Skip to Main Content (Press Enter)
Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith
Add Public Library and Other Stories to bookshelf
Add to Bookshelf

Public Library and Other Stories

Best Seller
Public Library and Other Stories by Ali Smith
Paperback $17.00
Oct 04, 2016 | ISBN 9781101973042

Buy from Other Retailers:

See All Formats (2) +
  • $17.00

    Oct 04, 2016 | ISBN 9781101973042

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Oct 04, 2016 | ISBN 9781101973059

    Buy from Other Retailers:

  • Oct 04, 2016 | ISBN 9781524723163

    254 Minutes

    Buy from Other Retailers:

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Listen to a sample from Public Library and Other Stories

Product Details


“Smith’s (How to Be Both) collection celebrates the communal impact of books through a breezy series of slice-of-life tales that highlight the casual inroads of life and literature, pairing ordinary readers with the writing that has shaped them. . . . Each of these is followed by a recollection by one of Smith’s peers about their memories of public libraries, significant because this book appeared in the U.K. amid a tense battle over massive cuts to library funding. . . . Affecting. . . . This is a valiant project that depicts the everyday joy of books and makes a passionate plea for their preservation.” —Publishers Weekly
“While Man Booker Prize finalist Smith (How to Be Both, 2014) was working on this collection of thoughtful, sensitive, imaginative, and acidly funny short stories about characters besotted by language and books, public libraries throughout the UK were being shut down. In protest, Smith asked other writers to share their thoughts about why public libraries are essential to a life fully lived, to community and democracy, and she sets clarion testimony in support of public libraries from Kate Atkinson, Helen Oyeyemi, Miriam Toews, and others, in-between her exceptionally nimble, disarming, and affecting tales. Smith’s smart, discouraged loners are beset by difficult memories and grief, and driven to quiet acts of rebellion. In one wily and crackling tale, Smith juxtaposes her narrator’s fascination with D. H. Lawrence against her dismay over finding fraudulent charges on her credit card. Other arresting, emotionally incisive stories portray on-the-edge characters enthralled by Katherine Mansfield and Olive Fraser, a Scottish poet published only after her death. Smith has forged a uniquely artistic and piquant paean to the liberating and sustaining power of literature and libraries.” —Booklist

“Thank goodness for Ali Smith, for who else could write a short story collection about libraries and make it wild.” —The Times (London)

“A series of wonderful stories on the power of books.” —Mary Beard, The Guardian (Best Books of the Year)

“Extraordinarily artful. . . . A triumph.” —The Times Literary Supplement (London)

“Smith’s own stories leap across space and time, delighting in unexpected connections. . . . Each of Smith’s stories is a gem.” —Financial Times

“A work of endless interventions. . . . Smith’s great talent is her ability to produce on the page the effect of a human voice.” —Ian Samson, The Guardian (London)

“An important book.” —The Independent (Books of the Year)

“Superb. . . . [A] wonderful collection. . . . It has been Smith’s unlikely triumph throughout her increasingly acclaimed career to combine a playful and experimental approach with material that is both moving and funny—and she has done it again.” —Daily Mail

“There are sentences that sing, or make you smile, and the conceit behind each of the stories is distinctively offbeat.” —The Herald (Glasgow)

“Spritely, poignant. . . . Magical. . . . Alive to the ability words have to garland a life and make the ordinary bloom into something fresh and funny.” —Mail on Sunday (London)

 “Reading this collection is like spending an afternoon in a well-stocked library in the company of an erudite and playful companion.” —The Daily Telegraph (London)

“Smith’s stories are so good as to be priceless.” —Sunday Express (London)

“Beautiful. . . . Wonderful. Her prose dances. Her imagination lights up life and experience. This is a book to read slowly, to savour its vitality and variety, one to return to and find new pleasures with each reading.” —The Scotsman

“Endearing and affecting. The extraordinary is always rooted in the corporeal . . . and this lends Smith’s voice much of its considerable charm. . . . The narration is often arch, winking at you from the pages, rightfully proud of its own showmanship and subtlety, and is fundamentally human.” —The London Magazine

“A brilliant, comprehensive, unpredictable defence of public libraries. You can travel anywhere on Ali Smith’s library ticket.” —Kate Kellaway, The Guardian (London)

“Powerful. . . . Beautifully written. . . . A gentle, comforting, and thought-provoking read. . . . It is a blessing to have authors such as Ali Smith.” —Stylist

“Smith’s world is incredibly generous—it’s a place where all sorts of stories and human connections are possible.” —Metro

“A series of spirited short stories, in an ingenious blend of fact and fiction. . . . The result is a love-song to literature that all readers will delight in dipping in and out of.” —Lucy Brooks, Culture Whisper

“A moving, surprising, beautiful collection. . . . So clever and so joyful.” —Open Democracy

Looking for More Great Reads?
21 Books You’ve Been Meaning to Read
Back to Top