The Fairy God Librarian

I was drowsing in a stuffy old armchair beside my window when I hear a sharp crack, as if something had grabbed onto either side of reality and ripped it apart.

My eyes popped open. I looked up.

There, smiling down at me through large round eye glasses, stood a luminescent figure of indeterminate age. A fringe of silver hair fluttered around a cherubic face and an enormous bowtie festooned with punctuation marks sprung like the wings of a butterfly from either side of his chin.

“Good evening,” he said, his voice as gentle as the sound talcum powder makes when sprinkled on our toes.

I blinked.

“Who …What …?”

He wiggled his fingers as though limbering them up to play the piano and announced, “I am your Fairy God Librarian.”

I have wanted many things in life, some of which I don’t deserve, but never on that list had I put a Fairy God Librarian. I crossed my arms over my chest and harrumphed skeptically, “Next you’ll be telling me that I get three wishes.”

“Not three,” He said thoughtfully. “Just one.” Then he turned toward the bookshelves lining my wall. “It is a special kind of a wish. Very, very special. Because you get to make a wish-list of books!”

My eyes followed his to the shelves. I shook my head and pouted, “But I already have all of the books that I need. All of the books that I love.”

“Yes.” He nodded, smiling. “That is why I have come to you. The wish I am granting is for you to put on the shelves of all those people who don’t know which books to buy, the ones that you want them to have. Not only books for grownups. Books for children, too. So that they can be enchanted, excited, terrified, reassured, inspired, and thrilled in the same way that you were, when you were growing up.”

I leapt to my feet and reached out to grab that endearing apparition by the shoulders. I wanted to give him a big, grateful hug. But my arms went right through him! What my Fairy God Librarian possessed in charm he certainly lacked in tangibility.

“You really want me to make that list?” I exclaimed. “Really? Really? Really?”

“Scouts honor,” he said, his smiled followed by a low chuckle.

And so, my friends, here is my first, incomplete, wish-list of books. It is limited to British, French, and American authors. Some are classics. Some are just terrific reads. All would be wonderful additions to your bookshelf.


A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens

David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

Ivanhoe - Sir Walter Scott

Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

Frankenstein - Mary Shelley

Dracula - Bram Stoker

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Robert Louis Stevenson

The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Scarlet Pimpernel - Baroness Orczy

The Moonstone - Wilkie Collins

Sherlock Holmes Stories - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Miss Marple Mysteries - Agatha Christe

Hercule Poiroit Mysteries - Agatha Christe

Lord Peter Wimsey Mysteries - Dorothy L. Sayers

Goodbye Mr. Chips - James Hilton

Lost Horizons - James Hilton

All Creatures Great and Small - James Herriot

All Things Bright and Beautiful - James Herriot

A Town like Alice - Nevil Shute

Trustee from the Tool Room - Nevil Shute

No Highway - Nevil Shute

Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier

Trilby - George du Maurier

Beau Geste - P. C. Wren

How Green Was My Valley - Richard Llewellyn

Harry Potter Books - J. K. Rowling


The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexander Dumas

The Three Musketeers - Alexander Dumas

Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Victor Hugo

The Man who Laughed - Victor Hugo

Cyrano de Bergerac (play) - Edmond Rostand


My Name is Aram - William Saroyan

The Human Comedy -William Saroyan

East of Eden - John Steinbeck

Cannery Row - John Steinbeck

Sweet Thursday - John Steinbeck

Call of the Wild - Jack London

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

We the Living - Ayn Rand

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn - Betty Smith

The Last Angry Man - Gerald Green

Exodus - Leon Uris

QB VII - Leon Uris

The Robe - Lloyd C. Douglas

The Virginian - Owen Wister

Shane - Jack Schaeffer

Monte Walsh - Jack Schaeffer

Little House on the Prairie - Laura Ingalls Wilder

To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee

The High and the Mighty - Ernest K. Gann

Short Stories - O. Henry

Letters from the Earth - Mark Twain

Tarzan - Edgar Rice Burroughs

Anne of Green Gables - Lucy Maude Montgomery

Daddy Long Legs - Jean Webster

Left to my own devices, would I have had the nerve to foist my favorite fiction upon you? No. Never. Not, at least, without a prod from my Fairy God Librarian. Happy reading!

Shelly Reuben is an Edgar-nominated author, private detective, and fire investigator. For more about her books, visit

Copyright © 2008, Shelly Reuben

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