The Night Mobile by Audrey Niffenegger

After a fight with her boyfriend one night, Alexandra goes for a walk and comes upon a bookmobile. When she goes inside to look at the books, she discovers that it’s a library of her own reading history; every book she’s ever read, including her diary, is on the shelf. As her life continues, she searches for the bookmobile, but years go by before she finds it again. When she does, she finds that the books she has read since last she visited have also been added to this personal library.  As Alexandra strives to read more and constantly searches for the bookmobile,she hopes that her hard work will allow her to work with the bookmobile… only all her hard work does is make her a loner and a very lost person who discovers the cost of her dream is really too high.


Read in the reading room




This book was recommended to me by friend and fellow Bookie, Angie.  She has read it and email me that she thought this would be a wonderful graphic novel to look more closely at and probably generate some good blog discussion thoughts.

The title alone captivated me.

I of course loved the fact that the bookmobile was filled with every book that Alexandra had ever read.  I imagined what my own bookmobile would look like…. all the treasures of my youth… from the big puffy baby books to picture books, then into paperbacks…. I get excited thinking about the books I have forgotten I read and how thrilling it would be to see them and recognize them!

And if that was all this small graphic novel had to offer that would have been enough.

But no, there is an ending to the book that shocked me.  It was this ending that actually left me thinking about this book days after I read it but unable to write this review.  Finally I came to the conclusion that while it disturbed me… the bigger message is that we are not to get to caught up and lost in our reading.  As much as we as book lovers enjoy dropping ourselves into a great read, it is also important to do life….. be with people, be active, and live…. not only through books … but also through life itself.

We need to make our own stories.

This book is centered around Chicago and as the night mobile travels it lands by real Chicago landmarks which gives this read a real feel.

This graphic novel stirred me and haunts me a little too.  It left me really thinking about this bookmobile, and I think that is what the author wanted… to leave us with our own personal thoughts about what we read and how we do life.


My question to you, as it was to me….  if there was such a thing as a night mobile, and within it there were all the books you had ever read…. if that happened today, what book(s) would sadly be missing from your collection that you wish you had read?


My Amazon Rating

The 2011 WHERE Are You Reading Map has been updated to include The Night Mobile


Borrowed from my local library

Thank you Angie for a book that made me really think!  😀


27 thoughts on “The Night Mobile by Audrey Niffenegger

  1. What a great post. I think you’re exactly right. As much as we love books, people need to go out and make their own stories no matter how slow or common they may be. There are so many books that missing from my own bookmobile that I haven’t read yet.

  2. Wow, this sounds like a fantastic book! I don’t read very many graphic novels but I will have to try this. I sometimes worry that I spend too much time reading about adventures rather than having my own.

    I am afraid of what my personal bookmobile would look like and all the books that wouldn’t be there that should be.

  3. Glad you liked it Sheila! I would love to not only see what books were in my own personal bookmobile, but it would also be interesting to see them broken down by genre. How much fiction have I read in comparison to nonfiction. How many were true crime, inspirational, biography, history…?

  4. I am a huge fan of Audrey Niffenegger, but I didn’t even know this GN existed until this review, so thank you!

    When you suggested that book lovers may lose themselves TOO much into books…I found myself nodding my head. Reading is an escape, often a wonderful and entertaining one, but when it takes you away from life, there is something wrong.

    Luckily, there are very few books which have caused me to push “pause” on life. And I admit, there are a few books that have been my therapy.

    Sometimes I think that blogging has ruined books for me. I used to read a bit slower, with purpose. The books I have on my shelf from 10 years ago mean more to me, because I remember what was going on in my life when I read them. I remember why I read them and how they affected me. Now I read like an addict.

    Don’t get me wrong, every once in a while a book comes along that touches me deeply and stands out among the rest, but this probably happens in one of every 20 books I read. I also read books purely for entertainment value. Some people love Monday night football or gardening….I enjoy reading.

    Recently, Natasha at Maw Books took a reading/blogging break….and you know what? The blogosphere didn’t collapse! That was a nice lesson for me to learn, because I beat myself up over not reading this book or that, or being behind on reviews.

    Life comes first.

    Still, I would love to see my book mobile!!

    1. I love this Alison! I get compassionate in comments occasionally too. I have always wanted the comment area here to be a discussion area where we can have conversations back and forth. 🙂

      You are right – as much as we love our books, breaks are a part of life too and when we joined this book blog sensation… it was never meant to be a life sentence 🙂

      I get behind too… and that’s ok.

  5. This was a great book! It is every book lovers fantasy. I thought the ending made sense, and will hold the rest of my response as I don’t want spoilers.

  6. There are many, many books I would want on my book mobile that wouldn’t be. The “funny” thing is, most of them are here in my house, on my shelves or in boxes. Since I was the only one in our family who really read when I was a child, I missed the classics most people grew up with. I have them now. The problem is finding time to read them. I found a set of Louisa May Alcott’s books either at a thrift store or auction. I hadn’t realized there was so much more than LITTLE WOMEN. I can remember what an eye opener Children’s Literature was in college. I had never even heard of most of the books. Some came out after I was in grade school, but CHARLOTTE’S WEB was new to me. I know the professor was a bit shocked (more so because she happened to be my next door neighbor and had been the librarian at my younger siblings’ elementary school). For some reason the books were never stressed in school and there were no real required reading lists back then.
    I made sure my children were exposed to them. One of the things I loved about being a children’s librarian was being able to expose kids to all the wonderful classics out there and the new books coming out.
    I am going to have to read THE NIGHT BOOKMOBILE. I have a feeling it will hit very close to home. Books were my escape when I was younger. It is way too easy to let that happen.

  7. I have only recently started writing down all the books that I read so rather than realizing what was missing from my bookmobile I think that I would be more thrilled to discover all of the lost treasures that I have long forgotten about!

  8. I love this review! I have quite a few I Must Read Before I Die books on my list – Night by Elie Wiesel, Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut (very ashamed am I that I haven’t read this yet), Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham, and others. I have some books on my TBR shelf that are part of this list as well – The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett, Wuthering Heights (Oh! I know! WHY haven’t I read it yet?), A Thousand Splendid Suns, Water for Elephants .. there are a total of 28 books on my I Must Read Before I Die list – so I’m hoping I live for quite a while yet!

  9. There would be too many books to mention that would be missing from my bookmobile. This sounds like a great one to put on my future to read graphic novel list!

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