Finding home in a community of booklovers
There is power in words. A book requires its reader to fill in the blanks, to imagine a world into being. Sometimes, that world is grander than reality.
That’s always appealed to Swedish bookstore clerk Sara Lindqvist. Books are better company than most people, and they’ve taken her to the most amazing places.
The words of Sara’s pen pal, elderly Amy Harris, also appeal to Sara’s imagination. The two struck up a friendship over an exchange of letters and books, and Amy invited Sara to visit her in Broken Wheel, Iowa, to explore the town and fit in plenty of reading. Sara is in.
Unfortunately, she arrives just after Amy’s funeral. Suddenly, Sara is slapped with a reminder that truth isn’t always as interesting as fiction.
Sara finds comfort in Amy’s books and becomes determined to draw the townspeople into the world of words. She uses Amy’s collection to launch Oak Tree Bookstore, which becomes a Main Street hub, drawing visitors from beyond Broken Wheel. With every book she sells (or lends), Sara comes closer to finding purpose and a home in a place she didn’t expect to belong.
In The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend, Swedish author Katarina Bivald beautifully illustrates the relationship between a reader and her books. Sara once used books as a barrier, but she comes to learn how exchanging stories can connect people—and finds that sometimes, life can surpass even your favorite book.
This article was originally published in the January 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.