I love books. And I love books about books and people who love books and libraries. One of my favorite Ray Bradbury stories is the one about writing Fahrenheit 451 — a book about people who love books — on rental typewriters in the basement of his library for 10 cents a half-hour. One of my favorite books I’ve read in recent years is The Haunted Bookshop, which revolves around a man who loves books.
And so I was a sucker for The Last Chance Library by Freya Sampson. It’s about the shy assistant librarian in a small English village whose life is turned upside down by a pending decision to close the town library. With the help of a kindly old gentleman, a feisty veteran of women’s liberation protests, a crabby old lady, a teen, a little boy and a recent immigrant, among other quirky characters, she gets involved in the effort to save the library.
They all love books, of course, but the point is that the library is an important and irreplaceable community meeting place in small towns. And of course the effort breaks her out of the shell she’s been in for many years.
It’s a charming little book for book lovers and I recommend it to anyone who fits the description. This is a lovely debut novel for Sampson, who apparently works in TV but let’s not hold that against her.