Thursday, September 17, 2020

Who Doesn't Love Books on Books? Here Are 60 Suggestions for You


Anyone who spends time blogging about books and/or reading the dozens and dozens of excellent book-blogs out there, also loves reading about actual books. And we are very lucky that there are so many of them out there: books about books, about bookstores, about booksellers, about bookmobiles, about libraries, about collecting books, about caring for books, and even about "how to read" a book. You name a book-topic, and it's probably out there somewhere.

I had several hours this afternoon during which I had to do the kind of busywork that allows a person to just let their mind I did. At some point I got to wondering how many book-related books I've read, so I decided to look into that when I got home. Below, is a listing of the ones I could identify (the year listed is the year I read the book, not the year it was published):

  • The Bookshop of Yesterdays - Amy Meyerson - 2019
  • A Novel Bookstore - Lawrence Cross - 2012
  • Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore - Robert Sloan - 2013
  • Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore - Matthew Sullivan - 2019
  • The Yellow-Lighted Bookstore - Lewis Buzbee - 2008
  • The Bookshop - Penelope Fitzgerald - 2019
  • The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted - Robert Hillman - 2019
  • Paris by the Book - Liam Callanan - 2019
  • Book Case - Stephen Greenleaf - 1992
  • The Bookman's Tale - Charlie Lovett - 2013
  • The Bookworm - Mitch Silver - 2019
  • The Bookseller - Cynthia Swanson - 2016
  • The Book of Speculation - Erika Swyler - 2015
  • The Book Thief - Markus Zusak - 2006
  • Booked to Die - John Dunning - 1995
  • The Bookman's Wake - John Dunning - 1996
  • The Bookman's Last Fling - John Dunning - 2008
  • The Camel Bookmobile - Marsha Hamilton - 2007
  • First Impressions - Charlie Lovett - 2014
  • The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon -2012
  • The Prisoner of Heaven - Carlos Ruiz Zafon - 2014
  • The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett - 2017
These 22 are all novels, with most of them being mysteries. I think the 34 that follow below are all nonfiction:
  • The Thieves of Book Row - Travis McDade - 2013
  • Books - Larry McMurtry - 2009
  • So Many Books, So Little Time - Sara Nelson - 2007
  • The Library Book - Susan Orlean - 2019
  • A Passion for Books - Harold Rabinowitz, Rob Kaplan - 2002
  • The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New - Margot Rosenberg, B. Mancowitz - 2008
  • The End of Your Life Book Club - Will Schwalbe - 2012
  • The Clothing of Books - Jhumpa Lahiri - 2018
  • Book Lust to Go - Nancy Pearl - 2010
  • Modern Book Collecting - Robert A. Wilson - 1988
  • So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance - Gabriel Zaid - 2017
  • How to Read a Book - Adler and VanDoren - 1986
  • The Man Who Loved Books too Much - Allison Hoover Bartlett - 2009
  • The Maximum Security Book Club - Mikita Brottman - 2016
  • Book Finds - Ian C. Ellis - 2000
  • Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books - Paul Collins - 2003
  • Among the Gently Mad - Nicholas A. Basbanes - 2005
  • Slightly Chipped - Lawrence and Nancy Goldstone - 2001
  • Shelf Life: Romance, Mystery, Drama, and Other Page-Turning Adventures from a Year in a Bookstore - Suzanne Strempek Shea - 2008
  • A Pound of Paper: Confessions of a Book Addict - John Baxter - 2006
  • My Reading Life - Pat Conroy - 2010
  • The Art of Memoir - Mary Karr - 2015
  • The Fiction Writer's Handbook - Shelly Lowenkoph - 2011
  • Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading - Nina Sankovitch - 2015
  • Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading - Maureen Corrigan - 2007
  • A Year of Reading - Michael Dirda - 2016
  • How to Read Literature Like a Professor - Thomas C. Foster - 2019
  • Reading with Patrick - Michelle Kuo - 2017
  • A History of Reading - Alberto Manguel - 1999
  • The Year of Reading Dangerously - Andy Miller - 2015
  • Reading Lolita in Tehran - Azar Nafisi - 2004
  • The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared - Alice Ozma, Jim Brozina - 2011
  • How Reading Changed My Life - Anna Quindlen - 2007
  • How Literature Works - John Sutherland - 2011

Suggested Additions to the Lists:
  • The Book on the Bookshelf - Henry Petroski - nonfiction -courtesy of Jeane
  • A History of Books - Gerald Murnane - nonfiction - courtesy of Moshe Prigan 
  • Howards End Is on the Landing: A Year Reading from Home - Susan Hill - nonfiction - courtesy of Kath
  • Jacob's Room Is Full of Books: A Year of Reading - Susan Hill - nonfiction - courtesy of Kath

(The ones in bold type are my favorites of the lot.)

