Books About Books for Bookish People
It’s time to get a little bit meta, and talk about books about books. There is something about characters who share my love of reading, and inside jokes that refer to other books that elevates a story to a whole other level for me. Here are a few of my favorite books about books…
1. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
I. LOVE. THIS. BOOK. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is a wonderfully quirky mystery, involving everything from an old bookstore to a secret society to Google. It is a wonderful book about lifelong love of, and devotion to, books and learning. The characters are quirky and fun, and it takes place in San Francisco and NYC, my two favorite cities. As Clay, the main character, tries to uncover just what is going on in Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore, with its loyal customers and the large, obscure volumes they ‘check out” from the store.
Also, the cover has glow-in-the-dark books on it. Come on, how can you not want a copy?
2. Parnassus on Wheels by Christopher Morley
Two words: traveling bookstore. A few more words: A beautiful rumination on what it means to read and cultivate a love of books, and the power of books to change lives. A traveling bookseller enters Helen McGill’s life unexpectedly, and his love of books and traveling bookmobile sweep her off her feet and into her very own adventures.
When you sell a man a book, you don’t sell him just twelve ounces of paper and ink and glue—you sell him a whole new life.
The Eyre Affair is a fantastical series for the bookish at heart. It is the first in a series set in a surreal version of Great Britain where fantasy runs rampant and literature is taken very seriously. Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection, sets out to track down the villain in a literary homicide and solve the mystery in this wonderful whodunnit. The Eyre Affair is a wonderfully nerdy and delightful story for anyone who considers themselves a bookworm.
Who doesn’t love a good book? Certainly the Queen of England, the main character in Alan Bennett’s novella, loves a good read. When she stumbles across a mobile library near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels like she must borrow a book. That book changes her life and she discovers the joy of reading. The Queen’s love of books turns everything topsy-turvy, alarming the staff and leading to some surprising and hysterical consequences. The Uncommon Reader is a darling novella, full of laughs and book love.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is about the golden age of comic books. It’s about so much more than that, of course, but the story grows around the love two boys share for comic books. (And each other, and a girl.) Michael Chabon is a brilliant writer and it was easy to get lost in his beautiful sentences and metaphors, and the love of comic books that flows off the pages. The story of Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay is poignant and moving, and I fell in love with the characters and the comic book world they lived in.