artist and a book arts professor at Columbia College in Chicago for many years.

Niffenegger first conceived of The Time Traveler's Wife as a graphic novel, but the time traveling images were too difficult to draw, so she turned it into a regular novel. As many of our customers know by now, The Time Traveler's Wife was set in Chicago, with scenes that ranged from cultural institutions like the Art Institute and the Newberry Library to unique Chicago restaurants like Ann Sather and the Berghoff. (Check out this cool Time Traveler's Wife Chicago Landmark map.)

Like The Time Traveler's Wife, The Night Bookmobile is set in Chicago. The haunted bookmobile makes surprise appearances in front of Story Studio, a writing arts center in the Ravenswood neighborhood, Wrigley Field, and in an alley near The Empty Bottle on Western Avenue.

The Night Bookmobile is the perfect vehicle for Niffenegger's gifts. As Neil Gaiman says on the back cover, it is "a love letter, both elegiac and heartbreaking, to the things we have read, and to the readers that we are."

The haunting story and pictures will appeal to anyone who has ever described a reading experience as "pure heaven." Imagine a bookmobile filled with everything you have ever read: not just Judy Blume, Nancy Drew and The Fountainhead, but also college textbooks, cereal boxes and your own diary. (Go ahead, imagine your library now. Fun, isn't it?) I enjoyed pouring over the lovely pictures of the Night Bookmobile's shelves, counting how many of those books would be in my Night Bookmobile too. But as pleasing as the possibility of your own private library in eternity would be, this chilling tale makes you realize . . . be careful what you wish for. It comes at a very high price.

We highly recommend The Night Bookmobile to our customers who might enjoy a haunting tale about books. It would make a great Halloween or holiday gift for the adult reader in your life.

Looks like we've made another great Chicago Author Month discovery. Come check out our Chicago Author Shelf at The Bookstore, which includes this and Niffenegger's other books. (The Night Bookmobile, Abrams ComicArts $19.95)


  1. Sounds lovely! I can't wait to come in and drool over it.

  2. I'm really looking forward to reading this. I love books about books and Niffenegger's illustrations are wonderful. I hope she's at the Printers Row Lit Fest next summer to talk about it!


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