I love books, no matter what the subject is about, there’s nothing better than losing yourself in a good story.
But what about books about books themselves? Books that beautifully describe the art of the written word are hard to beat.
Whether it is the importance of books in the pursuit of learning, magical books, the banning of books during the war, trying to save books during times of conflict, or books that contain deadly secrets, there are books that cover it all.
So, what are the best books about books that you can find? Which ones give us a glimpse into famous books and writers? What about books about writers that never existed?
Well, I’m going to cover it all, with my ultimate guide to books about books, writers, and libraries.
50 Best Books About Books
First, we have a book about one of the most famous sisters in the history of the 20th Century.
This follows Nancy Mitford as she writes the seminal novel The Pursuit Of Happiness, as well as a writer in the modern day who looks back to Nancy for guidance when writing her own novel.
- Great historical novel
- Captivating from the very first page
- Details the act of writing with accuracy
- Written by a bestselling author
- Not for those who don’t like historical fiction
Shakespeare is one of the greatest writers ever known in human history, and here is a novel that attempts to fill in the blanks on some of the lesser-known aspects of his life: his wife.
Here Shakespeare’s wife is rendered as a defiant character who’ll do anything to support her husband.
- A gripping premise
- Covers a well-known figure in literature and theater
- A bestselling book
- Over 40,000 great reviews on Amazon
- Not a historical novel
Agatha Christie is one of the most recognizable names in crime and mystery thriller fiction, but what about the real mysteries of her life?
Well, this novel is one that speculates on what might have happened when she really went missing for 11 days in 1926. This novel successfully puts the mystery back in the mystery novel.
- Covers a genuine mystery in the life of a great writer
- Gripping and full of thrills
- A great novel to introduce to a young woman
- Thousands of positive reviews
- Some readers complained the narrative is too slow
This story is a scandalous tale of a woman who submits to an affair with the brother of the most famous writing family, the Bronte sisters.
This novel has been researched and is based on true events, although it has been highly fictionalized. If you like literary subjects and are a fan of the Brontës, this will be a great addition to your library.
- A gripping subplot in the Bronte story
- Expertly told and well-researched
- Combines elements of thriller, mystery, and romance
- An exciting debut novel
- If you don’t like the Brontes, this might not be the book for you
This is a book that has been officially permitted to revamp one of the most recognized books in Western literature: Little House on the Prairie.
This puts a modern spin on a classic novel, giving answers to questions that were never addressed in the original novel.
- A harrowing glimpse of frontier life in America
- A story of a family struggling to survive
- A female-centered narrative
- Reimagines a popular novel
- Will not be for fans who really loved the original
This novel offers readers something a little different, a story about a fictional novelist and the editor who falls in love with them.
Having to track down a mysterious author, editor Lanie uncovers the truth about her idol that changes her world forever.
- A highly entertaining read for those who like romances
- A story that covers the world of literature
- A great vacation read
- The perfect gift for anyone who considers themselves a casual reader
- Might appear a little too cliched for some
This next book is another story about a writer going through tumultuous times.
This is about a romance that lasts for decades, where a writer of erotic fiction has been playing out a teenage romance that she has never forgotten.
But when she finally meets that same teenage romance after all these years, old traumas resurface.
- Reece Witherspoon book club pick for 2021
- A steamy romantic novel
- Great for fans of teenage love stories
- A dark novel containing scenes of drug use
- A novel to keep away from younger readers
This next book is one that uses meta-narrative to intertwine a few different stories towards an amazing climax.
This is the tale of a black author who is doing a tour to promote his bestselling book, which is about a young black boy. However, the author is also traveling with another young black boy who may or may not even be real.
- A novel about race and racial intolerance
- An uplifting story about what it means to be a black writer
- A heartbreaking ending
- Perfect for anyone who likes weighty themes
- Might be too much for the casual reader
From the eyebrow-raising self-conscious title to the switcheroo narrative, this is a playful story that will have you laughing with each page.
This follows two writers who are living in adjacent beach cabins and suffering from a creative mental block, so they decide to swap genres, one writing romance novels and another trying to come up with a work of literary genius.
