The Night Bookmobile

The Night Bookmobile

by Audrey Niffenegger


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Audrey Niffenegger, the New York Times bestselling author of The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, has crafted her first graphic novel after the success of her two critically acclaimed “novels-in-pictures.” First serialized as a weekly column in the UK’s Guardian newspaper, The Night Bookmobile tells the story of a wistful woman who one night encounters a mysterious disappearing library on wheels that contains every book she has ever read. Seeing her history and most intimate self in this library, she embarks on a search for the bookmobile. But her search turns into an obsession, as she longs to be reunited with her own collection and memories.

The Night Bookmobile is a haunting tale of both transcendence and the passion for books, and features the evocative full-color pen-and-ink work of one of the world’s most beloved storytellers.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780810996175
Publisher: ABRAMS
Publication date: 09/01/2010
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 696,957
Product dimensions: 11.80(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 - 12 Years

About the Author

Audrey Niffenegger is the author of the international bestseller The Time Traveler’s Wife, as well as Her Fearful Symmetry. She is also the author and illustrator of two Abrams “novels-in-pictures,” The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress. She lives in Chicago.


Chicago, Illinois

Date of Birth:

June 13, 1963

Place of Birth:

South Haven, Michigan


B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1985; M.F.A., Northwestern University, 1991

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The Night Bookmobile 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
This was good. That is quite the library. It makes you wonder while its many books, where to even start? That's quite the job though. Yet another book amongst books about books I'm breezing through.
LostSeekingBlue More than 1 year ago
For those of us who have dreamed of the library, this is a glimpse into the mirror of our own souls. For those of you who haven't, it's an interesting tale.
-Eva- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This didn't work very well for me at all. The story had such potential and a great start and I was willing to overlook the rather poor drawings, but the ending is so depressing and frankly a little rude to voracious readers that I was put right off. I was hoping for something that celebrated book-lovers and was given quite the opposite.
khiemstra631 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't resist a graphic novel about a librarian/book lover. Out for a walk early one summer morning, Lexi discovered the night bookmobile parked at a Chicago intersection, thumping out some of her favorite music. Inside was the librarian, Robert Openshaw. Upon browsing the collection, Lexi realized that she had read all of the books on board, and many were her personal copies. She visits the night bookmobile a few more times down through the years and eventually becomes a librarian herself. Near the end of the book, she is appointed director of a branch of the Chicago Public Library. Still, she cannot let go of the idea of becoming a librarian on the night bookmobile. Understanding dawns on her as she seeks to achieve her goal. Can't say anything more without giving too much away!
pocketmermaid on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I couldn't get this creepy little book out of my head for days after reading it. What reader wouldn't be fascinated with this story? A bookmobile that contains everything you've ever read and the woman who spends her life preoccupied with its existence.There's an adage from the Bible that sums up this story: Those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Well, there's no violence in this story, but the tragedy is all the same.If an addiction is driving you, it is dangerous. It doesn't matter if that addiction is drugs, sky-diving, fishing, bottle-cap collecting, or reading every book you can get your hands on. All addictions are ultimately dangerous. And obsessions are a type of addiction. Lexi is obsessed with the mysterious night bookmobile she encounters one night, and she spends her life preoccupied with chasing it down again.She lets the elusive bookmobile dominate her entire existence. Lexi devotes herself to books at the expense of meaningful relationships and living a full life. It's a cautionary tale of how dangerous it is to give something the power to destroy your life. Lexi's passion is self-destructive, to say the least, and her obsession blocks her from attaining anything remotely satisfying. To me, this story was less about books and being a reader - they are just a stand in for anything you might love a little too much - and more about the horrors of allowing yourself to be truly unhinged from reality.
carrieprice78 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
So just because Audrey Niffenegger wrote it, I'm supposed to like it? Sorry. I haven't read "The Time Traveler's Wife" yet, and now I'm certainly not going to. This book left a lot to be desired. First of all, it almost presents itself as a children's book, which it is absolutely not. Second of all, the illustrations are horrible. They are just not good. They are very, very bad.The story itself is shallow. Whatever point Niffenegger is trying to make here is inconsequential when one has to contemplate such bad drawings that actually made their way into print.There's a surprise twist ending, and afterwards, there's an epilogue about how awesome the author is because she used to have dreams about this very topic, and isn't that so very special and amazing?The one good thing about this book is that it only took me ten minutes to read. One star for that.
