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The Library of Lost Things

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Welcome to the Library of Lost Things, where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost. They’re all here, pulled from history and watched over by the Librarian, curated by the Collectors, nibbled on by the rats. Filed away, never to be read. At least, u Welcome to the Library of Lost Things, where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost. They’re all here, pulled from history and watched over by the Librarian, curated by the Collectors, nibbled on by the rats. Filed away, never to be read. At least, until Thomas, the boy with the secret, comes to the Library. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.


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Welcome to the Library of Lost Things, where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost. They’re all here, pulled from history and watched over by the Librarian, curated by the Collectors, nibbled on by the rats. Filed away, never to be read. At least, u Welcome to the Library of Lost Things, where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost. They’re all here, pulled from history and watched over by the Librarian, curated by the Collectors, nibbled on by the rats. Filed away, never to be read. At least, until Thomas, the boy with the secret, comes to the Library. At the Publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management Software (DRM) applied.

30 review for The Library of Lost Things

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    I love library-based stories, and this is a pretty good one. It's free online at Tor.com. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Thomas Hardy applies for a job at the Library, a magical place that contains all of the books and literary works that have been lost over the years. The Librarian takes him on, with reservations: he’s interested only in incurious boys who aren’t particularly bright, don’t use multisyllabic words or think complicated thoughts, and have no real interest in literature I love library-based stories, and this is a pretty good one. It's free online at Tor.com. Review first posted on Fantasy Literature: Thomas Hardy applies for a job at the Library, a magical place that contains all of the books and literary works that have been lost over the years. The Librarian takes him on, with reservations: he’s interested only in incurious boys who aren’t particularly bright, don’t use multisyllabic words or think complicated thoughts, and have no real interest in literature as such. Tom hides from the Librarian both his intelligence and his secret reasons for wanting to work at the Library. But the talking rats that infest the Library and address Tom with odd, single-word statements (“Borborygmus!” “Anopisthograph!” “Sardoodledom!”) seem to have an inkling that he is more than he seems to be. Then there’s the flamboyant man named Jean Genet who shows up at one of the Library employees’ parties; he’s interested in Tom sexually ― and perhaps for more reasons than that. The plot of “The Library of Lost Things” is a bit on the slight side, but the story is very cleverly told. The Library setting is fascinating, with all of its literature that has been lost to humanity (the story includes several references to actual lost works), even though it’s a dispiriting place as well, governed by a mean-spirited librarian. The single-word interchanges between Tom and the rats had my fingers busy looking up obscure words with Google’s search feature, especially as it gradually became apparent that these little-known words add meaning to the story. If you read this one, pay attention to those words! Content note: This story has a gay main character and romance, very mildly explicit, and some adult language.

  2. 5 out of 5

    karen

    “Under no circumstances do you open the book. Is that clear?” When I was late in responding, he peered at me. “You are not a curious boy are you? I insist on no aspirations, no predilections. Books are not to be read.” “I haven’t read a word since my GCSEs, sir.” He smiled. I suppressed a shudder. His teeth were spotted, like the acid foxing on old paper. review to come. read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2017/08/23/the-li... “Under no circumstances do you open the book. Is that clear?” When I was late in responding, he peered at me. “You are not a curious boy are you? I insist on no aspirations, no predilections. Books are not to be read.” “I haven’t read a word since my GCSEs, sir.” He smiled. I suppressed a shudder. His teeth were spotted, like the acid foxing on old paper. review to come. read it for yourself here: https://www.tor.com/2017/08/23/the-li...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sr3yas

    The Library of Lost Things is not a fun place like The Library of Babel. https://www.tor.com/2017/08/23/the-li... The Library of Lost Things is not a fun place like The Library of Babel. https://www.tor.com/2017/08/23/the-li...

