Parnassus on Wheels

Parnassus on Wheels


(3 Reviews)
Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley







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Parnassus on Wheels


(3 Reviews)
The year is 1915. Our heroine is Helen McGill, a thirty-nine year old spinster who assists her brother Andrew in the running of his New England farm. Andrew is a literary man, however, and since his books have become successful, his attention to the farm and his appreciation of the work that Helen does have diminished considerably. Helen takes pride in her domestic accomplishments but she doesn't like being saddled with all the work and she doesn't like being taken for granted. Enter our unlikely hero. Roger Mifflin rolls into the farmyard in the ''Parnassus on Wheels'' of the title: a travelling bookshop. He's been travelling around the countryside evangelizing about literature but he's ready to pack it in to write a book of his own. He's seeking a buyer for the Parnassus and he thought that Andrew would be a likely candidate. In an uncharacteristically impulsive moment, Helen makes the purchase herself. She rationalizes that she's simply trying to prevent Andrew from doing the same and disappearing from the farm once and for all. But it soon becomes apparent that the seemingly settled Helen is out for a bit of adventure. In the travelling book trade, she finds it. -Kate's Book BlogFollowed by The Haunted Bookshop.

Book Excerpt

not literary, as I said before, but I'm human enough to like a good book, and my eye was running along those shelves of his as I spoke. He certainly had a pretty miscellaneous collection. I noticed poetry, essays, novels, cook books, juveniles, school books, Bibles, and what not--all jumbled together.

"Well, see here," said the little man--and about this time I noticed that he had the bright eyes of a fanatic--"I've been cruising with this Parnassus going on seven years. I've covered the territory from Florida to Maine and I reckon I've injected about as much good literature into the countryside as ever old Doc Eliot did with his five-foot shelf. I want to sell out now. I'm going to write a book about 'Literature Among the Farmers,' and want to settle down with my brother in Brooklyn and write it. I've got a sackful of notes for it. I guess I'll just stick around until Mr. McGill gets home and see if he won't buy me out. I'll sell the whole concern, horse, wagon, and books, for $400. I've read Andrew McGil


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Cara Bristol

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Readers reviews

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A light-hearted amusing adventure. It was easy to read and I really enjoyed it. Starting the sequel book “The Haunted Bookshop" now.
Critical Analysis

This book has nothin’ , no heroines, just a fat old country woman who doesn’t want to bake bread anymore. No heroes, just a little red-headed runt of a book peddler trying to make a profit, selling books to farmers. No villains, except a vindictive old brother who doesn’t think his sister is capable of thinking for herself and so he has to keep meddling into her affairs and a couple of worthless hoboes. No suspense, except when the hoboes get a gun. No conflict, except the part with the bloody nose. No plot, unless you think Don Quixote running around the country on a quest, making a fool of his self for no known reason, is a plot.

Plot Summary

Little runt peddler sell his business which consists of a wagon full of old books to a heavy set farm woman and they go gallivanting around the country side trying to sell culture to farmers, while he educates her on literature, while her meddling bother tries to stop them and the hoboes do what hoboes do.


It’s hard to recommend this book unless you’re the type that’s only looking for entertainment, in which case, I would recommend it highly - I also feel it's my duty to warn you, it may be considered offensive to hoboes.
Charming story about an earnest, if slightly preachy, itinerant bookseller who brings literature to rural areas and a farm woman who abandons her housekeeping to take up his trade, learning along the way about the joys of bookmanship.

Every book lover ought to read this, and its sequel, "The Haunted Bookshop."