- A great read if you are at the beach yourself
- Over 40,000 great reviews
- A Goodreads choice award nominee
- Two very appealing central characters
- Some readers were unhappy with some of the more graphic scenes in this book
This next book is a national bestseller and recipient of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize For fiction. It is the story of a novelist who treks across the globe to avoid going to a wedding.
This novel is a rip-roaring read that you can be sure will keep you entertained with each turn of the page.
- This is great for comedy romance fans
- A good read for seniors
- Great for taking with you on a long vacation
- Thousands of great reviews
- Not much to get your teeth into for serious readers
This is a story about a woman trying to break out of her traditional Indian background by taking up a writing class in London.
This is the tale of women trying to be set free from a constrained female enclave desperate to express themselves. This is another novel to gain the coveted Reece Witherspoon book club pick.
- A great story that merged tradition with modernity
- A funny story that will have you laughing with each page
- Reece Witherspoon book club pick
- Great for reading on your vacation
- Due to the sometimes raunchy content, this might not be for younger readers
This next narrative is the story of a real-life Parisian library during the Second World War. This is the story of the librarian Odile, who must preserve the books in her library as the Nazis overtake the city.
The novel also flits to Montana in the 1980s, where a young girl forms a connection with her neighbor that ultimately connects these two stories.
- One of the best books about libraries
- Well-written and drawing on real-life
- Great for anyone who is a fan of WWII fiction
- Great for any young women readers
- Some readers have described this narrative as plodding
This novel comes with a great premise: an old woman moves into a new neighborhood and forms a bond with her community by installing a library in a telephone box!
This is a beautiful story that will certainly appeal to anyone who loves books and reading. This is a novel that also covers grief and friendship.
- A great novel for anyone experiencing grief
- Fun and engaging, this will certainly lift the spirits
- This is a page-turner
- Great for any age
- Some readers have found that this book lacks substance
This is a book that is aimed at children from the ages of 6 to 8 and is all about the love of books and libraries.
When Jaime is sent to the school library for the summer as punishment, she thinks it’s going to be the worst time of her life. However, she soon discovers that the library is anything but boring and embarks on a wonderful adventure.
- A fantastic book that really instills a love of literature into children
- A charming story that makes for a great read
- Read this to your children
- Heartfelt, this book will have you laughing and tearful
- Only aimed at younger children
The narrative is easy-to-read, but it tackles some pretty weighty themes. This book comes with some great reviews.
- Great book for children
- A book that talks about the importance of books
- Themes of community and friendship
- Over 1,000 positive reviews
- Not for adults
This next novel is one about race and identity during the beginning of the 20th Century.
This is a true story about the personal librarian of J.P. Morgan and his heir who was forced to disguise the fact that she was black to protect the reputation of her boss. This is a story about racial prejudice and inequality in America.
- An award-winning novel
- Thousands of rave reviews on Amazon
- Great for anyone who likes fiction and fact mixed
- A little-told story about racism
- Not a light read – this one contains serious themes
This is another fiction book with a librarian as the central character. This is the story of two totally opposite sisters, one of whom relies on her sister to maintain her routine.
However, when she discovers her sister cannot have children, she seeks to get pregnant to pay her back for so many years of love and loyalty.
- A thriller full of suspense
- A harrowing tale of two sisters
- An editors pick with plenty of good reviews
- Great for holiday reading
- Not a book that focuses explicitly on reading
This is a very real story that focuses on life in one of the concentration camps during WWII.
It follows the life of Dita Kraus, who is a child put in the concentration camps and is forced to work as the camp’s librarian. I loved this book, although it is a heartbreaking read it also contains a lot of courage.
- A novel set in the Nazi concentration camps
- Good story for anyone who is interested in WWII
- A novel that covers the importance of books during terrible times
- Lots of favorable reviews
- Not for the faint-hearted
This is another story about a librarian who prefers books to people (I know how she feels sometimes).
When the main character Martha Storm gets a book of fairy tales that give some clues to her grandmother’s disappearance, this starts her on a search for the truth about what happened to her.
- A novel with books as the central thrust
- A heartwarming tale of love and destiny
- Great for anyone on a vacation
- A good present to fill anyone’s stocking at Christmas
- Some readers have described this novel as ‘predictable’
This book could be described as a love letter to anyone who loves the art of reading.
