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Books About Books—for Book Lovers Day!

August 10, 2020

Book Lovers Day is celebrated on August 9. This unofficial holiday encourages bibliophiles to celebrate reading and literature. People are advised to put away their smartphones and every possible technological distraction and pick up a book to read. The origin and creator of Book Lovers Day are unknown, and there aren’t any big celebrations, but that’s alright—we’re happy to stay home and enjoy a good book.

This Book Lovers Day, celebrate by reading a book… about books!

In this list: Honorable Mention, Inspiration, What to Read, History of Books, Science of Reading, Fiction

 

Honorable Mention

Books are for reading, but okay.

House beautiful : decorating with books Book Cover

House Beautiful: Decorating With Books

Marie Proeller Hueston

From grand bookcases in home libraries to casual stacks artfully arrayed on chairs, House Beautiful presents countless eye-catching ideas for displaying and arranging your hardcovers, paperbacks, encyclopedias, and even valuable first editions to bring warmth, color, and character to a room.

 

Inspiration

From book-lover biographies to love letters written to books, these books will inspire your love of reading!

Books For Living Book Cover

Books For Living

Will Schwalbe

For Will Schwalbe, reading is a way to entertain himself but also to make sense of the world, to become a better person, and to find the answers to the big (and small) questions about how to live his life. In this delightful celebration of reading, Schwalbe invites us along on his quest for books that speak to the specific challenges of living in our modern world, with all its noise and distractions.

Dear Fahrenheit 451 Book Cover

Dear Fahrenheit 451

Annie Spence

Librarian Annie Spence has crafted love letters and breakup notes to the iconic and eclectic books she has encountered over the years. From breaking up with The Giving Tree (a dysfunctional relationship book if ever there was one), to her love letter to The Time Traveler’s Wife (a novel less about time travel and more about the life of a marriage, with all of its ups and downs), Spence will make you think of old favorites in a new way.

How To Be A Heroine : Or, What I'Ve Learned From Reading Too Much Book Cover

How To Be A Heroine: Or, What I’ve Learned From Reading Too Much

Samantha Ellis

Debating literature’s greatest heroines with a friend, playwright Samantha Ellis has a revelation–“My whole life, I’d been trying to be Cathy, when I should have been trying to be Jane.” With this discovery, she embarks on a retrospective look at the literary ladies–the characters and the writers–whom she has loved since childhood.

How To Read Literature Like A Professor Book Cover

How To Read Literature Like A Professor

Thomas C. Foster

What does it mean when a fictional hero takes a journey? Shares a meal? Gets drenched in a sudden rain shower? Often, there is much more going on in a novel or poem than is readily visible on the surface — a symbol, maybe, that remains elusive, or an unexpected twist on a character – and there’s that sneaking suspicion that the deeper meaning of a literary text keeps escaping you.

Judging A Book By Its Lover : A Field Guide To The Hearts And Minds Of Readers Everywhere Book Cover

Judging A Book By Its Lover: A Field Guide To The Hearts And Minds Of Readers Everywhere

Lauren Leto

A hilarious send-up of–and inspired homage to–the passionate and peculiar world of book culture, this guide to literary debate leaves no reader or author unscathed, at once adoring and skewering everyone from Jonathan Franzen to Ayn Rand to Dostoyevsky and the people who read them.

Morningstar : Growing Up With Books Book Cover

Morningstar: Growing Up With Books

Ann Hood

The personal stories behind author Ann Hood’s written works, describing her early years in a Rhode Island mill town and the books that shaped her love of literature, her political views, and her travel ambitions.

My Life With Bob : Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues Book Cover

My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues

Pamela Paul

For twenty-eight years, Pamela Paul has been keeping a diary that records the books she reads, rather than the life she leads. Or does it? Over time, it’s become clear that this Book of Books, or Bob, as she calls him, tells a much bigger story.

Reading Behind Bars Book Cover

Reading Behind Bars

Jill Grunenwald

In December 2008, twentysomething Jill Grunenwald graduated with her master’s degree in library science, ready to start living her dream of becoming a librarian. But the economy had a different idea. As the Great Recession reared its ugly head, jobs were scarce. After some searching, however, Jill was lucky enough to snag one of the few librarian gigs left in her home state of Ohio. The catch? The job was behind bars as the prison librarian at a men’s minimum-security prison.

The Books They Gave Me Book Cover

The Books They Gave Me

Collected by Jen Adams

The Books They Gave Me collects 200 poignant, funny, and provocative stories that together comprise a love letter to literature and the physical book. Some of the stories are disastrous, some touching, but all are illuminating, revealing volumes about the relationships.