TheDivineOomba on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
First off, the book was well written. Graphics only so-so. But, just because it was well written didn't mean I liked it. I found the main character annoying - throwing her life away for an encounter with the Night Bookmobile. The ending was horrible. I won't surprise it for you, but I found it very distasteful.
librisalexandria on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you are a confirmed bibliomaniac like I am, this is the book for you. It's actually a cautionary tale, but I'll be in denial and prefer to see it as a dream come true. You judge for yourself. Not a book for children.
bragan on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A short graphic novel about a woman who, wandering the streets of Chicago at night, encounters a battered Winnebago inside which is a library containing everything she's ever read. I find this idea utterly irresistible, largely because for many, many years I've repeatedly imagined just such a library of my own, with all the books of my life shelved in order, and wistfully longed to be able to visit it and see my life's reading spread out in front of me: the well-remembered classics and the forgotten volumes, the picture books giving way to kids' books to the books that shaped me in my teenage years and on through the slow progression of my changing adult tastes... Unfortunately, while seeing that dream brought to life on pages in front of me was wonderful, the main character's unhealthy obsession with her own Night Bookmobile library was less so, and the ending rather put me off. Ah, well, at least I can dream of my own Bookmobile in the full confidence that I'd handle the experience much more sensibly. And if the moral Niffenegger is trying to convey here is that too much love of books is unhealthy, she can bite me.
callmecayce on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I really liked Niffenegger's graphic novel, until I got to the end. I wanted to like the whole thing, but I felt kind of cheated. Maybe it's because I'm a librarian, but while I liked the concept of what the night bookmobile stood for, I didn't like the way one became a night bookmobile librarian. The Night Bookmobile is yet another example of why I don't like short stories. That being said, it's actually a fantastic graphic novel. The drawings are thoughtful and lovingly done. And while I didn't like the end, it does work within the context of the story. I won't read it again, because it did break my heart, but I won't hesitate to recommend it, either. Mostly because it made me react so strongly, which means it's doing something right.
LynnB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book starts with a, to me, irresistible concept: a bookmobile containing everything a person has ever read, all neatly catalogued. Alexandra discovers her personal "night bookmobile" while wandering the streets late one night and is so intrigued by it, she becomes a librarian.Like many others, I didn't enjoy the ending.. But I still love the concept of a personal library.
MickyFine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've been eagerly awaiting this book from the library ever since I learned of its existence. Between being by Audrey Niffenegger (whose other novels I really loved) and being about books/libraries, I had high expectations. While I wasn't disappointed, I wasn't blown away either.The premise is that while wandering one night, Alexandra encounters the night bookmobile which holds every single book she has ever read. She then spends her life trying to find the bookmobile again.The concept is an interesting one and there is an obvious love for books, reading, and libraries in every page. But I had a small issue with the ending (which I won't give away). I also am not sure I would call this a graphic novel (although that's how it's described on the book jacket). Although there is an obvious influence of graphic novels in some of the page formatting, to me it felt more like a picture book for adults (not bad, just me quibbling).A short and lovely read but not as great as I had hoped.
StoutHearted on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audrey Niffeneggar, you are a strange, strange woman. But you make for reading that is definitely something interesting and different from the work of other modern authors!"The Night Bookmobile" tells the strange tale of a woman who stumbles upon a mysterious bookmobile in the middle of the night. Inside, she discovers that its collection is quite unique -- it is a collection of every book, every piece of material she has ever read! From "Anna Karenina" to the back of a cereal box, it's all there. At dawn the bookmobile goes on its way, and the woman is left bereft and obsessed with becoming part of this curious library. Despite her efforts, she only manages to come across it a few times in the span of many years, until she is driven to the brink of obsession.As a graphic novel, the art is charming, but not exquisitely done. Though roughly drawn, the art captures certain expressions that help in character development.The story is brief and it ends on an odd note (like many of Niffeneggar's works), but it tackles the theme of the obsession with reading. How much is too much? Do we avid readers let life go by in the pursuit of books? Can our lives be defined by the things we've read? Ultimately, it's a stark portrait of the voracious reader.