When Nina Redmond loses her job as a librarian, she decides to pack up and start a new life in a remote village. While she is there, she turns to books once again to give her a purpose in life.
- This book comes with thousands of great ratings on Amazon
- A great story about how novels can transform us
- This is a great read for a long vacation
- A novel that contains magic, adventure, and mystery
- Considered too slow a narrative for some readers
This novel is one that is centered around a traveling romance bookshop, with its owner on her personal journey of love and acceptance.
This is also about grief as the owner of the bookshop, Aria, tries to continue on with her life after her husband has passed away.
- A great novel for anyone going through a grief
- Easy to read and great for casual readers (for more casual reads, check out our favorite coffee table books you need to buy)
- Perfect gift for anyone going on vacation
- A book that comes highly recommended by broadsheet newspapers
- This might be too fluffy for some readers
This novel is one about a mobile library, but not the one that most people commonly think of. It charts a band of women who deliver novels on horseback to the Appalachian mountains.
This novel has been awarded as the New York Times bestseller, with thousands of readers praising it for its wit, humanity, and lightness of touch.
- This is a gripping narrative
- A female-centered plot
- A book with love, friendship, and sisterhood at its heart
- Over 50,000 positive reviews
- Some readers found parts of this book too graphic
This story is one that is infused with magic and mystery, with the story of a heroine who can travel back into the past through her books.
This is a love story that takes place over a few hundred years, with plenty of passion and adventure thrown into the mix. This is great for young readers transitioning into more mature stories.
- A great book about the power and influence of books themselves
- An epic romance story
- Great for younger female readers
- A good Christmas gift
- Not for people who don’t like fantasy
This next novel is one by a famous author on mental health, this time Matt Haig turns his attention to fiction, detailing a library that allows you to make the choice in your life that you might not have taken.
This is a dazzling novel that weaves together mental health with fantastical possibilities, you won’t want to put this one down.
- This is a great book that will uplift anyone
- A great novel for anyone who feels stuck in a rut
- A worldwide bestselling book
- Nearly half a million great reviews
- Might not appeal to anyone who does not like fantasy elements in their fiction
Have you ever wondered what would happen if you were reading a novel and then suddenly a story from your own childhood cropped up in the pages?
Well, that is the central premise of this story. This book pays homage to the art of storytelling, which makes for gripping, page-turning reading.
- A swirling story of pirates and secrets
- A great central premise
- Good for young teenage readers
- A bestselling novel
- Some readers have described this novel as ‘repetitive’
This novel is a subtle thriller that you can be sure will leave your head spinning. The title is named after the central character January, who delves into a book of myths, dreams, and action-packed adventures.
This is another ‘book-within-a-book’ story where the main character finds a book about their life.
- A clever narrative that is easy to understand
- A story that incorporates a lot of elements
- Great for the younger reader looking for something more challenging
- A good read for young female readers
- Some found the pacing of this narrative a little sluggish
This is a science-fiction classic, based around a ‘fireman’, whose job it is to burn books, which are considered the most dangerous object in the world.
However, when he gets embroiled with his neighbor who shows him a world that didn’t use to be so censorious, his life changes forever.
- A classic of dystopian fiction
- Riveting from start to finish
- Perfect for anyone to likes to think and be entertained
- Great for fans of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley
- Might be too high a concept for casual readers
Now we journey back in time again to WWII, with the central character Grace Bennett being sent to work at an old bookstore in Primrose Hill during the war.
This is another novel that demonstrates the healing power of the written word, as Grace turns to books to get her through the worst horrors of war.
- Great for fans of WWII
- Historical fiction at its very best
- Solid characters and a great storyline
- A New York Times Bestseller
- This will not appeal to fans of contemporary fiction
This one is a very unique premise, one that might lure you in from the very start. The central character, Monsieur Perdu, is a ‘literary apothecary’, who prescribes people novels that will soothe their hearts.
- This is a wonderful story set in Europe
- Riveting from the very beginning
- A strong central premise
- Great for readers of any age
- A lot of people have stated that this book is repetitive
A bookshop’s owner, A.J.Fikry, is struggling to come to terms with the loss of his wife as well as increasingly poor sales of his books.