The Maximum Security Book Club : Reading Literature In A Men'S Prison Book Cover

The Maximum Security Book Club: Reading Literature In A Men’s Prison

Mikita Brottman

A riveting account of the two years literary scholar Mikita Brottman spent reading literature with criminals in a maximum-security men’s prison outside Baltimore, and what she learned from them.

The Reading Life Book Cover

The Reading Life

C.S. Lewis

Cultivated from his many essays, articles, and letters, as well as his classic works, The Reading Life provides guidance and reflections on the love and enjoyment of books. Engaging and enlightening, this well-rounded collection includes Lewis’ reflections on science fiction, why children’s literature is for readers of all ages, and why we should read two old books for every new one.

The World Between Two Covers : Reading The Globe Book Cover

The World Between Two Covers: Reading The Globe

Ann Morgan

The author documents her quest to read one book from each country in the world, discussing the limitations of censorship and propaganda-ruled countries and her trouble finding a copy of the first Qatari novel translated into English.

Tolstoy And The Purple Chair : My Year Of Magical Reading Book Cover

Tolstoy And The Purple Chair: My Year Of Magical Reading

Nina Sankovitch

Torn apart by grief after losing her sister, the author, a 46-year-old mother of four, turned to literature for comfort, devoting herself to reading one book a day for a year, which brought much needed joy, healing and wisdom into her life.

Why I Read : The Serious Pleasure Of Books Book Cover

Why I Read: The Serious Pleasure Of Books

Wendy Lesser

Lesser draws on a lifetime of pleasure reading and decades of editing one of the most distinguished little magazines in the country, The Threepenny Review, to describe a life lived in and through literature.

 

What To Read

Looking for something to fit your mood? These guides will help you find the book you’re craving.

1,000 Books To Read Before You Die : A Life-Changing List Book Cover

1,000 Books To Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List

James Mustich

Mustich provides brief (usually one page) introductions to works of fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more. Ranging across cultures and through time, this eclectic collection of works is not a proscriptive list of the ‘great works’ but a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage.

1001 Books For Every Mood Book Cover

1001 Books For Every Mood

Hallie Ephron

Serves up a literary feast, sure to satisfy your emotional appetite. This is your must-have guide to hours and hours of reading pleasure, no matter what your mood!

Book Lust : Recommended Reading For Every Mood, Moment, And Reason Book Cover

Book Lust: Recommended Reading For Every Mood, Moment, And Reason

Nancy Pearl

What to read next is every book lover’s greatest dilemma. Nancy Pearl comes to the rescue with this wide-ranging and fun guide to the best reading new and old.

The Novel Cure : From Abandoment To Zestlessness : 751 Books To Cure What Ails You Book Cover

The Novel Cure: From Abandonment To Zestlessness, 751 Books To Cure What Ails You

Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin

To create this apothecary, the authors have trawled two thousand years of literature for novels that effectively promote happiness, health, and sanity, written by brilliant minds who knew what it meant to be human and wrote their life lessons into their fiction. Structured like a reference book, readers simply look up their ailment, be it agoraphobia, boredom, or a midlife crisis, and are given a novel to read as the antidote.

What To Read And Why Book Cover

What To Read And Why

Francine Prose

In an age defined by hyper-connectivity and constant stimulation, Francine Prose makes a compelling case for the solitary act of reading and the great enjoyment it brings.

 

History Of Books / Books In History

These books will give you a fascinating look into how books and history have influenced each other.

The History Of The Book In 100 Books Book Cover

The History Of The Book In 100 Books

Roderick Cave & Sara Ayad

Each of the 100 books in chosen has played a critical role in the development of books in all their farms and with all that they bring: literacy, numeracy, technological progress and the expansion of scientific knowledge, religion, political theory, and more.

The Library Book Book Cover

The Library Book

Susan Orlean

Orlean chronicles the LAPL fire and its aftermath to showcase the larger, crucial role that libraries play in our lives; delves into the evolution of libraries across the country and around the world, from their humble beginnings as a metropolitan charitable initiative to their current status as a cornerstone of national identity.

The Lost Art Of Reading Book Cover

The Lost Art Of Reading

David L. Ulin

Here is the case for reading as a political act in both public and private gestures, and for the ways it enlarges the world and our frames of reference, all the while keeping us engaged.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much Book Cover

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much

Allison Hoover Bartlett

Unrepentant book thief John Charles Gilkey has stolen a fortune in rare books from around the county. Yet unlike most thieves, who steal for profit, Gilkey steals for the love of the books. Perhaps equally obsessive, though, is Ken Sanders, the self-appointed “bibliodick” driven to catch him. Sanders, a lifelong rare book collector and dealer turned amateur detective, will stop at nothing to catch the thief plaguing his trade.

