Books featuring books, bookshops, and libraries
As usual, my husband and I ended up in a bookstore on date night.
Last month, before our super fancy dinner at the Calgary Tower, we wandered around downtown, hand in hand. We had time to kill before our reservation, so we walked over to a nearby bookstore and took a look. As I meandered amongst the display tables, my eye kept catching on books with intriguing covers and even more intriguing titles. And, just like the book I had stumbled upon at the library earlier that day, I noticed a trend in the books that grabbed my attention. They were all about books or bookstores and the like.
That’s right, novels in which the story is framed around a bookstore, bookseller, book, or even library. I thought, I wonder how many books feature a book or bookseller or library?
Books about books that are already have on my shelf or my TBR
Mobile Library by David Whitehouse
This is the book I picked up from the library that day. It’s an adorable read about an abused boy, a divorced woman and her disabled daughter who steal the community bookmobile in an attempt to escape from their not so pleasant small-town life.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloane
I picked this one up on a whim during an ebook sale. It’s about a man who has to make a career change and takes a job in a independent bookstore. He finds out it’s not your typical shop. It’s a magical (maybe? Curious at least!) bookstore.
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald
A young lady travels across the world to meet her pen pal only to learn that her pen pal has passed away. While staying in the dead woman’s house, Sara realizes this small town needs something. They need imagination and escapism. They need a bookstore.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
Haunted by heartbreak but finally ready to heal, a man takes his floating bookshop down the Seine on a mission to find some closure and share his books.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce, illustrated by Joe Bluhm
This book is absolutely gorgeous. I had to buy it for two reasons–the illustrations are simply beautiful. They fill me with joy. And the story itself, lovely. Just plain lovely. It may be a picture book, but it is a book for any and every booklover.
The Books about books Goodreads list
After making my list, I wondered what other books about books are out there. I discovered that there is a lovely Goodreads list called Books About Books.
Some of the books I really want to read on this list include
The Bookstore by Deborah Meyler
A college student in New York discovers she’s pregnant. But before she can tell her boyfriend, he dumps her. Determined to make it on her own and provide for her baby, she takes a job in a used-bookstore populated by a motley crew of booklovers.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
A group of twelve kids get to be the first people in the new library, and they even get to spend the night. But in the morning, they can’t get out. They have to solve the clues to find the escape route. Can they do it?
The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
By day, Kitty runs a bookshop with her best friend. She loves it and the freedom she has in 1960 to do what she wants when she wants. By night, she dreams of being married to the love of her life, with a home full of beautiful children. But as the lines between these two lives start to blend, which life does she really want?
And finally, a nonfiction book about bookshops!
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell
A bookseller’s collection of ridiculous conversations on the shop floor, including, “Excuse me, is this book edible?” I’m sure this one will have me gripping my stomach from laughing too hard.
I’m definitely getting behind both Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend – THESE LOOK ADORABLE! This is seriously such an awesome little collection and, if you don’t mind – WHAT BOOKSTORE IS BY THE CALGARY TOWER?! I must go. I will make a trip all the way into town just to take the C-Train and wander downtown (reading Charades has made me want to people watch – by the way, LOVED IT!) and drink coffee and possibly go for DimSum.
On to books about books, have you seen The Library at Mount Char around? I just recently picked it up with the Chapters sale because it looks awesome. I mean, evil library? Yes please! It sounds like something out of a Doctor Who episode (well.. that was more so the Vashta Nerada that was evil and not the library, but it took place in a library so.. it counts!). That seems to be the only bookish book I own, though, which is actually kind of shocking… Maybe I’ll add to it with some of your suggestions! ;D
Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight
I think there are so many books are books and bookshops and whatnot because the authors know that bookworms can’t resist. It’s like two-for-one, get to read a book and read *about* books all at once! I don’t know if I’ve actually read any though? But oh man, that nonfiction one sounds amazing, and I really want it now lol.
There should be a book about this place:
Word on the Water, the London Book Barge.
I get to go today!!! I am doing a tour of second hand book shops in London. I’ll let you know what I find!
That sounds like a perfect holiday! Enjoy!
I had a lovely day looking at old books! There are too many to see. My favourite was a picture book of Flemish Illuminated manuscripts which gave a mostly gory insight into Medieval life. It wasn’t just biblical illumination but God did show up as an old man in a beard, (aka Zeus) which shows how far back that image goes in our minds.
Happy Summer everyone!
That sounds like a pretty cool day, Nicola! It’s always interesting to see how books, images and stories have evolved or not over time.