This novel, entitled A Novel Bookstore, was written by Laurence Cosse, and published by Europa Editions. It is translated from the french. Hence the accent (invisible here, above the e in the author's last name.)
The story is of a person who starts a bookstore which chooses its books by a very intriguing route. There is a mysterious committee (no one knows who they are, and they are kept, even, from knowledge of one another) which picks llists of 300 or so books, and the contents of the bookstore come from those lists. Each year, they may add some more. So: the bookstore incldues only good books. Yes, a quality distinction. And, the owners -- and the committee -- actually choose wonderfully good books -- even acting in such a way as to create a demand for some long out of print. Their bookstore, it seems. finds a wonderful audience -- and has an impact. All those rather trashy books -- sometimes called peanut books, often selling huge numbers (sometimes even in airports), arriving with great hoopla to big box bookstores and piled in heaps near the door -- are set to the side so that one can actually find the "real" novels.
In the book, this leads to all sorts of consequences -- including competition from other like minded (or apparently like minded) capitalists, protests about their elitism in the media (and suitable defenses), and even more.
I will not spoil the plot but I will ask: what does this have to do with Shimer? Is the notion of choosing only good books at all like proclaiming oneself a great books college?
Here the complexity is (as articulated in the novel even), that one cannot choose everything. And, one does wish to steer away from sheer junk. But are there limits to this approach? who gets to be the committee? Who chooses the committee?
And, another question: in what ways are bookstores and colleges alike? How are they different? How do they (respectively) relate to the notion of a business or a non profit organization?
I liked this novel novel. Can you tell? Thought provoking and a good read (in the sense of well translated and articulate as well as in the sense of a romp I enjoyed. )