What could be more fun than reading books about books and reading? So today, we have gathered fifteen of our favorite reads that embrace these bookish themes and book-filled settings for book-lovers. Of course, true bibliophiles know that plotlines related to books offer comfort to readers, and today’s book list embraces many of my favorite literary treasures that have brought me joy over the years.
Today’s post expands on some of my recent suggestions on the MomAdvice Book Gang podcast (listen below or check out the show notes here). In this episode, we discussed our favorite books that embraced fictional bookstore settings and libraries. This episode has you covered whether you are looking for a love story or that perfect true crime nonfiction book escape with.
Book Gang Podcast Episode 22: Books About Books
Listen to the Show:
Listen below or listen on your favorite podcast listening platform! Thank you to our guest, Fables Books, for joining me as my guest- join their reading challenge!
Let’s expand on this show with some of my favorite literary gems including some of the best backlist books with this theme today.
15 Books About Books, Bookstores, and Libraries
This book was charming and a book for a true book lover.
A.J. Fikry’s wife has died, his bookstore is failing, and a prized possession has been stolen from his book collection.
Slowly but surely, he is isolating himself from all the people of Alice Island. He even begins to find that the books in his store have stopped holding pleasure for him.
These days A.J. can only see them as a sign of a world that is changing too rapidly.
And then a mysterious package appears at the bookstore that changes his life forever…
This book shares the story of a mysterious 1986 fire in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire was so great that it reached 2000 degrees and burned for more than seven hours.
By the time the fire was extinguished, it had consumed over four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more.
Orlean is a big fan of the library, and she weaves in a lot of fun library trivia for the reader. She also showcases the bigger story about the role the library plays in our lives.
This book interweaves two stories together seamlessly with some of the most beautiful writing I have had the pleasure of reading.
Margaret Lea has led a quiet life, working in her father’s bookshop and doing small autobiography write-ups. When a surprising letter comes, from a world-famous reclusive author, she is shocked to discover that her presence has been requested. Vida asks that Margaret write the untold story of her life.
The story is unlike anything ever told and Margaret becomes enchanted. More than that Vidas’s life, in many ways, mirrors her own life story.
The story is told through the unique perspective of Death, which adds a certain darkness to this book. Death shares the story of taking souls and the increase in unnecessary and cruel deaths during the terrifying reign of Hitler.
A poor German girl is taken in by a foster family enduring poverty and the heartache of losing her family members.
Her moments of joy come when her adopted father teaches her how to read. She becomes, truly, engrossed in learning and reading the written word.
In a time of great poverty and where books were scarce, this little girl becomes a “book thief” stealing books for reading. The books serve as treasures of hope during a time of aching heartbreak in her life.
If you are looking for a surprisingly deep love story, I know you will fall in love with this beautiful read.
January and Augustus are both writers that end up living next door to each other.
While January works hard to pen a perfectly romantic happily ever after, Augustus writes well-researched stories that kill off his characters.
When they find out they both have writer’s block, the two strike a deal designed to get them out of their writing slump.
Augustus will have to spend his summer writing something happy while January writes something that might rival the next Great American Novel.
As they learn more about each other’s process, they find mutual respect for their craft.
Oh, and they also find that love can develop OFF the pages.
Amy Byler’s husband unexpectedly left her, and for three years, she has been raising her kids alone.
When Amy’s husband takes the kids for the summer, she decides to escape her suburban life to head to New York City. Why not make the most of this single time by heading to a conference and visiting an old friend.
Her friend is impossibly stylish and works for a magazine. She thinks Amy’s getaway would make for an excellent piece.
Amy receives a makeover and is encouraged to try dating again.
She finds herself quite at home in the city and grapples with the blissful absence of responsibility.
This book is perfect. It is filled with literary references, nerd humor, a wonderful friendship, and a Nora Ephron-worthy love story.
I love a meta reading experience, and that’s what you will find in this book of comfort food literature.
A local library has a reading list that can be found tucked in books encouraging readers to check out certain books. Within the list are several modern-day classics and older classics that will bring so much to the reader’s life.
Although he can’t remember what she read, Widow Mukesh remembers how much his wife loved reading. Aleisha, the librarian, uses this list to make her recommendations, and a beautiful friendship blossoms between the two.
There is something so comforting about how books bring people together. I think this book showcases the magic of that experience in a memorable way.
Join the MomAdvice Book Club and read this delightful book with me.
This deeply satisfying read tackles the struggles of every working mother who is trying to balance it all.
Egan creates the perfect balance of humor and heartbreak as Alice tries to navigate life’s tricky middle-aged terrains.
Alice Pearse is a compulsively honest, longing-to-have-it-all, sandwich generation heroine for our social-media-obsessed age.
Despite the disapproval of her best friend, who owns the local bookstore, Alice is proud of her new “balancing act.” The routine works well until her dad gets sick, her marriage flounders, her babysitter quits, and her job takes an unexpected turn.