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anish Kohli

    “You are not a curious boy are you? I insist on no aspirations, no predilections. Books are not to be read.” Thomas Hardy applies for a job at a library. But it’s not an ordinary library. This one houses the books and works that have been lost to mankind or were never finished or discarded. And the most important thing is, none of the works or books are meant to be read! With a librarian who sounds like a horrible thing, Tom seems to have a hidden motive for being there and working in such a “You are not a curious boy are you? I insist on no aspirations, no predilections. Books are not to be read.” Thomas Hardy applies for a job at a library. But it’s not an ordinary library. This one houses the books and works that have been lost to mankind or were never finished or discarded. And the most important thing is, none of the works or books are meant to be read! With a librarian who sounds like a horrible thing, Tom seems to have a hidden motive for being there and working in such a derelict place, hiding his true self. Why? Oh also, there are talking rats! This is one weird af story which begs to be expanded bcz it is definitely very intriguing. It has a lot of open ends and leaves a lot of questions in your mind and the setting is not very detailed either nor are the characters all that well fleshed out but then again, it is a very short story! I just stumbled across this small freebie and I am glad that I did. I really enjoyed the story and it’s pretty cleverly told. Also, this is my first book with gay lead characters. So that’s a good change! When you read it, pay attention to the rats! They’ll keep you busy. Over all, I think it’s pretty great for such a short story and is definitely worth the time! I really liked the ending and I did not see it coming! Read it here “It does not take long for poetry to burn. Verses are highly flammable—it’s because they were dear fuel in someone’s imagination.”

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard Derus

    Rating: 4.5* of five 'At the Speakeasy, Genet regaled the crowd from atop the suitcase. (I wondered what had Hemingway done to Genet to deserve such roughshod disregard for his possessions, and eventually asked him; he said only “The man is famous for writing about a fish. Not a whale but a fish.”)' If you do not read this free story, then you are a ninnyhammer, a noddycock, a complete simp. Rating: 4.5* of five 'At the Speakeasy, Genet regaled the crowd from atop the suitcase. (I wondered what had Hemingway done to Genet to deserve such roughshod disregard for his possessions, and eventually asked him; he said only “The man is famous for writing about a fish. Not a whale but a fish.”)' If you do not read this free story, then you are a ninnyhammer, a noddycock, a complete simp.

  6. 5 out of 5

    jade

    “under no circumstances do you open the book. is that clear?” when i was late in responding, he peered at me. “you are not a curious boy are you? i insist on no aspirations, no predilections. books are not to be read.” “i haven’t read a word since my GCSEs, sir.” a dazzlingly surrealist tale of a library with books not to be read and a young man trying to find something in it. first up, i love the worldbuilding in this, even if remains vague. it’s got that magical realism feel of having one foot “under no circumstances do you open the book. is that clear?” when i was late in responding, he peered at me. “you are not a curious boy are you? i insist on no aspirations, no predilections. books are not to be read.” “i haven’t read a word since my GCSEs, sir.” a dazzlingly surrealist tale of a library with books not to be read and a young man trying to find something in it. first up, i love the worldbuilding in this, even if remains vague. it’s got that magical realism feel of having one foot in contemporary times, and the other in a place where your wardrobe does indeed take you to narnia. mix that with heaps of literary references, words (uttered by rats!) so obscure you have to look them up, wild sexual tension with an archetypical bard, and you’ve sort of got this story. yes, that’s a lot. it surprised me too, and it doesn’t necessarily do this short any favors. the concept is great, though: a place where all the unseen, ruined, destroyed, lost, and unpublished works of the world go. and the antagonist librarian guards them fiercely, merely looking to file them and not have them be read by any of his employees. it’s merely lacking in its execution: due to its weirdness and surrealist tone, it’s almost like matthew bright needs more time to properly set up the world before throwing in a plot and a cast of characters. the romance feels overtly sexual and tacked on (can you even believe that i am the one saying this?), and the whole Big Words + References thing can come off as pretentious. the writing style, i’ll have to admit, wasn’t entirely my cup of tea either. bright seems fond of summing things up via scene simply by adding “and: ...” after a paragraph break, and it makes the whole thing feel disjointed. so, to sum it up: great concept, not so stellar execution. loved those rats, though! read it here. ✎ 3.5 stars.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Victoria Rose

    That half written novel about dragons you wrote aged 12? That's in the library of lost things. Probably filed under Pre-teen: Abandoned in Transition to Teen, or some such thing. This is the crux of this imaginative short - all the unwritten, lost, abandoned, and burned books go to the library. Don't read them though. Our hero gets a job filing the lost books. There are some super friendly but creepy sounding collectors, whose job it is to collect lost works; there are a lot of mice who have lea That half written novel about dragons you wrote aged 12? That's in the library of lost things. Probably filed under Pre-teen: Abandoned in Transition to Teen, or some such thing. This is the crux of this imaginative short - all the unwritten, lost, abandoned, and burned books go to the library. Don't read them though. Our hero gets a job filing the lost books. There are some super friendly but creepy sounding collectors, whose job it is to collect lost works; there are a lot of mice who have learned a few complex words; and there's the librarian, who is like the most nightmarish teacher you ever had combined with the stereotypical librarian who is insanely knowledgeable but utterly merciless if you dare to treat the books incorrectly. The characters and settings are great fun, even if I wasn't entirely convinced with the plot. But overall its a creative story with some really great ideas, even if I wasn't keen on the end.

