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I imagined him in his beloved Brooklyn, strolling in Prospect Park and preaching to chance comers about his gospel of good books.

"When you sell a man a book," says Roger Mifflin, the sprite-like book peddler at the center of this classic novella, "you don't sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue—you sell him a whole new life." In this beguiling but little-known prequel to Christopher Morley's belovedHaunted Bookshop, the "whole new life" that the traveling bookman delivers to Helen McGill, the narrator of Parnassus on Wheels, provides the romantic comedy that drives this charming love letter to a life in books.

The Art of The Novella Series

Too short to be a novel, too long to be a short story, the novella is generally unrecognized by academics and publishers. Nonetheless, it is a form beloved and practiced by literature's greatest writers. In the Art Of The Novella series, Melville House celebrates this renegade art form and its practitioners with titles that are, in many instances, presented in book form for the first time.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on Nov 6, 2012
ISBN: 9781612192550
List price: $10.00
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Parnassus is a horsedrawn RV/Traveling bookstore. Its narrator is a 39 year old well-educated spinster, Helen McGill, who was once a schoolmarm/nanny but who is now wasting away on a farm tending the house and the pigs and the chickens for her starry -eyed brother who is a writer. Along comes Roger Mifflin, writer wannabe, owner of Parnassus, who says he wants to sell his road show to Helen's brother. The adventure begins when Helen says what amounts to "phooey on that - I'm buying it myself", leaves a "bye-bye, see you later" note to her brother, and sets off with Mr. Mifflin to learn the bookselling ropes.I so enjoyed this story, and I'm so glad I have a copy to read and re-read. It takes less than 2 hours to read, and only 3 1/2 to listen to. If you haven't discovered this classic, do go get your hands on it.read more
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Slight but charming little escapist romance, more or less in the style of G.K. Chesterton, but roughened up with a bit of New England homespun quality and a few in-jokes about the US publishing business. Not the sort of book to read too seriously: if you stop to think about it, you realise that it's deeply patronising in the way it treats the woman narrator. But if you take it on its own terms, there are some very good lines and a lot of period charm about it.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Parnassus on Wheels is a little book with a big message. It illustrates the power of books and reading to change lives. Spinster Helen McGill seems content to keep house and cook for her brother, Andrew. However, after Andrew becomes a successful author, Helen resents the time he spends away from home and his neglect of his responsibilities for the farm. When a traveling book salesman shows up during one of Andrew's absences, Helen impulsively buys his stock and his traveling wagon, Parnassus. She feared that Andrew would buy it if she didn't, and that he would spend even more time away from the farm. As the Professor shares the secrets of book selling with Helen, it opens her mind to unrealized possibilities for her life. Through the book seller, Helen learns that contentment can't be found through dedication to physical labor alone. To live a balanced life, one must nurture the mind as well as the body. This book is short enough to read in one sitting, and it's well worth the time spent.read more
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Parnassus is a horsedrawn RV/Traveling bookstore. Its narrator is a 39 year old well-educated spinster, Helen McGill, who was once a schoolmarm/nanny but who is now wasting away on a farm tending the house and the pigs and the chickens for her starry -eyed brother who is a writer. Along comes Roger Mifflin, writer wannabe, owner of Parnassus, who says he wants to sell his road show to Helen's brother. The adventure begins when Helen says what amounts to "phooey on that - I'm buying it myself", leaves a "bye-bye, see you later" note to her brother, and sets off with Mr. Mifflin to learn the bookselling ropes.I so enjoyed this story, and I'm so glad I have a copy to read and re-read. It takes less than 2 hours to read, and only 3 1/2 to listen to. If you haven't discovered this classic, do go get your hands on it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Slight but charming little escapist romance, more or less in the style of G.K. Chesterton, but roughened up with a bit of New England homespun quality and a few in-jokes about the US publishing business. Not the sort of book to read too seriously: if you stop to think about it, you realise that it's deeply patronising in the way it treats the woman narrator. But if you take it on its own terms, there are some very good lines and a lot of period charm about it.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Parnassus on Wheels is a little book with a big message. It illustrates the power of books and reading to change lives. Spinster Helen McGill seems content to keep house and cook for her brother, Andrew. However, after Andrew becomes a successful author, Helen resents the time he spends away from home and his neglect of his responsibilities for the farm. When a traveling book salesman shows up during one of Andrew's absences, Helen impulsively buys his stock and his traveling wagon, Parnassus. She feared that Andrew would buy it if she didn't, and that he would spend even more time away from the farm. As the Professor shares the secrets of book selling with Helen, it opens her mind to unrealized possibilities for her life. Through the book seller, Helen learns that contentment can't be found through dedication to physical labor alone. To live a balanced life, one must nurture the mind as well as the body. This book is short enough to read in one sitting, and it's well worth the time spent.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Parnassus on Wheels is a novella about a sweet but prosaic rural woman who decides on a whim to buy a travelling book wagon. This is the first time she's really experienced freedom, and she thoroughly enjoys her liberties as she meets people on the road, and as her relationship to the previous owner (a spry man that affectionately nicknamed the Professor) deepens. Parnassus on Wheels is a nice read for an afternoon, but it only runs 150 pages and there's not either much action or much rumination.
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This is a pilot for a new feel-good tv series:

Opening Credits:

It is a glorious morning on a deserted track somewhere in the rural Midwest. Rolling on the lane is a long gypsy-type wagon being pulled by a great big horse. On the open seat upfront holding the reins is a cheery man of middle years with kind brown eyes who is laughing gently in a conversational kind of way with a fat, rather plain but very jolly lady. They are wearing clothes the era when cars and wagons shared the roads, 1917.

The Action:
The woman and her older brother have been happily managing their isolated farm together until the brother publishes a book and the success makes him uppity in the extreme and while he swans around being famous, she is left at home running the farm. This is seriously annoying his sister.

A travelling salesmen, selling books, comes to her door saying he is not just selling books but also his travelling bookstore and would her brother, the famous author, be interested in it? He wants to leave bookselling to go back to the city to write his book.

He shows her this wonderful, magical wagon full of all the necessities for life on the road and shelves and shelves of books. She jumps at the chance and deciding to spend her life savings and take over the business herself and leaving notes for her brother telling him to look after himself. She closes the front door behind her, jumps on to the seat next to the bookseller and off they go.

End of Pilot

Further episodes will include dialogue between the bookseller and the spinster laying out their lives. He is a city man, a professor who wants to write a book and is passionate about their ability to change lives for the better. She's a bit of a disappointed spinster who counts her successes in hens' eggs and loaves baked.

Plots would include:
1. Making the first sale.
2. The caravan being stolen and the bookseller turns out to be handy with his fists.
3. Drama over the cheque for payment being cancelled by the pissed-off brother.
3. A bank scene, an arrest, and a false imprisonment.

Then we get into love, the stranger with a get-out-of-jail-free-card. The inevitable marriage and then the final winning over the brother.

Can't you just see it? It was just made for tv. The late Mike Landon would have been perfect casting.

Brilliant, lovely, heart-warming book. Beautifully-written without any suspense at all. Each rather obvious episode gives warning of what is to come next and the whole thing unfolds in a pastoral, slower-times, comfy, apple-pie kind of way. A nice book to read if you have a touch of flu and are sipping a hot toddy curled up on the sofa.
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Miss Helen McGill lives with her brother, Andrew, on a farm. She is eminently practical and hardworking while he, an author, is prone to let farm work go in lieu of rambles in the countryside - food for his writing. So when a traveling salesman with a "Parnassus" - a wagon full to bursting with books - comes selling his wagon and pony, Miss McGill decides she'll buy it herself rather than let Andrew take off again.This is such a cute, humorous story. Miss McGill reminds me quite a lot of Marilla Cuthbert, if the latter had a literary brother instead of one who wanted to take in an orphan. Though written in 1917 (and set in 1907), the characters' thoughts on reading and good books will still ring true for today's readers. The course of the plot never really surprised me, but it was such a warm story that I couldn't help enjoying it. The perfect comfort read for curling up on a cool evening with a cup of cocoa.
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