Call Numbers: The Not So Quiet Life of Librarians is the debut novel by Syntell Smith that was published in January of this year. Book Endings: Loss, Pain, and Revelations followed recently, being published on the 25th of September. I had Call Numbers on my TBR for a few months and as I was about to read it the author, Syntell Smith, got in touch and asked me if I’d be interested in reviewing both books together as Book Endings was due to be released. As I haven’t done a double review before I was happy to squeeze Book Endings on to my list.
These two books are a drama filled, fictional, exposé of the happenings within a New York Public Library system. It explores the intricacies that go on behind the scenes between the librarians, clerks and young pages who worked at a particular branch of the library system in 1994. Delving into the loves, lives and losses of these people.
Although the story follows a plethora of characters it is the arrival of a new part-time clerk, Robin Walker, at the 58th Street Branch that begins a series of grievances to create an atmosphere of tension and turmoil amongst the stacks of books inside and outside the walls of the library. We are thrown into what I can only describe is something akin to a television dramatisation of events as we follow Robin as he navigates his way through college life, the tensions of the library and the failing health of his grandfather, the only member of his family who seems to care about the eighteen year old.
Both books are fast paced, cutting from one character to another to glean insight into each of their lives, but only just enough that you want to keep reading to discover what is making each of them tick. We discover, corruption, teenage infatuation and sexual awakening, adult relationships, competition between branches, racial prejudices and the lengths that the management will go to cover up misdemeanors and get their branch ahead of the others.
I thoroughly enjoyed these two books and am glad I read them back to back. The title of ‘Book Endings’ gave me the impression that it is the end of the story but as the author has said in his bio on Amazon, he is hoping to make it a series. Personally I would have liked the story to have been wrapped up, but there is still so much to uncover that I can completely understand why the story is continuing in a third book; Due Date: Trial and Redemption, where the author assures me that the events of 1994 will be concluded. However, the series will hopefully continue to create a collection of 13 books.
I can visualise this compilation of books as a series on Netflix, the characters are such that some you love and some you do not like very much at all and at times you want to shake the shoulders of the main character, Robin and question his behaviour or just give him a hug. I would wholeheartedly recommend these books if you enjoy stories that weave an intricate web of characters and motives.
Both Call Numbers and Book Endings are available through Amazon where you should read Call Numbers first. As usual there is also a video review of these books over on YouTube. Would be great if you could take a few minutes to check it out.
Thanks for popping by.