To Read or Not to Read

January 31, 2017

to read or not to read book review“I rent time for people to read, Frau McClain. Time for people who have no time to spare.” Strauss’ eyes twinkled. (Loc. 192-193)

I picked up To Read or Not to Read by Vincent Hobbes a few years ago and I rated it pretty low because I didn’t know at the time that I was reading a short story belonging to the horror genre. However, now I thought that I needed to reread it and re-evaluate the story because I grew up as a reader and I’ve read a more diverse range of books than I used to four years ago.

This story revolves around a quaint little bookstore named Strauss Books after its German owner, Mr Günter von Strauss, a secret place known only by a few people. Despite the fact that Strauss is a mysterious and eccentric old man who rips out pages from the books he stacks to keep his clients safe, he is very polite and friendly to the people who enter his bookstore, including Shelby McClain, the woman whom we follow throughout the entire story. Should she follow her instinct and leave this odd place, or give in, pick a book and see what happens? Are Mr Strauss’ books magical as the customers claim? Read and you will find out!

I love the concept of a magic bookstore, where you can buy time to read and experience the book of your choice for a few minute. It’s a bit like in Eliade’s novella, where time flows differently after you close the door behind you and the rules of the outside world just vanish away. The story has a steady pace, it’s suspenseful, the writing is simple but it suits the narrative well and the characters have distinguishable voices. I personally wanted to learn more about the German librarian, who seems to be a kind of link between two very different worlds.

I hope that this review sparked your interest in reading this short and enjoyable book. Personally, I’m glad that I finally gave it a second chance, it was definitely worth it. Happy reading everyone!

by Alina Andreea Cătărău

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4 Responses to To Read or Not to Read

  1. Elena Atudosiei on January 31, 2017 at 8:08 am

    So… we’ve got reading, magic, and horror. Right? I like how that sounds!

    • Alina Andreea Catarau on January 31, 2017 at 10:33 am

      Yes, you’re right. I’m sure you would enjoy reading it.

      • Elena Atudosiei on January 31, 2017 at 12:21 pm

        The thing is… the cover is ugly. I’ll probably read the story because you recommended it, but I would have overlooked it in a different situation.

        • Alina Andreea Catarau on January 31, 2017 at 10:07 pm

          I can understand that. :)

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