However, when a valuable collection of Edgar Allen Poe poems are taken, this life takes a surprising new direction.
- This film is to be made into a major motion picture
- Has plenty of humor, romance, and a few tear-jerking scenes
- This book has been described as ‘a love letter to reading’
- Great for fans of intrigue and suspense
- Some readers think the novel peters out at the end
When the recession puts Clay Jannon to work in a bookstore, he thinks his life is over. However, he soon starts to keep tabs on the strange clientele, and soon discovers a large web of intrigue around Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour bookstore.
- A novel unlike anything you will have ever read before
- A New York Times bestselling novel
- An immersive novel that you will find hard to put down
- Thousands of rave reviews
- Too far-fetched for more literal readers
Here we have another novel about a bookstore that holds secrets from the past. When Miranda Brooks inherits her Uncle Billy’s bookstore, she discovers that her Uncle has created a scavenger hunt in the pages of every book on the shelves.
- Emphasizes the strange quality of books
- This is a novel about books, family, and the bonds that link us together
- An internationally bestselling novel
- Thousands of great ratings on Amazon
- Some readers guessed the ending way before it happened
Most of us are familiar with a book club, and some of you might even attend one. This book features a mystery uncovered in the journals of a book club that spans hundreds of years.
- A pro-feminist novel that is great for female readers
- Really leans into the trashy book club cliché
- This is an homage to bell-and-whistles female fiction
- A family drama with multiple female characters
- Not considered a traditionally male book
This is a great premise for a novel: a group of men form a book club so that they can get over heartbreak. This is a fluffy read with plenty of humor and a little bit of pathos between the pages.
You could easily read this one in a day, making it the ideal vacation book.
- A tale about male companionship
- Great for young male readers
- A good gift for someone who might consider themselves a casual reader
- The first in the Bromance Book Club series
- Probably too frothy for any serious literature fans
This is a great novel for anyone who wants to breeze through a book and leave feeling warm and satisfied. This follows Lucy who runs a book club so she can help people out with their problems.
- This is the perfect holiday read
- A light and easy read
- Comes with plenty of 5-star reviews
- Plenty of laughs on the page and a few tear-jerking scenes too
- Too superficial for serious readers
This bestselling novel really lives up to the charm without pulling its punches when it comes to style and experimentation. This is set in WWII and focuses on a book club forming so they can deceive the Germans that have occupied their island.
- This comes with thousands of great reviews
- An internationally bestselling novel
- This is an homage to book lovers everywhere
- Featuring a large cast of quirky characters
- Some readers found this one hard to get through
If you are a Jane Austen fan but have exhausted all her works, then you should read this book, which is an homage to Jane Austen fans.
This focuses on a book group dedicated to Jane Austen, charting the various members’ love affairs, break-ups, and new romances.
- Great for anyone looking for a suitable Jane Austen substitute
- Great for older readers who might be book club members themselves
- A social comedy of manners that will cause much laughter
- A great coffee shop read
- Might be too much of a chick-lit book for male readers
This is a novel that has garnered great reviews from the New York Times and Stephen King. This is about a failed author who learns an amazing plot from one of his students.
However, when that student dies, he steals the story for himself.
- A gripping read with plenty of suspense
- Praise from horror author Stephen King
- Keeps you riveted from the first page until the last
- Great for any Hitchcock fans
- Too dark for a lot of readers
This is a novel about someone who is made famous by a work of literature that details her childhood living in a haunted house.
When she inherits that house, she is forced to return to the ghosts of her childhood and whether they were real or imagined.
- A New York Times bestselling thriller
- A ghost novel about ghost novels
- Gripping and ghostly
- A great Halloween read for horror fiction fans
- Might be too much for the casual reader
This is another novel that shows how literature can actually distort the real world that it is writing about.
Writing a blog post about unsolved murders, a bookseller called Malcolm finds himself caught up in an FBI investigation about a serial killer that appears to be inspired by that very blog.
