What could be better than reading a book about a book, books, bookshops, authors, the pleasure of reading, collecting, or being addicted to books?
Thanks to San Jose Public Library for the idea of books about books!
A new book about books is The serpent papers by Jessica Cornwell A book hunter on a secret mission uncovers a centuries old mission. First in trilogy.
84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff –Through a 20 year correspondence, American Hanff recounts her quest to understand literature & her long-distance relationship with a British bookstore & its staff.
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie – The story of two hapless city boys exiled to a remote mountain village for re-education during China’s infamous Cultural Revolution. There the two friends meet the daughter of the local tailor and discover a hidden stash of Western classics in Chinese translation. As they flirt with the seamstress & secretly devour these banned works, the friends find transit from their grim surroundings to worlds they never imagined.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak Trying to make sense of the horrors of war, Death tells the story of a young German girl whose special talents sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding during the Holocaust.
The Bookman’s Tale by Charlie C. Lovett Antiquarian book enthusiast Peter Byerly discovers an 18thC study of Shakespeare forgeries that contains a Victorian portrait strongly resembling his late wife, a finding that sparks an obsessive search through the bard’s historical period.
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness - Diana Bishop, a visiting professor of alchemical history at Oxford University, would like nothing better than to conduct her research in peace. Unfortunately, Diana’s hopes of an uneventful term are dashed when an old alchemy text, paged from the depths of the Bodleian Library, attempts to show her a shadowy secret. She sends the book back to its shelf, but not before its odd behaviour is noticed. Now Diana is being hounded by a wide assortment of other scholars, all bent on learning the book’s secret. Thus begins an adventure that covers three books in Harness’ intriguing trilogy.
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde In an alternate England, Thursday Next is a Literary Agent charged with the task of protecting Literature from those who would change or exploit it. Her job gets complicated when a villain kidnaps Jane Eyre & holds her hostage. First in a series.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury In a future totalitarian state where books are banned and destroyed by the government, Guy Montag, a fireman in charge of burning books, meets a revolutionary schoolteacher who dares to read and a girl who tells him of a past when people did not live in fear. Also available as an eAudiobook and CD talking book
The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler A group of book lovers meets monthly to discuss the novels of Jane Austen. Along the way they work through their own personal problems and concerns.
Mister Pip by Lloyd Jones As war rages outside, an island child learns how to escape through literature when a substitute teacher begins reading Great Expectations. Also available as a Talking book in CD and cassette format.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan Recession shuffles Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Fran Web-design drone into a new job working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. Only a few customers keep coming in & never seem to buy anything, just borrow obscure volumes from strange corners of the store, all according to some elaborate, long-standing arrangement with the gnomic Mr. Penumbra. The store must be a front for something larger and soon Clay’s embarked on a complex analysis of customer behaviour.
Northanger Abbey Jane Austen – A book that parodies the Gothic romances novels of the time. Catherine Morland is a young girl with a very active imagination. Her naivety and love of sensational novels lead her to approach the fashionable social scene in Bath and her stay at nearby Northanger Abbey with preconceptions that have embarrassing and entertaining consequences. Also available as a CD audiobook, an electronic audiobook, and an eBook
Possession by A.S. Byatt The discovery, in a book at the British Library, of an old letter draws together two couples, one a pair of modern scholars, the other a Victorian literary giant and a popular “poetess.”
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink The former lover of a German attorney refuses to defend herself when she is accused of a hideous crime. The attorney gradually realizes that the woman may be guarding a secret she considers more shameful than murder. Also available as a CD audiobook
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – Daniel Sempere is 10 when he discovers the mysterious and rare book, The Shadow of the Wind, and he is mesmerized by the book and its shadowy author. His obsession grows as he does, pulling him into a strange, Satanic world of murder and intrigue.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin The sign above his Island Books says, “No Man Is an Island; Every Book Is a World,” but grumpy bookstore owner A.J. Fikry seems like a living refutation of its meaning. Recently widowed, his sales falling precipitously, and his prize rare book missing, A.J. finds little comfort even in the company of books. Then just when it seems like he has become an unreachable island, a large package arrives that begins to change everything..
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield - Margaret Lea, the plain, unworldly daughter of a London bookseller is invited by reclusive author Vida Winter to write her biography. Margaret soon finds herself living on a remove estate where the writer slowly unfolds her tragic life story. As she listens to Winter’s tale, Margaret’s own carefully guarded secrets threaten to overwhelm her. Also available as a CD audiobook
The Uncommon Reader by Alan Bennett When Queen Elizabeth II ventures into the Windsor branch of a London bookmobile to fetch her wayward corgis, she borrows a book just to be polite. Thus begins a love affair with reading that threatens to topple the Empire. Also available as a CD audiobook