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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Monday, May 31, 2004

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast by Bill Richardson. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1993. ISBN: 0-312-17183-8.

This book was a gift from a Canadian friend who knew I was a devoted fan of Robertson Davies, the eminent Canadian novelist and master of belles-lettres. She thought I ought to discover that there are other equally entertaining authors emenating from our neighbor to the north. And in this case, she's certainly right.

Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast is a wryly humorous book that is sure to be enjoyed by anyone with even the slightest literary bent, and probably just as well by most people who aren't bent, literary or otherwise. The two main characters are a pair of middle-aged twins, Hector and Virgil, who, as described in the title, operate a B&B. But a B&B with a peculiar focus, whose mission is to serve as a refuge for readers, a place to go and read that book you've always meant to tackle, but somehow never found the time or patience.

The book itself consists of brief vignettes written by either Hector or Virgil, interspersed with excerpts from the autobiographical sketches guests are encouraged to write in the "large scrapbook-like album they call 'Brief Lives,' after Aubrey." Also included are three great reading lists: "The Top Ten Authors Over Ten years at the Bachelor Brothers' B&B," "Virgil's List of Books for When You're Feeling Low," and "Virgil's List of Favourite Authors for the Bath," each of which has me wanting to rush out and start two or three books from the list immediately.

This was one of our "car books," meaning that I would read aloud from it while Arline was driving. It was perfect for that purpose, consisting as it does of brief segments, each easily completed within a limited period of time. Some of the adjectives that eminently suit this book are charming, delightful, appealing, amiable, pleasant, entertaining, witty, thoughtful, and yes, funny. Highly recommended for all readers! And yes, I do plan to rush out an get a hold of the sequel: Bachelor Brothers' Bed & Breakfast Pillow Book (1997).

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