I love books about books; books set in libraries, books set in bookshops, books about booklovers. I love reading about other readers and I’ve loved so many bookish books, that I thought I’d put them all into a post (you know I love a good list post)!
The first book that came to mind was The Stories Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin. I read this book 5 years ago according to Goodreads, and I remember really loving it. I’m well-overdue a reread of this book as I can’t remember too many of the specifics, but I do remember that I loved this book and that it was extremely bookish!
Here’s the blurb:
We are not quite novels.
We are not quite short stories.
In the end, we are collected works.
A. J. Fikry’s life is not at all what he expected it to be. His wife has died; his bookstore is experiencing the worst sales in its history; and now his prized possession, a rare collection of Poe poems, has been stolen. Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island—from Chief Lambiase, the well-intentioned police officer who’s always felt kindly toward him; from Ismay, his sister-in-law, who is hell-bent on saving A.J. from his dreary self; from Amelia, the lovely and idealistic (if eccentric) Knightley Press sales rep who persists in taking the ferry to Alice Island, refusing to be deterred by A.J.’s bad attitude. Even the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him. These days, he can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore. It’s a small package, though large in weight—an unexpected arrival that gives A.J. the opportunity to make his life over, the ability to see everything anew. It doesn’t take long for the locals to notice the change overcoming A.J., for the determined sales rep Amelia to see her curmudgeonly client in a new light, for the wisdom of all those books to become again the lifeblood of A.J.’s world. Or for everything to twist again into a version of his life that he didn’t see coming.
Next is another book that I read a while ago: Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane. This is another extremely bookish book, which was mysterious and felt magical from what I remember. I enjoyed the way that there’s a mixture of the old bookshop and the new ‘internet world’. I remember this book being all over Booktube around the time that I read it, so I think that’s why I picked it up, and I’m glad I did. It’s another book that I’m overdue a reread of in the future.
Here’s the blurb:
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, but after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything; instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends, but when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls.
Next is The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. This is a book that took me a while to read but when I did, I really enjoyed it. I think this was another book that was recommended on Booktube about 5 or 6 years ago. I remember really enjoying this book and since reading it I’ve discovered that there are other books in the series, which I’ll definitely check out after I’ve reread this one.
Here’s the blurb:
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
Next is a book that I read this year so I do remember what it’s about! This book is A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan. This is a middle-grade book is set in a library and was really lovely. This is a really great debut from this author, and I’m looking forward to reading her next book! Here’s the blurb:
Jamie Bunn made a mistake at the end of the school year. A big one. And every kid in her middle school knows all about it. Now she has to spend her summer vacation volunteering at the local library—as punishment. It may be boring, but at least she’ll be able to hide from mean girl Trina, who’s always had it out for her, and beautiful Trey, the boy at the root of her big mistake.
Or so she thinks.
Not only does her job bring her face-to-face with both her mortal enemy and her ultimate crush, Jamie also encounters a territorial patron, an elderly movie fanatic, a super-tall painter who loves to bake, and a homeless dog. Over the course of the summer, as Jamie gets to know the library and the people in it, she finds—and gives—help where she least expects it.
And she just might find herself along the way.
The next book on this list is about an adorable book club that I would love to be a part of. The Paper and Hearts Society sounds like the best book club and I loved reading about the characters. I’m also really excited to read the sequel, Read With Pride, when it comes out at the end of the month! This is a book that I read in one day on the way home from a week spent with my boyfriend’s family. I couldn’t put this book down, I loved the way it was written and I really enjoyed reading it.
Here’s the blurb:
Tabby Brown is tired of trying to fit in. She doesn’t want to go to parties – in fact, she would much rather snuggle up on the sofa with her favourite book.
It’s like she hasn’t found her people …
Then Tabby joins a club that promises to celebrate books. What could go wrong? EVERYTHING – especially when making new friends brings out an AWKWARD BUZZING feeling all over her body.
But Olivia, Cassie, Henry and Ed have something that makes Tabby come back. Maybe it’s the Austen-themed fancy-dress parties, or Ed’s fluffy cat Mrs Simpkins, or could it be Henry himself …
Can Tabby let her weird out AND live THE BEST BOOKISH LIFE POSSIBLE?
Next is the only non-fiction book on this list. I read Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading last year and I really enjoyed it. I’ve never read anything like it before and it was nice to read another reader’s childhood memories of reading. It was a really lovely memoir about reading and the books that made her a bookworm.
Here’s the blurb:
When Lucy Mangan was little, stories were everything. They opened up new worlds and cast light on all the complexities she encountered in this one.
She was whisked away to Narnia – and Kirrin Island – and Wonderland. She ventured down rabbit holes and womble burrows into midnight gardens and chocolate factories. She wandered the countryside with Milly-Molly-Mandy, and played by the tracks with the Railway Children. With Charlotte’s Web she discovered Death and with Judy Blume it was Boys. No wonder she only left the house for her weekly trip to the library or to spend her pocket money on amassing her own at home.
In Bookworm, Lucy revisits her childhood reading with wit, love and gratitude. She relives our best-beloved books, their extraordinary creators, and looks at the thousand subtle ways they shape our lives. She also disinters a few forgotten treasures to inspire the next generation of bookworms and set them on their way.
Lucy brings the favourite characters of our collective childhoods back to life – prompting endless re-readings, rediscoveries, and, inevitably, fierce debate – and brilliantly uses them to tell her own story, that of a born, and unrepentant, bookworm.
Sorcery of Thorns is a fantasy book which is extremely bookish. It has magical libraries, powerful grimoires and is full of action, something I don’t think I was expecting when I started reading it. I loved the library setting and I enjoyed reading about the majority of the characters. I also thought the grimoires were quite interesting to read about.
Here’s the blurb:
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
The last book on this list is a recent addition (so recent that I’ve not even finished it yet). That book is Tilly and the Bookwanderers, the first book in the Pages and Co. series. I’ve been reading this book as part of the Middle Grade Marvels book club and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it so far. I love the references to other books and the magical elements of the story. It’s a lovely story and it’s written so beautifully, I can’t help but get drawn into the story every time I pick it up. So far I’ve read the first 20 chapters in two sittings (10 chapters at a time in each)!
Here’s the blurb:
Eleven year-old Tilly has lived above her grandparents’ bookshop ever since her mother disappeared shortly after she was born. Like the rest of her family, Tilly loves nothing more than to escape into the pages of her favourite stories.
One day Tilly realises that classic children’s characters are appearing in the shop through the magic of `book wandering’ – crossing over from the page into real life.
With the help of Anne of Green Gables and Alice in Wonderland. Tilly is determined to solve the mystery of what happened to her mother all those years ago, so she bravely steps into the unknown, unsure of what adventure lies ahead and what dangers she may face.
That’s just a short list of some books about books that I’ve enjoyed. I love reading books about other readers, or set in libraries/bookshops, I always find it quite magical to read about.
What are some of your favourite bookish books? Let me know!