Review: Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

Here’s the description, taken from the book sleeve:
It’s easy to see why this beguiling novella has been a longtime favorite of bibliophiles.  The credo of the sprite-like book-peddler who sparks the story says it all: “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.”
Except the complicating factor here is that the protagonist of Parnassus on Wheels is not a man, but a woman, and she has come to believe something rather daring for a woman of her day: that her love of books can rescue her from a life of servitude.
Thus, this little known prequel to Christopher Morley’s beloved Haunted Bookshop is not only a charming romantic comedy, but an inspiring ode to a life in books.
I cannot believe I hadn’t heard ever of this book until it arrived in my Book Riot Quarterly Box!  I mean, it is a gem.  A true gem.  Any book lover is guaranteed to love it.  It is just delightful.  That’s really the one word that kept popping into my mind as I read it.
The Professor is a true lover of the written word, and he adores going around the country selling books in his traveling bookmobile.  Helen decides to buy the bookmobile and go sell books with the help of the Professor at first just to spite her brother.  Then she too is overtaken by the book bug and ends up loving it just as much as the Professor.
I know I’m going to reread this over and over again.  It is sweet, it is smart.  It hits home on so many levels because the characters love books and sharing their love of books so much.
I highly recommend this one.  It’s a classic!
Title: Parnassus on Wheels
Author: Christopher Morley
Date of Publication: 1917, reprinted 2010 by Melville House
Number of Pages: 142
Genre: Fiction, novella
Source: Personal, from Book Riot’s Quarterly Box


About Kelly

Hi! My name’s Kelly. I’m a twenty-something gal from Buffalo, NY. Mom to a little dog named Peabody and a slightly evil cat named Archie. Engaged to the best dude ever. I love books and craft beer! I also love all things France and francophone and have a degree in French Language and Literature from Buffalo State College. My blog used to be called Kelly’s France Blog, but I finally decided it needed a change because I wasn’t posting about French things nearly as often as I used to! You can still see all my imported posts on A Book and a Beer, or you can visit my original blog at
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One Response to Review: Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley

  1. Oh, both the book and the Book Riot subscription sound like fun! Hm. I'm going to have to seriously consider signing up for it.

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