Hi guys! How are you? I’ve always been infatuated with books about books: books with characters who love to read, books set in bookstores or libraries, books where a book plays a significant part in the plot. Most of us enjoy the feeling of seeing ourselves in the books we read and what’s more relatable to a reader than a character who loves books as much as we do? So today I want to share my little list of lovely books about books:
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
“If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures…”
If you’ve ever read a book you just couldn’t put down, you’ll see yourself in the protagonist of this novel. Bastian steals a mysterious book from an antiquarian bookstore, then hides out in his school’s attic to read it. But when he does, he experiences something strange. He finds himself pulled right into it’s pages – into the enchanted world of Fantastica, which is ruled by a child empress and discovers he’s the only one who can save her.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
“Books have to be heavy because the whole world’s inside them.”
This YA fantasy novel will captivate any book lover’s imagination. It’s follows a girl called Meggie, who grows up in a home full of books. But despite her father being a bookbinder by trade and a passionate reader – he’s never read aloud to her. When a mysterious stranger arrives Meggie learns her father’s secret: his voice has the power to read characters out of their books and into the real world.
An Unnecessary Woman by Rabih Alameddin
“I slipped into art to escape life. I sneaked off into literature.”
Aaliya Sohbi, the 72 year old protagonist of this novel, is one of my favorite literary book lovers. She’s a recluse, a hermit, in her own words: an unnecessary woman. She lives alone in her Beirut apartment, surrounded by stacks of books. Every year she translates one of her favorites into Arabic, but she never lets anyone read them.
Among Others by Jo Walton
“If you love books enough, books will love you back.”
Among Others is an unusual coming of age story about a girl with the ability to see fairies and practice magic. After a magical confrontation that killed her twin sister and disabled her, Morwenna’s sent to boarding school in England. She’s a quiet girl, who spends most of her time reading SFF books and writing about them in her diary. But then she joins a book club at the local library and finding her people helps her find her voice as well.
Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
“Few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.”
On the day Daniel turns 11, his father takes him to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a secret library of old books run by a secret society of rare book-dealers. Daniel is allowed to pick one book from the shelves (can you imagine though, I’d still be standing there trying to decide) and he chooses The Shadow of the Wind by Julian Carax. He loves the book so much he starts searching for the author’s other works, only to discover someone’s been destroying every copy of his works. Thus Daniel’s pulled into a web of mystery, dark secrets and Gothic intrigue.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad books.”
The protagonist of this epistolary novel is a writer and book-lover. She’s contacted by a man who’s found her name inside a secondhand book and asks for her help in finding more books by the same author. Being a dedicated bookworm (she ended her engagement cause her fiance dared to put her books in the basement) she’s happy to help and it’s start of a beautiful correspondence. He tells her about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, a book club which started as an alibi during the German Occupation, and it’s not long before Juliet travels to Guernsey to meet the eccentric members in person.
Paris is Always a Good Idea by Nicolas Barreau
“A few days later, on a springlike day in April, the story of the blue tiger entered Rosalie Laurent’s life and changed it forever.”
This lovely little love story set in Paris is also a love letter to literature, it’s a book that believes in the magic and power of stories. The three main characters are brought together by a children’s book about a girl’s magical encounter with a flying blue tiger: the old man who wrote it, the young woman who illustrated it and the American man who has a very personal connection to it.
Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley
“I love books down to the full stops. I love them in a way that’s beyond logic and reason.”
I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that loved book as much as this one does. It’s about two teens, Henry and Rachel, who used to be best friends until she moved away. Henry’s family owns a secondhand bookstore where he lives, work and reads. The bookstore is lovingly described in great detail, especially the so-called Letter Library: a collection of books which aren’t for sale, where customers are encourage to underline, highlight, scribble in the margins, and even leave letters for other readers between the pages. Before leaving town Rachel left a love letter for Henry there, but he never answered.
How to Be a Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned from Reading Too Much by Samantha Ellis
“Though I’m beginning to think all readings are provisional, and that maybe we read heroines for what we need from them at the time.”
When Samantha Ellis and her best friend visited the Yorkshire moors, they started arguing about who they’d rather be: Cathy or Jane. Samantha has always been a dedicated Cathy fangirl, but when her friend makes som some compelling points – she starts to wonder what other heroines she might have misjudged. To figure it out she re-reads the books that shaped her and reflects on what she’s learned from their heroines, from Anne of Green Gables to Scarlett O’Hara.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
“These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
Matilda was my first fictional bookworm heroine. The little girl with the brilliant mind and telekinetic powers learns to read when she is only three years old, despite her family only owning one book. Soon the library becomes her refuge and reading books becomes her escape from her difficult home life, abusive parents and terrible headmistress.
Have you read any of these books? Did you enjoy them? What are your favorite books about books? Your favorite fictional bookworms? And be honest: have you ever skipped school to read? (I have)