This book got me in all the feels.
I found Alice one of the most relatable characters I have read. I related so well to the struggles of being in the trenches as a working parent.
You can read our interview with Elisabeth Egan in our Sundays With Writers series! I can’t recommend this book enough!
I knew I would love this book because it had all the perfect theme ingredients- librarians, old books, magic, and carnivals.
Simon, a young librarian, receives a unique gift. This gifted book turns out to be a travel log for a carnival in the 1700s. He discovers that the drowning death of a circus mermaid is eerily coincidental to his own mother’s drowning. It just so happens that his mother is also a former circus mermaid and these occurrences happened on the same day.
If their family is cursed, his sister could be the next victim, and he will do anything to save her.
The chapters alternate between the travel log (complete with unique sketch drawings) and the present day. More than anything, Simon wants to stop the curse on his family.
The author manages to bring these stories together beautifully with a satisfying conclusion to these mysterious drownings.
We also have a Sunday with Writers interview with Erika Swyler about this fabulous book. Read the interview.
Samantha loves her job as a school librarian and is devastated when their beloved principal passes away.
Samantha’s old crush though turns out to be her school’s next principal. She is thrilled for her school… and awfully thrilled for herself too.
She remembers Duncan as a hilarious jokester that any kid would love, and any woman would find charming.
The Duncan Carpenter that arrives at their school is nothing like the man she remembered.
This guy is the opposite of fun, and he seems determined to remove any element of fun in their school.
Sam doesn’t know how Duncan has gotten to this point and that, folks, is where the meat of the story lies.
Center delivers another pull-at-your-heartstrings story with quirky characters, believable depth, and a focus on finding strength in community.
Her love stories are always solid and this is another winner that I think you are going to love!
This extraordinary novel is the perfect love letter to a bookworm.
Nina has her day arranged exactly as she likes it. Her carefully scheduled routine includes working at the bookstore, leading book clubs, participating in a trivia team, and scheduled reading time
Nina doesn’t have a relationship with her father, so it is a complete surprise when she discovers he has included her in his will.
She also finds out she has MULTIPLE siblings from his different marriages. For someone introverted, the overwhelm is enormous.
Not only that, her trivia nemesis is turning out to be the guy of her dreams.
Unfortunately, her life is just too busy to squeeze him in.
Nina’s struggle to evolve and open up to others is what makes Nina so endearing and relatable.
Set in the 1990s, James Smale sells his first book to a major publishing house and is assigned his first editor.
He could have never guessed that his editor would be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis!
Mrs. Onassis had fallen in love with his autobiographical novel that tells the stories of his own dysfunctional family.
Many notes of his story end up falling short in his draft, and his editor knows it is because James hasn’t truly embraced his family’s story.
She encourages him to return home and to make the necessary edits his readers deserve.
Rowley treats her legacy with the kindness and beauty it deserves without speculation, but with stunning observation.
As she helps this writer, you can’t help to fall in love with her even more.
Imagine a book club for men that read romance novels to figure out new ways to woo their women.
This is the adorable concept Adams has concocted for her series, and I enjoyed every minute of this first read.
This had some fun laugh-out-loud parts, and the characters are pretty endearing.
It is a good thing they are as Adams uses a different bromance club member for each book.
I’ve happily followed this series on its many adventures.
This beautiful summer romance explores the concept of self-discovery and finding love in unlikely places.
The story takes place in Cape Cod in the summer of 1987. Eve is an aspiring writer who has been dissatisfied with her current job.
When the opportunity arises to work as an assistant to a famous New Yorker writer, Eve jumps at the chance. Not only does she get to act as his research assistant, she also gets to live there and immerse herself in their lives.
With this job, she also receives a coveted invitation to attend their annual “Book Party.” Attendees are encouraged to dress like their favorite literary characters, a fun annual costume tradition.
Much drama unfolds in this short bookish read.
Dukess does a great job creating Eve’s story and the struggles people face to break into the literary world.
Her difficulties and her discoveries are beautifully fleshed out in this gorgeous little page-turner.
Need a perfectly perfect young adult read?
This is the story of two friends, Rachel & Henry, that ended up growing apart. Rachel moved away, but before her move she left a love letter to Henry that never received a response.
She has complicated feelings against Henry when she moves back for never responding to her letter. Rachel also ends up getting a job at the local bookshop which just so happens to be owned and run by Henry’s family.
This brings the two together once again.
Here, amid the books, secrets are revealed between the pages as Rachel & Henry find friendship and love again in one another.
It is a bookworm’s dream and gives you lots of great book ideas to dive into once you finish reading it.
Looking for more great book suggestions? Be sure to check out the MomAdvice Book Gang podcast or visit our books section for more great book ideas!
What is your favorite book about books, bookstores or libraries?