I know that you guys, avid readers that you are, have probably read most of these, too. I also know that I've skipped others that don't include some variation of the word "book" in their titles, so please feel free to give me more book-books in your comments. And, I hope you find something new-to-you here that you will enjoy reading.

(This post has been, and will continue to be, added to from time to time.)


  1. A fun list! I recently read Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore, and reread the John Dunning books. The Dunning books were especially fun for me because they take in a neighborhood close to where I grew up.

    1. I really liked the Dunning books, Pat. They are set in Denver, if I recall correctly?

    2. Yes. East Denver. His store was on Colfax Avenue.

    3. I've only been to Denver a couple of times and never got to the point where I could picture its layout in my mind. Must have been a great place to grow up.

  2. Oooh, excellent! I've only read a few on this list. Happy to have more to peruse one day. There's one additional I can recommend: The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski. It's literally about the history of how books are shelved and of course, a lot about books themselves as well- as physical objects. I found it very interesting!

    1. Thanks for that, Jeane. It's a new one to me, and it sounds excellent. I'm going to add it to the list up above.

  3. I recommend to include:
    "A History of Books" by Gerald Murnane - one of the greatest writers in Australia, tipped for the Nobel Prize. The book is a series of short reminiscences of books read. Unique writing.

    1. That sounds like a good one, Moshe, thanks for the heads-up about it. Going on the list up above.

  4. I've actually read 15 books from your list! Some of my favorites? The John Dunnings, the two by Carlos Ruiz Zafon, and the Yellow-Lighted Bookstore. And you're right...I do love reading books about books, and bookstores! :D

  5. I figured that we all had this in common. I started to call the novels my "guilty pleasures" but that sounds like too much of a backhanded compliment for something I enjoy so much. What brought it all to mind, I think, is that I started a new one called The Bookshop on the Corner that I'm afraid is going to turn into a romance novel - but I can't help liking it.

  6. An excellent list, I shall be popping back to take a closer look as I love books about books. In the UK the two definitive books are Howards End is on the Landing and Jacob's Room is Full of Books by Susan Hill. I've read quite a few books about books and those two are streaks ahead of any I've read. I also love it when I'm reading a book which is not about books but which has book suggestions. I'm currently reading Underland by Robert McFarlane, about caves, catacombs, tunnels under cities and so on and there are some nice book recs all through and a wonderful bibliography. Perfect.

    1. I've read the Susan Hill books and immediately thought of them as I read this list, which contains some of my other favorites, too.

    2. The two Susan Hill books sound wonderful. I am aware of her novels, but completely unaware of these two. Unfortunately, my library seems unaware of them, too. They don't usually let me down that way. Going on the list, thanks.

      Totally agree with you on the unexpected pleasure of adding books to the TBR list as they pop up in someone else's book. That's always a great surprise.

    3. Teresa, I hope you find something on the list that you will enjoy as much as those Hill books.

  7. As you will probably notice, I've scoured my books-read list again, and have added another dozen titles in additio to the four suggestions I've had to this point. That brings us to 60 books.

  8. I really liked the Dunning books and The Uncommon Reader!

    1. The Uncommon Reader was a really pleasant surprise for me. I picked it up not knowing a thing about its contents or its author - strictly because of the title - and found myself reading it almost in one sitting.

  9. I have now sat down and gone through your list- excluding the ones I'm not too interested in, those I've already read, and those already on my list- so finally just added some fifteen titles to my TBR. Cheers!

    1. That's a bunch, Jeane. Here' hoping you enjoy most of them. It's amazing how many "books about books" are published every year. I keep thinking I'll eventually burn out on them, but it never seems to least for long.