For the last couple of months the book blogging world has been enthralled by The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern. I’m only 1/3 in so I can’t say much about it yet, but one of the reasons why everyone seems to love it (and rightly so!) is that it pays homage to reading, readers and the books we all love.

If you have already read The Starless Sea and are wondering what to do with yourself, or would simply like to read more books on this theme, here are 10 books to keep you going:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. I imagine many readers have heard of Liesel, the girl who is sent to live with foster parents in the German countryside during the second world war and who catches Death’s attention by stealing a book. A must-read for any book lover.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. Not only has protagonist Margaret Lea grown up in a second-hand book store, she is also an amateur biographer, tasked to interview a mysterious author who is finally willing to share the story of her life. If anyone can appreciate a good book, it’s Margaret!

The Novel Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin. This is not a work of fiction but a self-help book that lists any ailment you could possibly have and advises you which book to read. Itchy feet? The Odyssey. Carelessness? The Little Prince. Pessimism? Robinson Crusoe. You name it.

The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. When Daniel Sempere was a young boy, his father took him to the cemetery of forgotten books, where he, like every new initiate, got to choose a book to keep forever and protect with his life. Problem is, someone is tracking down all books by this author and burning them…

A secret society that collects forgotten books and stores them in a mysterious, labyrinth like library? Yes please!

The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. This is one of the trippiest books I have ever read. It tells the story of Ariel Manto who finds an extremely rare copy of 19th century book in a second-hand bookshop. The book is rumoured to be cursed, everyone who reads it dies soon afterwards. What follows is a chase, a homeopathic formula that allows the user to travel into a different dimension and a lot of reading people’s thoughts…

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. Even though the society which gives this book its name was originally only a cover for breaking curfew during the German occupation, this novel is definitely very bookish. Juliet’s letter exchange with Dawsey starts over a shared love for Charles Lamb and she travels to the island to capture this interesting group of people in —you guessed it— a book.

Matilda by Roald Dahl. Do I even need to explain this one? We all love this wonderful girl who reads grown-up books and moves objects with her mind. I imagine people do reading challenges of all the books she reads, just like they do for Rory Gilmore. That’s a lot of Charles Dickens, though, yuck.

Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling. We have all read this one, haven’t we? But hear me out. The bookishness of HP6 doesn’t only lie in Harry’s sudden interest in reading his Potions book before bed, but in the overall theme of critical reading.

Harry doesn’t read critically and follows the prince’s instructions to the letter, leading to his almost killing Draco Malfoy. Even though we are constantly nudged to think of Hermione as too bitter and too much into ‘the real rules’ to understand why the Half-Blood Prince’s book is so cool, she’s clearly much more sensible than Harry. In the earlier books in the series she has discovered that she cannot completely rely on books anymore (think, for example, of the omission of house-elf slavery in Hogwarts: A History) and she is trying to put Harry on his guard.

Tintenherz by Cornelia Funke (Inkheart in English). This is the first book in a German trilogy in which the protagonist’s dad can read aloud so beautifully that he accidentally reads people into the book and characters out of it. What would you do if one of the criminals from your favourite fairy tale suddenly came alive?

(* This book lives in my childhood home so I couldn’t take a picture with it.)

S. by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams. This book is a story on top of a story. Its first layer is a sailor’s mysterious quest to find his own identity after he wakes up without any memories. The second layer are the notes in the margins that tell the love story of two people who keep checking this book out of the library.

I must add as a disclaimer that I haven’t made it all the way through this book yet. The first layer is good enough, but the notes in the margins are very hard to piece together into a narrative, and therefore more interesting as a concept than in practice. It is such an original idea though, that I do want to share it with you.


What do you think?

Have you read any of these books? How did you find them? Do you know any other books about books & book lovers? Let’s chat in the comments!

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16 thoughts on “10 Books About Books & Book Lovers

  1. What a great list! After reading The Starless Sea, I’ve realized all over again how much I love reading about book lovers, and a lot of the books on this list – like The Book Thief, Guernsey, and of course Harry Potter – are ones that I’ve adored. Right now I’m reading The Hazel Wood, which is also very book/story themed, and it’s reminding me a lot of Inkheart, which I haven’t thought about in YEARS. And I’ve definitely heard so many good things about The Shadow of the Wind that that’s going right onto my TBR!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Fun post! I enjoyed Starless Sea, and I think you’re right about loving the connection it makes with bookish people and things! Have you ever read The Invisible Library series? I was gifted it a while ago. Although I’ve never gotten around to reading it, the story seems like it could fit this list! Thanks for the ideas! I love Book Thief! 🙃

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wonderful list, Emmie! I’ve read many of these books, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society being my favorite on this list. I haven’t read S, though — and that’s the sort of book I’d love. I adore epistolary novels (as shown by my love for the previous book). This is a new take on epistles, in my opinion.

    I’d add Reading Lolita in Tehran and Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore to this list, if I could. I bet I could re-create a list like this with few duplicates! So many wonderful books about books…

    I’m impressed that you own all of these books! The number of books I own is fairly small as I use the library for most of my reading. How many books do you own?!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’d be very interested in reading your list :). I recently counted my books and I own about 200, 20% unread. Getting books from the library is great! I recently acquired a library card and I really love it, but the selection of English books in Dutch libraries is still a bit limited so I do still often buy books as well. I try to get them second hand where I can. How many books do you own?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Done! I’ve slated making my own list to replace a Top Ten Tuesday theme in the future– I don’t always follow them. 😉

        Ugh, I’m a bit embarrassed to say I don’t know how many books I own. I didn’t think it was that many, but my husband I moved in June and found WAY more books than we expected to find. I hope to sort through them and start determining what books I can donate or use for Giveaways on my blog. I need fewer. And what I do have, I should catalog so I know what I own! XD My blog is named Death by Tsundoku for good reason… I could make some tables and chairs out of the number of books I own, probably. Oops.

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