8 Best Book About Books Update 05/2022

If you get warm and fuzzy thinking about magical bookstores, old libraries, or fascinating manuscripts, you might be a book lover, which is a title we proudly wear around here. So, whether you’re a self-professed bibliophile or simply enjoy reading about books, we’ve compiled a list 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 book shops.

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread (Barnes & Noble Exclusive Edition)

Michiko Kakutani

Michiko Kakutani is a Japanese actress.

Browsing the shelves for something new to read on a rainy afternoon—or any afternoon, for that matter—is a delightful way to pass the time. What better company to be in than Michiko Kakutani, the intelligent former chief book critic for The New York Times? Ex Libris is like running into Kakutani at a party and having her show you around. The way she introduces each author and book makes you want to eat not only that book, but everything else that author has ever written. These provocative articles by a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic serve as a passionate reminder of why reading is more important than ever. You’ll never be short on reading material with this feast for the eyes and mind.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

Fiona Davis

If you’ve ever walked between the Patience and Fortitude statues, the dignified lions that stand proudly in front of the New York Public Library’s 42nd Street headquarters, you know that entering this institution can be a breathtaking experience, especially for book lovers. What Davis has done here is to combine all of that awe and wonder into a fascinating mystery/historical tale that spans generations of bold women. “For bookworms everywhere, [a] page-turner!” “This is a narrative of family relationships, lost dreams, and the redemption that comes with learning the truth.” The Shoemaker’s Wife author Adriana Trigiani

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek

Kim Michele Richardson

Have you ever heard of Kentucky’s blue-skinned people? Or how about the 1930s’ devoted Kentucky Pack Horse Library service? Regardless of whether you answered yes or no, you must read this book. A melancholy and completely engrossing historical novel, as well as a love letter to heroic packhorse librarians who not only disseminated literacy but also nurtured human connection in remote Appalachia. “A timeless and important narrative about poverty, intolerance, and the power of books to bring hope and light to even the darkest corners of history.” —Sin in the Second City author Karen Abbott

The Shadow of the Wind

Carlos Ruiz Zafón , Lucia Graves

Sadly, one of the world’s most renowned and widely read authors, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, passed away this year. The Shadow of the Wind, as well as the entire Cemetery of Forgotten Books series, belong in a particular category of rare enchanting reads—books you’ll want to read, share, and reread again and again. The discovery of a forgotten book leads to a fascinating adventure of romance, guile, and murder in this literary gem set in 1945 Barcelona, in the immediate aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. “Anyone who appreciates terrifying, erotic, touching, tragic, and thrilling novels should rush out to the nearest bookstore and grab a copy of The Shadow of the Wind.” —The Washington Post’s Michael Dirda

The Midnight Library

Matt Haig

The story is just as epic as the title suggests, pondering all of life’s what-ifs, regrets, and missed opportunities, while embracing the challenges and joys that come with change. For the second time in his career, Haig displays his mastery of storytelling, sensitivity, and careful observation of everyday life—with a supernatural twist. “Charming…a celebration of the ordinary: ordinary insights, ordinary individuals, and the infinity of worlds sown in ordinary choices,” The Guardian proclaimed this one to be.

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

Robin Sloan

That being said, we may be a little prejudiced here, but a book about a strange, maybe magical bookstore is a must-read for everyone. But this literary journey goes much more than that. This love letter to books is humorous, intelligent, and, like a wonderful bookstore, one you’ll never want to leave. It’s equal parts old-fashioned fantasy, psychological mystery, and technological meditation on the search for permanence in the digital era. An engrossing tale about love for books, history, and the future. I loved every aspect of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. “Little Brother,” by Cory Doctorow

The Book of Hidden Wonders

Polly Crosby

Leaving a map and a treasure hunt for his daughter in a series of illustrated children’s books is what a parent is truly doing when he immortalizes his daughter. Loss, mental illness, and the search for one’s own identity are all explored in this endearing and innovative debut novel. In a haunted house childhood where the environment becomes more stranger, it is a truly moving portrayal of the ascent to adulthood. It is a marvelously tender nightmare.” Strange, familiar, and nostalgic all at the same time.” Author of The Iremonger Trilogy Edward Carey

The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel

Diane Setterfield

This is the book that best captures the enchantment of good storytelling. When two women, one a reclusive novelist and the other a disturbed young biographer, work together to unearth their pasts and confront their fate, the enchantment is caught perfectly. Unforgettable characters and a brilliant mystery with perfectly timed plot twists and turns. Thrilling and frightening, “Setterfield proves a mistress of the technique of storytelling and her meditations on the pleasures of reading are most beguiling,” —The Observer

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

Anna James , Paola Escobar

Why not enter the worlds of your favorite authors and characters? In addition to being an endearing tale of a young bookworm who can fly, this enthralling series is also a joyous celebration of the written word. Pages & Co.’s Tilly and Oskar ultimately return to the United States in this third book in the series (to the Library of Congress, no less). They’re looking for an elusive group of bookwanderers who they believe can help them save bookwandering for all time at this location. You must read this series for anyone who has ever been infatuated with an epic tale.

A Child of Books

Oliver Jeffers , Sam Winston

One child’s epic voyage into the imagination is illustrated in this lyrical picture book by the author-illustrator team behind Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth and my personal favorite—Lost and Found. The artist Sam Winston, who creates typographic landscapes based on traditional children’s stories and lullabies, collaborates with Jeffers on this project. Every page is a piece of art you’ll want to hang on your wall, and each word is a treasure you’ll want to share with everyone you know.

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