The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley. A sequel to Parnassus on Wheels, it's actually a little heftier than the original. But there still isn't a lot of there there. It's strength lies solely in its characters and its discussions of the bookselling trades. But for those of us who are bibliomaniacs, it is utterly charming and a "must-have" for the library. There is some lovely quotation about books, or love, or suffering or war in every chapter.
Take this description of Roger Mifflin's wife, Helen:
They greeted each other with the hearty, affectionate simplicity of those congenially wedded in middle age. Helen Mifflin was a buxom, healthy creature, rich in good sense and good humour, well nourished both in mind and body.
Now, that's how I would like to be seen. Isn't it lovely?
And here is the placard for the book store by the front door:
The Shop is Haunted by the ghosts
Of all great literature, in hosts;
We sell no fakes or trashes.
Lovers of books are welcome here,
No clerks will babble in your ear,
Please smoke--but don't drop ashes.
Browse as long as you like.
Prices or all books plainly marked
If you want to ask questions, you'll find the proprietor where the tobacco smoke is thickest.
We pay cash for books.
We have what you want, though you may not know you want it.
--->Malnutrition of the reading faculty is a serious thing.
Let us prescribe for you.
Now, I'd walk into a book shop like that, wouldn't you?