  8. 5 out of 5

    TL

    The Librarian turned his eyes upon me, reversed the single sheet of paper once, then neatly back again. “An excellent candidate,” he said. And: “Thomas Hardy. An apropos name. We have one of his, you know? No relation, I assume?” And: “‘Favourite grammatical form: passive voice.’” He looked me up and down, pinprick eyes narrowed, and licked his dry bottom lip. “Marvellous.” “Sir?” I said. The Librarian’s tongue flickered. “So wonderfully uninterested. Most boys, well they come here with their nasty adv The Librarian turned his eyes upon me, reversed the single sheet of paper once, then neatly back again. “An excellent candidate,” he said. And: “Thomas Hardy. An apropos name. We have one of his, you know? No relation, I assume?” And: “‘Favourite grammatical form: passive voice.’” He looked me up and down, pinprick eyes narrowed, and licked his dry bottom lip. “Marvellous.” “Sir?” I said. The Librarian’s tongue flickered. “So wonderfully uninterested. Most boys, well they come here with their nasty adverbs and their present tense, or, God forbid, second person.” When he shuddered his spine cracked like an old hardback opened in one swift, cruel motion. “Quite unsuitable. You on the other hand…” And, after some deliberation: “Very well. The job is yours, young Thomas.” ----- Wish it had been longer... loved it.:) Read the story here

  9. 5 out of 5

    Jen

    REALLY liked this one. Imagine, a library FULL of all UNwritten works, lost to the world, but in a humongous library with rats that used words never used anymore. LOVE the setting. Plot? Characters? Who cares? I'll be reading in a secluded corner in this library. Kk?? Thanks! 5 I want to be there NOW stars. REALLY liked this one. Imagine, a library FULL of all UNwritten works, lost to the world, but in a humongous library with rats that used words never used anymore. LOVE the setting. Plot? Characters? Who cares? I'll be reading in a secluded corner in this library. Kk?? Thanks! 5 I want to be there NOW stars.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Silvia

    Okay I simply loved this! I find that stories about books can get a little predictable and annoying in a patronizing way but I never felt this here. It was a really fun and really gay story and most of all I loved the writing. Also, talking rats!

  11. 5 out of 5

    La Coccinelle

    I think the idea of this story is probably better than its execution. I liked the idea of a library where lost things are kept: old diaries, first drafts, emo poetry that you wrote when you were a tween. The writing, though... well, it wasn't really my style. The writing comes across as fairly literary (although it at least uses standard punctuation for dialogue and doesn't resort to using weird points of view). I especially liked the rats with their vocabularies of archaic and underused words. I think the idea of this story is probably better than its execution. I liked the idea of a library where lost things are kept: old diaries, first drafts, emo poetry that you wrote when you were a tween. The writing, though... well, it wasn't really my style. The writing comes across as fairly literary (although it at least uses standard punctuation for dialogue and doesn't resort to using weird points of view). I especially liked the rats with their vocabularies of archaic and underused words. The plot was decent, and I liked how Thomas used the hint he was given to outwit the villain. This was sort of middle-of-the-road for me. I don't really feel passionate about it either way. Some people will probably like this more than I did, especially if they don't mind a bit of insta-love. (Where did that even come from?) All in all, this wasn't terribly memorable for me, but I can see that it might have more appeal for others. Quotable moment: The Librarian sniffed again. “Most incomprehensible.” He departed, dragging his long coat on the ground, which rather than wiping them bare instead lined the flagstones with dust in his wake.