The Written World : The Power Of Stories To Shape People, History, Civilization Book Cover

The Written World: The Power Of Stories To Shape People, History, Civilization

Martin Puchner

The story of literature in sixteen acts, from Alexander the Great and the Iliad to ebooks and Harry Potter, this engaging book brings together remarkable people and surprising events to show how writing shaped cultures, religions, and the history of the world.

When Books Went To War : The Stories That Helped Us Win World War Ii Book Cover

When Books Went To War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War Ii

Molly Guptill Manning

When America entered World War II in 1941, [it] faced an enemy that had banned and burned over 100 million books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send free books to American troops and gathered 20 million hardcover donations. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets and their rucksacks, in every theater of war.

 

The Science Of Reading

What’s going on in our brains when we read?

Reader, Come Home : The Reading Brain In A Digital World Book Cover

Reader, Come Home: The Reading Brain In A Digital World

Maryanne Wolf

Wolf considers the future of the reading brain and our capacity for critical thinking, empathy and reflection as we become increasingly dependent upon digital technologies.

What We See When We Read Book Cover

What We See When We Read

Peter Mendelsund

A gorgeously unique, fully illustrated exploration into the phenomenology of reading–how we visualize images from reading works of literature, from one of our very best book jacket designers, himself a passionate reader. What do we see when we read? Did Tolstoy really describe Anna Karenina? Did Melville ever really tell us what, exactly, Ishmael looked like? The collection of fragmented images on a page–a graceful ear there, a stray curl, a hat positioned just so–and other clues and signifiers helps us to create an image of a character. But in fact our sense that we know a character intimately has little to do with our ability to concretely picture our beloved–or reviled–literary figures.

 

Fiction

Great stories about books, libraries, and readers!

Midnight at the Bright Ideas bookstore Book Cover

Midnight at the Bright Ideas bookstore

Matthew Sullivan

Lydia Smith lives her life hiding in plain sight. A clerk at the Bright Ideas bookstore, she keeps a meticulously crafted existence among her beloved books, eccentric colleagues, and the BookFrogs–the lost and lonely regulars who spend every day marauding the store’s overwhelmed shelves. But when Joey Molina, a young, beguiling BookFrog, kills himself in the bookstore’s upper room, Lydia’s life comes unglued. Always Joey’s favorite bookseller, Lydia has been bequeathed his meager worldly possessions. Trinkets and books; the detritus of a lonely, uncared for man. But when Lydia flips through his books she finds them defaced in ways both disturbing and inexplicable. They reveal the psyche of a young man on the verge of an emotional reckoning. And they seem to contain a hidden message. What did Joey know? And what does it have to do with Lydia?

The readers of Broken Wheel recommend Book Cover

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

Katarina Bivald

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds that Amy’s funeral has just ended. Luckily, the townspeople are happy to look after their bewildered tourist–even if they don’t understand her peculiar need for books. Marooned in a farm town that’s almost beyond repair, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory. All she wants is to share the books she loves with the citizens of Broken Wheel and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. But she makes some unconventional choices that could force a lot of secrets into the open and change things for everyone in town.

The little Paris bookshop Book Cover

The Little Paris Bookshop

Nina George

Prescribing books that offer therapeutic benefits to his customers, a literary apothecary in a floating bookstore on the Seine struggles with private heartbreak before embarking on a journey of healing at the side of a blocked writer and a lovelorn chef.

The invisible library Book Cover

The Invisible Library

Genevieve Cogman

Irene is a professional spy for the Mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen.

The library of the unwritten Book Cover

The Library of the Unwritten

A.J. Hackwith

Books that aren’t finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, but when restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories escape, it is up to the Librarian to track them down…and keep the collection complete.

The bookshop of yesterdays Book Cover

The Bookshop of Yesterdays

Amy Meyerson

Miranda Brooks grew up in the stacks of her eccentric uncle Billy’s bookstore, solving the inventive scavenger hunts he created just for her. On Miranda’s twelfth birthday, Billy has a falling-out with her mother and disappears from Miranda’s life. Sixteen years later she receives news that Billy has died and left her Prospero Books, which is teetering on bankruptcy– and one final scavenger hunt.

Bibliomysteries Book Cover

Bibliomysteries

Edited by Otto Penzler

An anthology of specially commissioned stories set in literary venues like bookstores and libraries.

The borrower Book Cover

The Borrower

Rebecca Makkai

When her favorite patron, a book-loving ten-year-old, runs away from overbearing parents who force him to attend anti-gay classes with a celebrity pastor, children’s librarian Lucy Hull flees with the boy and discovers that they are being pursued by an anonymous adversary.

The Reading Group Book Cover

The Reading Group

Elizabeth Noble

The Reading Group follows the trials and tribulations of a group of women who meet regularly to read and discuss books.Over the course of a year, each of these women become intertwined, both in the books they read and within each other’s lives.