- Plenty of twists and turns in this book
- Great for anyone who enjoys a thriller
- Perfect for fans of Agatha Christie or A.A.Milne’s mystery novels
- Will engage you from start to finish
- If you don’t like a slow-burning mystery thriller, this might not be the novel for you
This book starts with the case of a writer who travels to meet his mentor (the eponymous Harry Quebert) to dislodge his writer’s block.
However, when Harry becomes involved in a murder case, the writer gets embroiled in a quest to prove his innocence.
- This novel comes with thousands of great ratings on Amazon
- Made into a 10-part TV series
- A great novel about the art of writing
- A thrilling novel with a great climax
- Some readers found this book farcical in places
This is a gripping gothic tale that is great for those who like stories about unearthing a dark past. In this novel, the author of 12 books seeks the help of a biographer to help tell the traumatic tale of her life.
- Climbed to the top of the bestseller list
- Thousands of positive ratings on Amazon
- A chilling book that is full of heart
- A great read for those wanting to while away a rainy day
- Some readers think that the author labors too much over certain passages
This is a book about a book that resurfaces from the past and impacts the lives of those that are enclosed in its pages many years later.
In this case, the book in question connects an old man with a lost son and a daughter who is trying to find a remedy for her mother’s loneliness.
- A New York Times bestselling novel
- Comes with plenty of twists and turns
- A gripping climax
- A great read for young and old people
- Some of the plot is a little hard to follow
When Susan Ryeland receives a novel from one of her bestselling crime writers, she has no reason to believe it will not be like all of the others.
However, upon closer inspection, she sees that there is another plot hidden between the lines. Soon she uncovers a tale of greed and horrible murder.
- An exciting novel with many twists and turns
- A very clever novel
- Great for readers who enjoy solving puzzles
- Good characters and a tangible setting
- Some readers found this novel hard to keep up with
This is a story with a completely unique and alluring central character: Death. Death tells the story of a girl who shares books that she has stolen with her neighbors in Nazi Germany on the cusp of war.
If you like your novels with a dash of history, this is a great one for you.
- Has been described as ‘life-changing’
- A New York Times bestseller
- Young adult fiction, great for young readers
- A harrowing read
- Too dark for some readers
This is a novel about words and the power that they have over us as people and nations. This is about a girl who is trying to search for all the words that are left out of the dictionary, immersing herself in the world of ordinary people’s lives.
- An intriguing premise well executed
- A female-centered novel with female themes
- A great central character
- Multi-award-winning bestseller
- Aimed more at older readers
This novel focuses on a writer and the relationship that he develops with his editor – who happens to be the famous first lady Jackie Onassis.
In a novel that documents his own traumatic childhood, James the writer is struggling to finish the manuscript. This is when Jackie urges him to face his fears and return home to find closure and the perfect ending.
- A wonderful novel that blends fact and fiction
- Unforgettable narrative
- Great for a long holiday read
- A momentous climax
- Some readers have called the main character too ‘self-obsessed’
This is a novel that deals with racism and sexism in the world of publishing. When Hazel comes to work at Wagner Books, Nella Rogers is thrilled not to be the only black girl working there.
But her joy soon turns to dread as she starts receiving threatening notes that appear to be from Hazel.
- A New York Times Bestseller
- Deals with issues of race and sexuality
- Multiple genres in one book
- Funny and poignant
- Some readers have claimed this book is nonsensical
Finally, we have a book that covers the fictional world that has been charted by books over hundreds of years.
Whether it is the kingdom of Narnia, Neverland, or Hogwarts, this deconstructs some of the most vivid locations dreamed up by authors.
- Great for literature fans
- An amazing travel book
- Easy to read
- If you aren’t a fan of fiction, avoid this one
When you are looking for books about books, there are a few tropes you’ll want to look out for:
Literature As The Theme
Books and book lovers are the central themes in a lot of these books.
Bookstores and libraries are the main locations of books about books.
Usually, the characters in these books either write, sell, read, distribute, or smuggle books.
We hope this list of 50 books about books opens your heart to the wonder of reading and how literature can impact our lives.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why Are Books About Books Important?
These books help us to examine our relationship with reading and how literature can shape and change how we see the world.
It also helps us to remember how books have played a crucial role in world history.
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