14 best books about reading for bookworms and bibliophiles

14 best books about reading for bookworms and bibliophiles

In Reading Lists by Lanie Pemberton

14 best books about reading for bookworms and bibliophiles

Any topic can become an adventure in the hands of a skilled author, but for true bookworms out there, there’s nothing like a book about, well, books!

If you’re itching to get lost in a world full of characters who are just as enamored with the written word as you are, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve gathered some of the best books about books and the joy of reading, including tales set in bookstores and libraries.

Fun fact: This list includes my absolute favorite fiction book about reading, The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, which I once ugly cried over in an airport. (I’m sure most readers can relate.)

When Maggie Banks agrees to temporarily run her friend’s family-owned bookshop, Cobblestone Books, she doesn’t realize they only stock the classics — no exceptions. With sales declining, Maggie starts an underground book club promoting contemporary titles to attract a larger variety of customers.

A charming small-town setting, spunky heroine, and sweet side romance make this ode to reading a delight for bookworms. Try Robinson’s debut, Must Love Books, next. 

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2. The Librarian of Auschwitz by Antonio Iturbe

Iturbe’s moving historical novel reveals how books help us hold onto humanity and hope, even in the darkest of circumstances. 

After her family is transferred to the concentration camp at Auschwitz, 14-year-old Dita takes on the role of “librarian,” secretly ferrying eight books around the camp to her fellow prisoners (and risking her life in the process). 

The Librarian of Auschwitz is inspired by the real story of Dita Kraus, who wrote a memoir (A Delayed Life) detailing her experiences and bravery. 

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3. The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

In what I consider to be the best book about reading, a cantankerous widower who owns a struggling independent bookstore sees his life transformed forever — and for good — after a little girl is abandoned in his shop.

There’s so much beauty to unpack in Zevin’s novel, from the found family element to themes of fate, second chances, and the enduring power of stories. The joy of reading plays a big role as well, with plenty of literary references to keep your eyes out for.

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4. The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams

Similar to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry, Adams’ book is about the magic of reading and how a shared love of literature can bring even the most unlikely of people together. 

Aleisha, a teen working at the library for the summer, finds a mysterious book list and begins reading her way through each title. She then shares the list with lonely windower Mukesh, sparking a surprising friendship. The Reading List is tender and heartfelt.

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5. The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan

There’s nothing cozier than a Colgan book. In this one, Nina is a librarian with a knack for finding people the perfect book to read. But when the library system pivots into other types of media and asks if she can assume a social media role, Nina decides to operate her own bookmobile instead. 

The Bookshop on the Corner is a cute tale of friendships formed and love found through books. (You aren’t alone if you’re massively jealous of Nina.)

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When a book-loving college student dies tragically (and ironically: She’s squashed by a stack of toppling books), she reincarnates as a little girl named Myne, who lives in poverty in a different world. When Myne realizes that very few books exist in her new reality, and those that do are only accessible to the wealthy, she sets out to create as many books as possible.

This volume kicks off Ascendance of a Bookworm, a series of light novels translated from the Japanese that inspired popular manga and anime adaptations. Light novels are known for being concise, accessible reads, and this one follows that format while also offering lush world-building and manga-style illustrations.

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7. The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman

Irene Winters has the ultimate dream job: As a time-traveling librarian spy, she embarks on missions throughout the multiverse, rescuing rare books and bringing them back to the eponymous library for safekeeping. With the help of her assistant, Kai, Irene faces off against chaotic magical beings and must toe the line between her reality and the alternate worlds she visits. 

Cogman’s urban fantasy revolves around books and features political intrigue, thrilling espionage, and dry British wit. We consider the eight-book collection one of the best fantasy series of all time. 

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8. Ink Blood Sister Scribe by Emma Törzs

Estranged half-sisters Joanna and Esther are brought back together to protect the magical books, written in the literal blood of scribes, that their father revered. Mystery after mystery unravels in this luscious debut that’s quickly been elevated to must-read status. 

In addition to being named one of The New York Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2023, both Good Morning America and singer Amerie selected Ink Blood Sister Scribe for their book clubs.

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9. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman. But he doesn’t put fires out — he starts them. In Bradbury’s dystopia, books are illegal, and any citizen found in possession of such contraband has their homes and possessions set aflame. After Guy meets a young woman named Clarisse who’s gleaned many unique ideas from books, he risks everything to do the same.

A future with banned books is our worst nightmare, but Bradbury’s themes are unfortunately still highly relevant with ongoing book banning in U.S. public schools and libraries.

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10. Read Dangerously by Azar Nafisi

“I really believe that books might not save us from death, but they help us live,” says Nafisi in Read Dangerously — the perfect nonfiction follow-up to Bradbury’s classic book about books.

Throughout history, fiction has served as a way to combat oppressive forces and help people believe in a better tomorrow. By evoking the wisdom found in the works of James Baldwin, Zora Neale Hurston, and Margaret Atwood, and coupling it with her expert analysis, Nafisi’s excellent collection about the power of fiction ignites a much-needed flicker of hope, especially amid the current alarming increase in attempts to ban books.

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11. The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Part investigative journalism, part history book filled with fascinating anecdotes, Orlean’s The Library Book begins with a disastrous fire that consumed the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986 and the subsequent search for the suspected arsonist. 

But that’s only the jumping off point. Orlean also delves into the history of the library institution itself, and how books have shaped her life through the years. 

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12. Diary of a Tuscan Bookshop by Alba Donati

After building a successful career as a book publicist, Donati overhauled her life in 2019. She moved back to her small Italian hometown (and by small, I mean less than 200 residents) to open a bookshop. This memoir-in-diary-entries recounts her journey, including her struggle to stay afloat during the pandemic.

This cozy read brims with love for literature, the Italian mountains, and community, and it’s an inspiration for any of us who dream of starting fresh (surrounded by books, of course).

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13. Why We Read by Shannon Reed

Readers will find much to connect with in this memoir-in-essays covering the author’s lifelong love of books. Many of these stories reminded me of my own childhood, like when Reed reminisces over Pizza Hut’s “BOOK IT!” program, or discusses the assigned reading lists we all loved complaining about in high school.

This collection has a lot going for it, from witty asides to relatable revelations about how literature impacts our lives. But my favorite aspect of Reed’s work is her encouragement — that reading for pleasure is enough, and that we should read what we want, not what we “should.” 

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14. Misery by Stephen King

I love to read. You love to read. We all love to read! But, perhaps none of us are as passionate about our favorite books as the antagonist in King’s terrifying tale. (That’s a good thing, as you’ll see.)

After famous author Paul Sheldon kills off one of his longest-running characters, a demented fan kidnaps him and demands he write a new novel reviving the protagonist. Her methods of persuasion make the title of this book very fitting. (Don’t read it if you have a weak stomach for gore.) 

Misery inspired a 1990 horror film starring the one and only Kathy Bates.

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About the Author: Lanie Pemberton

Lanie is a San Diego-based freelance writer who loves reading crime thrillers and nonfiction about animals and the natural world. When not writing and reading (or writing about what to read), Lanie spends as much time as possible at the beach with her husband and pampered pittie, Peach.