DebbieMcCauley on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alexandria is walking the streets of Chicago after a fight with her boyfriend. She comes across a ratty old Winnebago which she discovers is a bookmobile that holds, along with her diary, every book she has ever read. Mr. Openshaw is the librarian who greets her, but later tells her she must leave as its hours are `dusk to dawn¿ only. Over the years Alexandria obsessively looks for the bookmobile once more, but it only appears when she least expects it, updated with the books she had read since her last visit. Alexandria¿s life changes as the years pass and she immerses herself in reading. She is inspired to train as a reference librarian and eventually becomes the director of her local library, but the job she really desires is to be a librarian for the bookmobile. The dark side of her fixation starts to take over her life, because ultimately the only way to become a librarian on the bookmobile is to check yourself out.This graphic novel is wonderfully illustrated by the author with some lovely handwritten passages. It is a haunting book about the compulsive isolation of reading and being a reader and leads one to question themselves about what would appear in their own bookmobile. I felt it was written for adults only and was slightly disappointed and disturbed about Alexandria¿s suicide.
BeguileThySorrow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I picked this one up because it's about a library and I saw the nice blurb by Neil Gaiman on back. Unfortunately I didn't find it at all to be a story "perfectly told". The Night Bookmobile is the first of a larger work being titled The Library, as explained by the author in the "after words". Because of this I feel it's possible that my understanding of the story is in fact out of context until I read the completed book. But since it is published here as a single book, I also find it fair to review it based on itself alone. About the length of a child's picture book, the story follows a woman named Alexandra from a random night in her early adult life when she comes across a mysterious and almost magical-seeming bookmobile. She becomes obsessed with it's existence, its strange librarian Mr. Openshaw, and with finding it again when she realizes its visits are inconsistent. However the story never really makes sense. We never find out why Alexandra gives up so much of her daily life to pursue this bookmobile, or share enough time with her to fully connect. Even so, I could have accepted all of that vague plot and thought the book strange but intriguing had the ending not included her choice at the end to commit suicide just to become a night bookmobile librarian herself. The w.t.f moment of that was just too insane for me. It seemed like a weak attempt to be deep without sufficient storyline and as if it glorified books over life itself at that point. On the flip side I did like the idea of everyone's life being quietly documented through the books they've read, all by librarians on the other side so to speak. Exploring the concept of books as also having the ability to become a channel for checking out of present life and losing oneself in fantasy also made sense as the darker side of loneliness and using reading to live vicariously instead. But overall I still felt this book went dark without any logic or relatable context.
Jennie_103 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The idea of finding a mobile library filled with everything you have ever read is compelling. It's like Librarything but you could settle down and read - at least for the night...The ending is disturbing though and I agree with other reviewers that we don't get enough time to connect with Alexandra and understand *why* she is so obsessed with finding it again and how it becomes the focus of her life.
scoutlee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Alexandra first encounters the Night Bookmobile after an argument with her boyfriend Richard. She's walking home late at night when she noticed the Winnebago. Thinking it odd, but not feeling afraid, she approached the vehicle and noticed an older man reading a newspaper. He invites her in and she quickly realizes the Bookmobile has every book she has read on its shelves. Confused by this, Alexandra starts to question Mr. Openshaw, but he politely tells her the library is now closed. Its hours are from dusk to dawn.She returns home to find Richard waiting for her. She explains what happened, but Richard flat out doesn't believe her. From that moment on, Alexandra becomes obsessed with finding the Bookmobile again. Richard eventually leaves her and she spends every moment, when she's not working, reading Every night she walks in hopes of seeing the Winnebago. Nine years later, her path crosses with Mr. Openshaw again.This time she asks him if she can work for him. He declines and suggests she becomes a librarian. She immediately goes to school and upon graduating, she is hired at a new library branch in Chicago. Years later she meets Mr. Openshaw again and asks if she can work for him. Again he refused.This time, the rejection is too much for Alexandra to handle. She begins to resent all the time she has spent reading and that she allowed her life to pass her by while she primarily focused on books and building her collection.I'm not sure what I expected when I picked up The Night Bookmobile. The ending definitely caught me off guard, so much so that I had to reread it. What began as a light, quick read turned very dark quickly. The ending left me full of questions as I wondered what will happen next for Alexandra.Be sure to read the author's "After Words" upon finishing the story. It will provide insight on the novel.
