I don’t make recommendation lists all that often, but I’ve had booky books on the brain lately. There are some books posted on NetGalley and Edelweiss that are like catnip to me. If I see a mention of bookshops, libraries, or mysterious cemeteries of forgotten books, I have to read it. Sometimes I’m disappointed. Other times, I find a book that captures the joy of what it means to be a reader. This list is to share the joy.
|Readers are always looking for their next read.
This list is not ranked. It’s in order of books that occurred to me whilst making the list.
Mr Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore, by Robin Sloan
This selection is a little controversial because of the ending. Some people like it; some hate it. Either way, Sloan blends the experience of the traditionally bookish with the digitally bookish in a wonderful little philosophical thriller.
Salamander, by Thomas Wharton
I don’t have much to add to my recent review of Salamander (linked in the section head, just above this paragraph).
The Shadow of the Wind, by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
If you could become the custodian of one book, to make sure it’s not completely forgotten, which book would it be? What if someone is trying to make that book disappear?
Mr Fox, by Helen Oyeyemi
I almost didn’t include this one, because it’s more about authorship and writing, really. But one thing readers always wonder about is how the story came to be on the page in front of them. So, Mr Fox goes on the list.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, by Gabrielle Zevin
Sure, this one is a little sappy, but I love it. A.J. gets to live a life that, for the most part, other readers would envy. He lives surrounded by books and stories.
I trawled through my list of books that I can remember reading to compile this list, which doesn’t contain nearly all of the books I’ve read that involve books and reading. These are just the best of the best. You might ask why books like The Book Thief and The Thirteenth Tale aren’t on this list. My answer is in two parts: a) I made the list and got to decide the criteria, and b) I think The Book Thief is more about other things than it is about reading.
As I scrolled through the list, I kept seeing books like Libriomancer and The Eyre Affair, which are very much about books and story. But they’re not about reading, so they’re not on this list. It occurs to me that I’m going to have to do a list of my favorite meta-literature (books messing around with other books).
Okay, enough editorializing and explaining. Go read, people.