List: Books Featuring a Love for Books

Posted 12 February, 2014 by Lianne in Lists / 10 Comments

Please note: If you’re looking for this week’s The Way of Kings read-along, I will be posting my answers up later this week. Decided to switch my schedule of posts around in the meantime 🙂

Literary Love 2014 is a week dedicated to all things book love-ish. Link up any post showing love to a book, author, etc and feel free to grab our button & use our hashtag, ‪#‎LiteraryLove14

This year bloggers Isi @ From Isi, Rebecca @ Love at First Book, Andi @ Estella’s Revenge and Katie @ Doing Dewey are hosting Literary Love, an event featuring a love of everything books. In celebration of this event, I decided to put together a list of books featuring a love for, well, books! A love tale for all ages, yes? 🙂

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The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (commentary) — Actually, all of the books in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books series fall under this list but I featured SotW because it was the book that introduced readers to the Cemetery of Forgotten Books. I love the passages describing that secret library of all sorts of books and about a love of books in general <3 The Book Thief by Markus Zusak — In the middle of Hitler’s Germany and book burnings, one young girl discovers the world of literature, words and the imagination they unleash. It’s a curious novel, written in a rather unconventional manner, and there’s the tension of Nazi Germany and the persecution of the Jews, but it’s also a touching story with plenty of books involved.

The Haunted Bookshop by Christopher Morley — This is quite the quirky novella. A love of books lies at the heart of the story as Roger Mifflin and his wife owns a secondhand bookshop in Brooklyn goes about their business, taking on an assistant and continuing to help people find the right book. There’s an inherent understanding about the power of books in this novella and the connection between the reader and the book. But the novella is also a fun, if not crazy, romp as Roger gets sucked into a mad adventure of sorts.

Among Others by Jo Walton (review) — This novel is quite a treasure, especially for science fiction and fantasy readers, as it is on one level about books and a love for books. The character of Mori has a lot of stuff going on in her personal life and reads voraciously through major sci-fi and fantasy titles to get away form it all. This book is such a treat because she gets to the heart of some of these books (I found myself nodding along as she was describing what Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings meant to her) and at the same time brooks a sort of mental dialogue between you and her.

The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly — It’s been a while since I’ve read this book (been meaning to re-read it) but in this book, the main character David turns to his books to escape the sad and crappy stuff that’s happening in his life. Then by some strange circumstances, he finds himself in a world right out of his favourite novel, using his wits to both survive and solve the problems that come up along the way. The thematic tropes of storytelling and fairy tales play a big role in this book and are turned upside down as I recall. The use of books as a refuge also plays a major role in this novel, reflecting the love that David has for stories.

The Emperor of Paris by C.S. Richardson (review) — I recently read this book and absolutely loved it. Without giving too much away (because it’s such a slim volume), books and the power they hold plays a major role in this story of disparate characters coming together through a series of events. Imagination also plays a major role in the story, tying in which books, which made for quite a delightful read overall <3 The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (commentary) — The atmosphere of this novel and the overall structure/setting is reminiscent of Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre or Wilkie Collins’ The Woman in Black. Indeed the love of books, storytelling and the written word surrounds much of Vida Winter’s early life and colours the person she grew up to be.

If on a Winter’s Night a Traveller by Italo Calvino (review) — This book has the “book-within-a-book” concept going on. It may not be for everyone as things gets a bit crazy in an Inception-sort of way and ideas dominate the story moreso than the emotive aspects of the story but at the heart of this novel is the reader and the connections and respective roles that readers, authors and the story themselves have.

The Book of Secrets by Elizabeth Joy Arnold (review) — This novel combines the love of literature and its role in shaping lives from a young age with a mystery and family drama. It was a lot darker than I expected it to be but many of the characters in this novel share a love for books, especially as they were growing up, and two even become book sellers in their adulthood. Books here were a way for the characters to connect and communicate.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay (review) — I think I mentioned this in my review but this book sort of takes literary knowledge and references to a whole new level. Samantha, the main character, can quote obscure quotes from some famous classics and finds solace and comfort in those pages. Fans of the classics–Jane Austen, Alexandre Dumas, Charlotte Bronte et. al–will have fun with the references and trivia.

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Honourable Mentions

  • Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey (commentary)
  • Arturo Perez-Reverte’s Club Dumas (review)
  • Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters (review)
  • Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (review)

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And that’s my list! There’s a number of books that didn’t make the cut but are on my want-to-read list; Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore and Deborah Meyler’s The Bookstore are two such examples.

Have you read any of the above books? If so, what did you think of them? What books have you read and loved that were about a love for books?

Also, for anyone who’s interested I’m also celebrating my blogoversary this month (seven years!) with a book giveaway so feel free to pop on by 🙂

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10 Responses to “List: Books Featuring a Love for Books”

  1. The Shadow of the Wind is one of my favorites! Have you read the second and third books? They can be read in any order, which is fun, but I read them how they were written.

    I’m so glad to have discovered your blog through Literary Love 14! Nice to meet you!

    • I have! Loved them all but The Shadow of the Wind remains my favourite of the three <3 I can't wait for the fourth volume 😀

      Nice to meet you too, thanks for dropping by my blog 🙂 Literary Love was a fantastic idea!

  2. I love books about books as I call them! You’ve definitely pointed out two of my favourites (also favourites of all time) – The Thirteenth Tale and Shadow of the Wind. They’re actually kind of similar in tone now that I think about it. Have you read Bellman & Black? I can’t remember if I read a review of it here or not. It’s not nearly as amazing and fantastic and CRAZY as The Thirteenth Tale. It’s still beautifully written and super gothic, even if that isn’t enough to stop it from being well…boring.

    • Nice! *high fives* I ended up re-reading The Thirteenth Tale last year because I realised I didn’t remember much about the story but there’s a certain atmosphere about it that, yeah, was quite similar to the Shadow of the Wind.

      I did read Bellman & Black, late last year. If I recall, I thought it had very interesting elements but it didn’t quite grab me as I thought it would have…

  3. I absolutely loved ‘Among Others’. Meanwhile, I’ve owned ‘The Book of Lost Things’ since it came out and I STILL haven’t read it. Oops!

    • lol! Hope you enjoy The Book of Lost Things when you get to it, I remember being quite impressed by it when I had read it then (its cover is still one of my top favourites)

      Among Others was such a treat for us sci-fi/fantasy readers–I love it! 🙂

  4. Ashfa

    The only book I’ve read out of that list is the Book Thief. I love this list and especially the cover of Among Others by Jo Walton. Definitely checking that one out!! Great post!!!

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