Smiler69 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Taking a walk after a fight with her boyfriend in the early hours of the morning, a woman finds a winnebago blaring loud music on a deserted street. The driver invites her in to view the library, and she discovers that all the books on the shelves were read by her at some point in her life. The Night Bookmobile is only open from dusk till dawn, and when the driver politely asks her to leave, she asks if she can work there as a librarian, but is turned down. The experience inspires her to take courses to become a librarian and she is constantly on the lookout for the mysterious Bookmobile, but only spots it again many years later...The story was interesting, and I applaud Niffenegger for stretching her creative range, but I have to say that her illustration skills are limited. Some images were surprisingly good, but not good enough to earn a higher rating from this reader and former art director.
BookAngel_a on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is thought provoking, especially for avid readers. What do we give up when we spend our lives absorbed in books? What do we gain? Are the gains worth any sacrifice we must make?In this short graphic novel, a woman stumbles upon a bookmobile filled with every book she's ever read in her life. I would like to say more but I don't want to spoil it for other readers.It's hard to say if I liked this book or not, since I did not approve of the choices that the main character made. However, I think this book provides a lot of food for thought. It's a fast read and it would be interesting to discuss this book with others. If you're addicted to books and this and see what you think!
bplma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While walking alone, late one night, Alexandra comes across a bookmobile, manned by a weird little librarian and full of all the books and ephemera that she, herself, has ever read. She is fascinated and forgets the time as she revisits her past-- books and journals, magazines and cereal boxes. When the sun rises the librarian tells her she must leave. She is now fascinated, even consumed with the bookmobile--it changes her life. She seeks and finds the bookmoble several more times in her life-- her life forever changed, as she reads to build her collection. NIght Bookmobile, which always has a Twilight Zonish quality to it, takes a very dark- though not unanticipated-turn that is still very disturbing. A thought provoking story.
bookwoman247 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a very, very short graphic novel which seems to be made to look like a young child's picture book. It is clear, however, that this is definitely a book for adults, as it touches on some very complicated, dark themes.How could I not love a book about a mysterious book mobile that appears at random in the night, and whose only collection consists of every book a person has ever read?I defintely did love it, but even so, it left me feeling a bit...disturbed and off-kilter. It may be because I felt like a 5-yr-old sitting with a picture book open on my lap, while at the same time, the book becomes very dark and a bit morbid.
sylliu on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Although bound and presented like a children¿s picture book, this is not one for the kids. Alexandra is a book-lover who encounters the Night Bookmobile, which turns out to be a magical, personalized library of every book she has ever read. She encounters this Airstream camper only a few times in her life, but it captivates and causes her to pay an increasingly high price to keep it a part of her world. I didn¿t love the drawings, except for the kind, gentlemanly librarian whose expressions are perfectly rendered.
madhatter22 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"What is it we desire from the hours, weeks, lifetimes we devote to books?"This is a graphic novel (the first part of a larger work to come called "The Library") about a young woman who goes for a walk one night and comes across an RV fitted up a as a bookmobile. She goes inside and starts browsing the shelves, and soon makes a startling discovery - the library comprises everything she's ever read in her life.This was a haunting, lovely book. I couldn't stop thinking about it after I read it and had to read it again the next day. The drawings are simple, but evoke a dark, dreamy sort of mood, and are beautifully done. I especially loved a close-up of a shelf of children's books where the color, artwork and font of each spine was faithfully reproduced.In the afterword, Niffenegger said she wanted to explore "the claims that books place on their readers" and called the story "a cautionary tale of the seduction of the written word". I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who would spend hours online cataloguing, reviewing and discussing their books.
vpfluke on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a poingatn reminsence on a life of books and book readin told in a comic strip method (actually, managa is a better term). It happens at night, so it seems to delve into the secret unconscious, almost a dream-world. It's yet another novel in which book appear prominently but have a disappearing ending. It's a short read, but I felt transported to this other night world in Chicago, and the young girl's longing.
jbetzzall on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Bookworm Alexandra, after a lovers' spat, happens across a mysterious bookmobile, with speakers playing one of her favorite songs. She discovers that it contains every book she's ever read, but it's only available from dark until dawn. After many years of frustrated searching she encounters it again, and asks to join the staff, only to be frustrated again. Not until she becomes a librarian in a public library does she discover the bookmobile's deadly secret that finally allows her to work there. An odd, fascinating idea brought very effectively to life by Audrey Niffenegger's graphics, this seemingly-sad story portrays the subtle, almost masochistic pleasures of serving readers that librarians secretly enjoy.