Nifenegger, Audrey. The Night Bookmobile. New York, NY: Abrams ComicArts, 2010.
The Night Bookmobile by Audrey Nifenegger (bestselling author of The Time Traveler's Wife) is a haunting and thought-provoking book. While on a "cool-down" walk after an argument with her boyfriend, Alexandra stumbles on a bookmobile whose operating hours are "dusk to dawn." She learns that the bookmobile carries every single item that she has ever read. Her visit brings an overpowering desire to read and to work within the strange bookmobile, despite all of the sacrifices that she must make.
The Night Bookmobile raises questions about the act of reading. Is reading a selfish pastime that absorbs a person, preventing him or her from interacting with the community? What are the social dangers of becoming isolated, and of living life vicariously through books? The abrupt ending leaves many questions unanswered, especially with regards to Alexandra's happiness. Reading The Night Bookmobile in a graphic novel format is an "enhanced" reading experience. The graphics complement the story, and provide subtle hints to the reader about Mr. Openshaw, the nature of The Library, and about Alexandra's future. The pop culture music references provide additional food for thought.
In its few short pages, The Night Bookmobile offers readers many opportunities for reflection. Highly recommended.
The Night Bookmobile is the first in a series of books collectively entitled The Library. I look forward to the next book!