  12. 4 out of 5

    J. Boo

    So after reading a Tor short that was actually enjoyable without caveats (Ghost Hedgehog), I was thinking that maybe the Tor curse was broken. SPOILER: nope. A guy starts working as a filer in a Library of Lost Works - one is only supposed to read the cover, of course, because of Plot Reasons, and which exists at all because of No Reasons, and then some other things happen for Plot Reasons, and he has an insta-love affair, or at least insta-sex affair, with Jean Genet, because of the Outside-the- So after reading a Tor short that was actually enjoyable without caveats (Ghost Hedgehog), I was thinking that maybe the Tor curse was broken. SPOILER: nope. A guy starts working as a filer in a Library of Lost Works - one is only supposed to read the cover, of course, because of Plot Reasons, and which exists at all because of No Reasons, and then some other things happen for Plot Reasons, and he has an insta-love affair, or at least insta-sex affair, with Jean Genet, because of the Outside-the-Book Reason that the author is obviously one of those people who slobbers over Genet (I'm not one of them). Bleah. I did like the "word rats", who deserved a role in something better, or at least less bad.

  13. 5 out of 5

    'Nathan Burgoine

    I loved this wee tale from Matthew Bright. It's full to the brim with a slightly off-kilter weird fiction vibe that, in the hands of a skilled writer such as he, is entirely endearing. A library of lost works? A librarian with a dark desire for those of zero imagination or expansiveness to sort--without reading--those works? Rats who've nibbled enough fiction to learn polysyllabic verbiage? And maybe, just maybe, a little bit of romance of a forbidden sort? Bring it. You can even read it for fre I loved this wee tale from Matthew Bright. It's full to the brim with a slightly off-kilter weird fiction vibe that, in the hands of a skilled writer such as he, is entirely endearing. A library of lost works? A librarian with a dark desire for those of zero imagination or expansiveness to sort--without reading--those works? Rats who've nibbled enough fiction to learn polysyllabic verbiage? And maybe, just maybe, a little bit of romance of a forbidden sort? Bring it. You can even read it for free, at Tor.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Daren

    A free short story from Tor.Com. A dark fantasy set in the library of lost things, "where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost." Richly atmospheric, with colourful characters, and the pace necessary for a short story. Three and a half stars, rounded up. A free short story from Tor.Com. A dark fantasy set in the library of lost things, "where the shelves are stuffed with books that have fallen through the cracks—from volumes of lovelorn teenage poetry to famous works of literature long destroyed or lost." Richly atmospheric, with colourful characters, and the pace necessary for a short story. Three and a half stars, rounded up.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kulwinder Singh

    What did i just read!! Not good!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sanaa Hyder

    Started off on a good note ‘cause umm that title. But I didn’t like the protagonist or his story. I did like the rats, the rats saved this story...well, almost saved this story. Maybe I’m too much of a prude for unnecesary sex scenes set in an otherwise whimsical library setting, no just no.

  17. 4 out of 5

    anna (½ of readsrainbow)

    rep: mlm (bi?) mc & li absolutely love this concept

  18. 4 out of 5

    Prabhjot Kaur

    Tom Hardy starts working as an Indexer at a library. This library is no ordinary library but it is The library of lost things. Things that once were. The librarian is very authoritarian and gives strict instructions of never to open a book. Tom Hardy has a secret that he is hiding. Tom gets invited to the nightly speakeasy by one of the other workers, Gadzooks at the library and there he finds Jean Genet and some other lost songs and things. Also, the speaking rats seem to like him. Tom comes acr Tom Hardy starts working as an Indexer at a library. This library is no ordinary library but it is The library of lost things. Things that once were. The librarian is very authoritarian and gives strict instructions of never to open a book. Tom Hardy has a secret that he is hiding. Tom gets invited to the nightly speakeasy by one of the other workers, Gadzooks at the library and there he finds Jean Genet and some other lost songs and things. Also, the speaking rats seem to like him. Tom comes across the book that he was looking for and stashes it in his room. But the librarian finds that book and burns it. It turns out that that book was the only copy of the poetry that his father wrote and now he's lost it. Or has he? Because it turns out that Tom had copied it onto another book. I found the plot of the story absolutely fascinating and I wish for a return there again in future. Rats and Gadzooks were my favorite. 4.5 stars

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anastasia

    2.5/5 I don't know... A lot of unknown words (not my native language). And the story itself for 70% was unclear. But I still enjoy reading short stories from Tor, so it wasn't a waste. 2.5/5 I don't know... A lot of unknown words (not my native language). And the story itself for 70% was unclear. But I still enjoy reading short stories from Tor, so it wasn't a waste.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Vanellope

    Actual Rating: 3.5 ish Did a really great job of setting up some really interesting worldbuilding in a short amount of pages, which I really liked.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nadine

    Super quick short story read highly recommend for book and word fans.

