I was asked a few weeks ago on Tumblr for 20 books that every book lover should read. Now, I wouldn’t dare suggest such a list as I’m sure there’s many wonderful and worthy books that I’d miss out, so instead I created a list of books that are perfect for book lovers – often books about books. As over 700 people liked/reblogged the list, I thought I’d make a proper blogpost about it, including a few more books (some yet to be published!). Enjoy, bookish people!
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan about a young man, Google HQ, and a bookstore even more curious than its name suggests. (Review)
The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde about Miss Thursday Next, LiteraTec, as she attempts to solve the mystery of Martin Chuzzlewit, the missing Dickens manuscript, set in an alternate reality home to literary detectives. (Review)
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield about a Gothic mystery narrated by a book lover, with an engrossing first few chapters that perfectly describe staying up reading until the early morning. (Review)
The Shadow of the Wind* by Carlos Ruiz Zafón about an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother and finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax, only to discover that someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury about what a post-literate future can do to society. (Review)
The Collected Works of A.J. Fikry* (also known as The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry) by Gabrielle Zevin about what happens in a bookshop that changes the lives of seemingly normal but extraordinary characters.
YOUNG ADULT AND CHILDREN’S FICTION
Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys about life in the gritty 1950s New Orleans’ French Quarter, the world of a young girl living in poverty above a bookshop, and her attempts to solve a curious murder mystery. (Review)
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak about Hitler’s Germany told through the eyes of a young German girl, the Jewish man hiding in her basement, and Death – and why no story should be suppressed.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell for people who spend a disproportionate amount of time on the internet, who do not distinguish between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ friends, and for whom ‘the fandom’ does not need explaining. (Review)
The Forbidden Library* by Django Wexler about a young girl who finds herself inside a book, in a world where all of magic is controlled by Readers.
Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan about a red notebook, an erudite boy and a bookish girl, and a trip to NYC’s most famous indie bookstore, The Strand. (Review)
Matilda by Roald Dahl for a magical tale about a genius girl, a horrid headmistress and a loving teacher, and the hopeful and comforting message contained in books: You are not alone. (Review)
NON-FICTION & POETRY
The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop* by Lewis Buzbee about a former bookseller who celebrates the unique experience of the bookstore – the smell and touch of books, getting lost in the deep canyons of shelves, and the silent community of readers.
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops & More Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops by Jen Campbell for two miscellanies of hilarious and peculiar bookshop moments.
One Hundred Great Books in Haiku by David Bader for a super quick read and a fun introduction to great works of literature, from Homer’s Odyssey to Orwell’s 1984.
The Etymologicon, The Horologicon and The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth for three books on the wonders of the English language.
Love, Sex, Death & Words* by John Sutherland & Stephen Fender for surprising tales from a year in literature.
Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid by Lemony Snicket about Snicket’s uproariously unhappy observations, such as ‘Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them’.
The Novel Cure* by Ella Berthoud & Susan Elderkin for a medical handbook with a difference. Whether you have a stubbed toe or a severe case of the blues, within these pages you’ll find a cure in the form of a novel – or a combination of novels – to help ease your pain.
My Salinger Year* by Joanna Rakoff about a young woman’s first job as an assistant to the storied literary agent of J. D. Salinger.
84, Charing Cross Rd* by Helen Hanff about a lifelong friendship that began with a letter inquiring about second-hand books.
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader* by Anne Fadiman for witty collection of essays recounting a lifelong love affair with books and language.
I’ve put an asterisk (*) next to the books I’ve not yet read. I’m sure there’s many more I’ve missed out, so let me know: which books would you suggest to book lovers?
Also check out Books for Book Lovers: In Pictures.