The House of Paper is a novella by Carlos María Domínguez, and it opens with a woman who buys a book of poetry by Emily Dickinson. She then gets hit by a car and killed while she’s reading and walking down the street. That happens on page 1. The next few pages highlight other people whose fate was intertwined with a book, and moves into a discussion of book collecting and the struggles of storing a huge collection of beloved books.
It’s really too short of a read to tell you much more about the plot – I think it’s much better to just dive in and discover it for yourself. But it continues the theme of how the love of books and reading impacts our lives. It also evolves into a bit of a mystery: a quest for answers to questions raised by a copy of a book that falls into the hands of our narrator. His quest takes him across oceans and into the realm of book obsession. It also includes beautiful illustrations by the wonderful Peter Sís. Here’s one of them:
I first heard about The House of Paper in a review posted by Wordman. It’s a lovely, quick read, and I recommend it to fellow bookworms. It’s sort of like a fairy tale for bookish people.