  22. 5 out of 5

    aina

    I loved the experience of reading this one! The word choices, though unfamiliar, were brilliant and fun. The characters were quirky yet charming in their own way. (It gave me strong Coraline, the animation one, vibe somehow.) And the Library, I'd love to visit it for once in my lifetime. Although it's a novella, the worldbuilding was solid and adequate for the plot. But still, it left me wanting more by the end of the story. p/s: You can read it online on Tor.com. I loved the experience of reading this one! The word choices, though unfamiliar, were brilliant and fun. The characters were quirky yet charming in their own way. (It gave me strong Coraline, the animation one, vibe somehow.) And the Library, I'd love to visit it for once in my lifetime. Although it's a novella, the worldbuilding was solid and adequate for the plot. But still, it left me wanting more by the end of the story. p/s: You can read it online on Tor.com.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    Maybe it would help if I hadn't fairly recently read the library-themed SFF anthology Ex Libris, but the key ideas here - the bibliophile's dream of a library where all the lost books of history are preserved, combined with the nightmare of nobody being able to read them - felt sufficiently played out that not even a celebrity queer romance could enliven them. Maybe it would help if I hadn't fairly recently read the library-themed SFF anthology Ex Libris, but the key ideas here - the bibliophile's dream of a library where all the lost books of history are preserved, combined with the nightmare of nobody being able to read them - felt sufficiently played out that not even a celebrity queer romance could enliven them.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kavya

    Available for free reading on tor.com. Dark and rich with books, vocabulary, seduction, too many syllables, regrets and risks. A great read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marita_z

    Funny little story with much nonsense! :-)

  26. 4 out of 5

    Roslyn

    3.5 Quirky and interesting, but in the end it didn't quite come together for me. 3.5 Quirky and interesting, but in the end it didn't quite come together for me.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Angela Chen

    hm, yes. a very indulgent piece of fiction for me. libraries, lost literature, obscure words, clever plays on language. not to mention it’s pretty gay.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    A library for manuscripts that will never see the light of day, because their author was embarrassed, or killed himself, or the times were wrong. Books that might have been, but couldn't be. A library for manuscripts that will never see the light of day, because their author was embarrassed, or killed himself, or the times were wrong. Books that might have been, but couldn't be.

  29. 4 out of 5

    MonumentToDecency

    This is hands down the very best book I have read in the past year. I have no idea where I got this book or when I got it, but I will never forget Thomas Hardy, Jean Genet, the library rats, and the Librarian. The Library of Lost Things is a brilliant and refreshingly intelligent tale that should be added to the literary classics on every shelf everywhere. I just wish it was longer than 28 pages - though brief, it is bursting with a creative and imaginative story that I could easily reread multip This is hands down the very best book I have read in the past year. I have no idea where I got this book or when I got it, but I will never forget Thomas Hardy, Jean Genet, the library rats, and the Librarian. The Library of Lost Things is a brilliant and refreshingly intelligent tale that should be added to the literary classics on every shelf everywhere. I just wish it was longer than 28 pages - though brief, it is bursting with a creative and imaginative story that I could easily reread multiple times a year. My rating: all the stars. ALL. THE. STARS.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Corina

    So very, very clever. I loved the setting - a library filled with all the books/manuscripts/stories/poems that have fallen through the cracks. There are rats who run around squeaking declarative words from long ago - Borborygmus! Anopisthograph! Swivet. There are Collectors with doors to retrieve the lost books. There is an unassuming boy protagonist who is more than he seems. I read it a second time, while actually looking up the meanings to the strange and forgotten words and they do actually a So very, very clever. I loved the setting - a library filled with all the books/manuscripts/stories/poems that have fallen through the cracks. There are rats who run around squeaking declarative words from long ago - Borborygmus! Anopisthograph! Swivet. There are Collectors with doors to retrieve the lost books. There is an unassuming boy protagonist who is more than he seems. I read it a second time, while actually looking up the meanings to the strange and forgotten words and they do actually add a lot. Read it online here: https://www.tor.com/2017/08/23/the-li...

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