10 Books About Books: A Book Lover’s Must-Read Guide

Magical bookstores, historic libraries, mysterious manuscripts—if any of these things conjure up warm and fuzzy feelings, you might be a book lover and that’s a title we wear with pride around here. So, whether you’re a self-proclaimed bibliophile or just love reading about reading, we’ve compiled a collection of some of our favorite books about books (mostly new with a few classics) to celebrate the ways stories and reading bring us together and help us take flight to fantastic new places… preferably of the book shop variety.

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread
Michiko Kakutani

Browsing the bookshelves for something new to read is a lovely way to spend a rainy afternoon—or any afternoon for that matter. And what better company than the insightful former chief book critic for The New York Times, Michiko Kakutani? Reading Ex Libris is like bumping into Kakutani at a party where she takes you around the room. The way she introduces each author and book makes you not only want to read that book as soon as possible but also devour everything that author has ever written. These thought-provoking essays from a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic are an impassioned reminder of why reading matters more than ever. A feast for the eyes and mind, you’ll never go hungry for something to read with Ex Libris in your hand.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue
Fiona Davis

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of walking through the towering statues Patience and Fortitude—the stately lions that stand proudly in front of the New York Public Library’s 42nd Street location—you understand that entering this building can be a breathtaking experience, especially for book lovers. What Davis has done here is take all that awe and wonder and weave it throughout a delightful mystery/historical novel that travels across generations of fearless women. “[A] page-turner for booklovers everywhere! … This is a story of family ties, their lost dreams, and the redemption that comes from discovering truth.”— Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker’s Wife 

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek 
Kim Michele Richardson

Have you ever heard of the blue-skinned people of Kentucky? Or the dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse Library service of the 1930s? Whether your answer is yes or no—you need to read this book. A haunting and utterly captivating piece of historical fiction and a love letter to brave packhorse librarians who not only dispensed literacy but fostered human connection in rural Appalachia.  “A timeless and significant tale about poverty, intolerance and how books can bring hope and light to even the darkest pocket of history.” —Karen Abbott, author of Sin in the Second City

The Shadow of the Wind
Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Sadly, we lost the great Carlos Ruiz Zafón this year–one of the world’s most beloved and most-read authors. The Shadow of the Wind and the entirety of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series are in a special league of rare magical reads—books you just want to read, share and repeat. This literary gem set in 1945 Barcelona, in the direct aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, follows the discovery of a forgotten book that leads to a thrilling adventure of passion, guile and murder. “Anyone who enjoys novels that are scary, erotic, touching, tragic and thrilling should rush right out to the nearest bookstore and pick up The Shadow of the Wind.”—Michael Dirda, for The Washington Post

The Midnight Library: A Novel 
Matt Haig

While the title alone will likely have you adding this book to your TBR pile, the story is just as epic—one that ponders all the what-ifs in life, the regrets and chances not taken while embracing the challenges and joys that come with change. Much like his previous bestselling novel, How to Stop Time, Haig once again showcases his deft storytelling, empathy and keen observations of everyday life—with a slightly magical twist. Clever and uplifting, The Guardian hailed this one as “Charming…a celebration of the ordinary: ordinary revelations, ordinary people, and the infinity of worlds seeded in ordinary choices.”

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel 
Robin Sloan

So, we might be biased here, but a feel-good read about a mysterious, possibly magical bookstore is going to be a must-read. And while all that is true, this literary adventure is much more than that. Part old-fashioned fantasy, part existential mystery, part technological meditation on the quest for permanence in the digital age, this love letter to books is delightfully funny, clever and just like a great bookstore, one you’ll never want to leave. “A book about passion—for books, for history, for the future…There is nothing about Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore that I didn’t love.”—Cory Doctorow, author of Little Brother

The Book of Hidden Wonders: A Novel 
Polly Crosby

When a father immortalizes his daughter in a series of illustrated children’s books, what he’s really doing is leaving her a map, a treasure hunt that will force her to face the shocking truths that have haunted her family. This charming and deeply imaginative debut novel is an unforgettable coming-of-age tale that explores loss, mental illness and ultimately, self-discovery. “It is a most wonderfully tender nightmare, a haunted house childhood where the landscape gets ever stranger, a deeply affecting portrait of the climb towards adulthood. Nostalgic, familiar and yet utterly strange.”—Edward Carey, author of The Iremonger trilogy

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel 
Diane Setterfield

If there was ever a book that truly put into words the sheer magic of storytelling, this is it. And that magic is captured perfectly in this story of two women working together—one a reclusive author, the other, a troubled young biographer—to unlock their pasts in order to confront their destiny. A clever mystery with flawlessly timed plot twists, suspense and unforgettable characters. Eerie and at times unsettling, “Setterfield proves a mistress of the craft of storytelling, and her musings about the pleasures of reading are most beguiling.”—The Guardian

The Map of Stories (Pages & Co. Series #3) 
Anna James

What if you could walk into the pages of your favorite stories? This irresistible series of a young bookworm who can is both a charming fantasy and a delightful celebration of reading and the written word. In this third installment of the Pages & Co. series, Tilly and Oskar finally take their bookwandering stateside (to the Library of Congress, no less). There, they find themselves in search of an elusive group of bookwanderers that they believe has the power to help them save bookwandering forever. A captivating adventure, this series is a must-read for anyone who has ever fallen in love with a story.

A Child of Books 
Oliver Jeffers, Sam Winston

A child drifts across a sea of words on an epic journey into the imagination—these are the images you’ll find in this lyrical and stunningly beautiful picture book from the author & illustrator of Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth, and my personal favorite—Lost and Found. Here, Jeffers collaborates with Sam Winston—a fine artist who creates typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of classic children’s stories and lullabies. Every page is a portrait you would happily hang up on your walls and each word a gift that you’ll want to pass on to every child (and adult) in your life.

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