The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Book - 2016
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"Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy's funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist--even if they don't understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that's almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend's memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town. Reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, this is a warm, witty book about friendship, stories, and love" -- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: Naperville, Illinois :, Sourcebooks Landmark,, 2016
ISBN: 9781492623441
Characteristics: 394 pages ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Menzies, Alice - Translator


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l_alvidrez Jan 17, 2019

Utterly delightful. Sara travels from Sweden to meet her long-time pen pal in Iowa, only to find that Amy has died before she arrives. Sara and the town save each other. Full of references to other great books!

Aug 09, 2018

I'm three quarters of the way through this book and it has been a struggle to get that far. The story plods along so slowly and is not engaging enough for me to read more than a few pages at a time. I hate to give up that far into a book, but it's just soooo slow and not very interesting.

Jan 15, 2018

Things I liked about this book: the setting in Iowa (my home state), Sara and Amy's friendship which is the catalyst in bringing her to Iowa, all the books(!) and the ways a "bookstore" transforms Broken Wheel. It was gratifying to watch the lives of the citizens of Broken Wheel improve for the most part in the story arc.

Some of the relationships in the book -- I'll refrain from specifying to avoid spoilers rang false to me and/or were not respectful to my high view of marriage.

Oct 20, 2017

An unexpected gem of a find. The book unfolds quietly but rather joyously to me.

It is the story of two women exchanging letters and books. Vastly different ages and locations.

Sara, the younger, decides to visit Amy after her bookstore job in Sweden is eliminated. She arrives in Broken Wheel, Iowa to find herself in time for Amy's funeral/wake. She decides to stay and soon finds herself adopted by the townspeople as their "tourist".

With no one accepting payment for food or lodging, she decides to open a bookstore with Amy's personal library as a sort of community center and the project is adopted by all in varying ways.

The bookstore struggles to find its way even as Hope's wealthier residents arrive to peruse the shelves. Something that prompt BW's residents to show themselves as more cosmopolitan and cultured.

Little by little changes occur to the residents and none more so than prim and proper Caroline.

A lovely ode to books and their readers.

Sep 26, 2017

If you are a book lover and love a quirky story, then grab this one.

JCLMargaretO Jul 25, 2017

What a delightful book! Love the characters, love the story, and love seeing how many books referenced were also on my bookshelves. Fun, quirky characters in this tiny little town will steal your heart. Makes a great book group discussion selection.

Jan 15, 2017

For book lovers and those who want a great people story. I can see this book becoming a movie with its great characters.

Dec 24, 2016

4 stars for the story not necessarily for the literary style of writing. I'll take a good story over a fabulous writing style most of the time. Broken Wheel is a "blink and you'll miss it" town. The author took us down main street in a very slow yet detailed manor, rich in the inner lives of its inhabitants and those it affects. Life is what you make it!

FindingJane Nov 30, 2016

Broken Wheel isn’t a quiet little town. It isn’t a greasy burger joint off Route 66. It’s somewhere in between, a town where people have lost interest, where businesses have been boarded up for years, a town abandoned by the young folk to seek their fortune in the nearest big city, Hope IA, and a place where the older people have settled to die of polite boredom. Enter Sara, a Swedish tourist who’s come to meet her pen pal—only to be informed that she died shortly before Sara arrived.

Sara isn’t one of those volatile personalities who arrive to shake up everybody with dancing, wild outfits or outré outlooks on life. She’s a book nerd who believes that books are better than people and has the shy, retiring nature to show for it. So I liked her at once.

This book takes a while to get going. Its glacial pacing means that you’re slowly immersed in the lives of Broken Wheel’s inhabitants: the town drunk Poor George with his on-again, off-again sobriety; the neighborhood religious pillar of righteousness Caroline and the town loose woman named Grace (although her real name is Madeleine), descended from a long line of Graces who pride themselves in their wrong decisions and outlaw ways, to name a few.

These people are far more interesting than Sara is at the start and that seemed wrong to me. Surely the protagonist is the one who should capture the attention! But Sara sees herself as a minor player in her own life, even as she slowly but surely acts as a catalyst for change.

This is a novel I would recommend for people who like to take their time to settle into a book. Far from being a novel you plunge into headfirst, the book, like Broken Wheel itself, creeps up on you with a steady pull. And, yes, it does promote the adoration of books, that grand passion that can seize even the wary.

SPL_Brittany Oct 13, 2016

A fun and light read with real warmth! Readers will feel a real sense of place in this novel, and enjoy it's wonderful cast of characters as they follow Sarah during her stay in Broken Wheel, Iowa. A great read for book lovers and for those who enjoy reading about small town life through multiple characters.

I highly recommend listening to the audio book - the narrator is fantastic with accents and bringing the characters to life!

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SPL_Robyn Sep 15, 2015

What’s a young woman from Sweden doing in a teensy mid-west Iowa town? Well, she is not seeing the sights, that’s for sure. She is also not meeting her elderly pen-pal, Amy, who passed away right before she arrived on her trans-Atlantic flight.

What she is doing, for the first time in her life, is living life outside of the books she loves to read and re-read. Sara and Amy’s love of books forged them a friendship across the miles and when Sara arrives in Broken Wheel to find her one living friend no longer living, she feels more alone than ever. The townspeople don’t know what to make of her – she is so quiet, undemanding and, well… lost. But so are they, as Sara comes to learn, and she decides to give them something for the kindness they’ve shown her – the town’s first bookstore. With the Oak Tree Bookstore comes a sense of a sense of civic pride, a sense of family, some mending of long-broken fences, and a new sense of hope to the dying town’s residents.

In fact, The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend is a story wrapped around an ode to the small mom-and-pop bookstores that are slowly disappearing, and to the shopkeepers who know their wares so intimately they can instinctively find the book you need as well as the book you want. It is also an ode to book lovers and books of all shades of noir, romantic pink and yes, grey. As a matter of fact in reading this novel, you’ll find references to so many great books that your to-be-read pile is sure to grow!


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