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Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
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Parnassus on Wheels (1917)

by Christopher Morley

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Roger Mifflin (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
895None9,838 (3.92)234
  1. 40
    84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff (bookwoman247)
    bookwoman247: If you are charmed by Parnassus, you will also be charmed by this non-fiction account of the friendship between a New York writer and the manager of a London bookshop, begun in the years just after the war and carried on for 20 - 30 years through letters.… (more)
  2. 00
    Off in Zora: A Modern-Day Tale of a Traveling Bookseller by Alan Armstrong (benjclark)
    benjclark: "Because Parnassus on Wheels was read aloud to him as a boy, Alan Armstrong always imagined himself as a Merchant Adventurer dealing in books...." - back blurb.
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» See also 234 mentions

English (48)  Spanish (9)  Catalan (2)  Italian (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (62)
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Definitely a lost classic! This novella from the early 20th century is an adorable story about a bored farm woman who wants an adventure so she buys a bookseller's wagon. A wonderful, fun story about books and love at any age. ( )
  bookwyrmm | Apr 11, 2014 |
Helen McGill's brother has become a celebrated author, while she has been relegated to cooking all his meals and doing most of the work around their farmhouse as he spends more and more time away. Then, one day, a traveling bookseller arrives, hoping to sell his entire operation to her brother. On a whim, Helen buys it herself, and sets off on her own literary adventure.

It's a charming, good-hearted little story, one that's calculated to appeal to book-lovers, and, at novella-length, is exactly as long as it needs to be. It's also left me rather wistfully longing for a life spent wandering the countryside in a horse-drawn bookmobile. ( )
1 vote bragan | Mar 24, 2014 |
This is a delightful book, perfect for a holiday break. The illustrations by Douglas Gorsline are perfect.

First published in 1917, the book was well reviewed by the Boston Evening Transcript:



To read Parnassus on Wheels is to be glad there are books in the world. It is graceful in style, light in substance, merry in its attitude toward life, and entertaining in every aspect of its plot and insight into character.

Yes! This short novel, weighing in at only 160 pages, is written in the robust first person voice of Miss McGill, a 39 year old New England spinster who, having baked (by her calculations) 6,000 loaves of bread while looking after her author brother, decides to take off in a horse drawn book mobile. The previous owner, Roger Mifflin, a wiry, feisty, humane purveyor of literature to the countryside, intends to write a book of his own. His philosophy and their friendship is the heart of the book.

Having read it, and smiling while I post, I am heartened now about ebooks for two reasons. First of all, I had to wait for ages to get this book from the library, but if I already had an ereader (which I intend to get soon), I could have downloaded it here. And so ereaders combat the short shelf life of books that should outlast the shelves. Secondly, in thinking about Mifflin's (and presumably Morley's) thoughts on literature, I can see how ereaders and ebooks may bring literature to the far reaches of the globe.

I recently saw a news story about the one laptop per child program, and how much difference it has made in the children's and their families' lives. The representative from the program said that in his experience the best part of the program is that it breaks the isolation that these people suffer from. But it isn't only practical information that is available. So is literature.

To quote Roger Mifflin:

What I say is, who has ever gone out into high roads and hedges to bring literature home to the plain man? To bring it home to his business and bosom, as somebody says? The farther into the country you go, the fewer and worse books you find...[Y]ou've got to go out and visit the people yourself--take the books to them...and then little by little you begin to get good books circulating in the veins of the nation. (p 75)

( )
1 vote liliannattel | Feb 6, 2014 |
Completely charming.
1 vote RGilbraith | Jan 5, 2014 |
Brilliantly evocative of a now distant era, making you wish it were still possible to earn a living as a traveling book vender. I especially appreciated that the heroine of the tale was middle aged and, by her own description, "fat," yet still found love and and fulfillment, an outcome unlikely in our present times with skewed associations between physical beauty and worthiness. ( )
1 vote dono421846 | Dec 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Morleyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gorsline, DonaldIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To H. B. F. and H. F. M.
"Trusty, dusky, vivid, true"
First words
I wonder if there isn't a lot of bunkum in higher education?
Quotations
"Lord!" he said, "when you sell a man a book you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue—you sell him a whole new life. Love and friendship and humour and ships at sea by night—there's all heaven and earth in a book, a real book I mean. Jimmy! If I were the baker or the butcher or the broom huckster, people would run to the gate when I came by—just waiting for my stuff. And here I go loaded with everlasting salvation—yes, ma'am, salvation for their little, stunted minds—and it's hard to make 'em see it."
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0380627035, Paperback)

This is a pre-1923 historical reproduction that was curated for quality. Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:05 -0400)

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