Skip to content

Real-Life Book Lovers

13 Books that Celebrate Bookishness

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 02, 2022

Perhaps the only thing more satisfying than reading books is sharing our love of books with others. That's why book clubs are so popular! In any case, if you are a bibliophile, you may find some food for thought in these treasures. From essays about reading to book history to author origin stories, this roundup of nonfiction titles celebrates bookishness.

Books in History

We may love books, but do we know what lies behind them?

In The Book: A Cover-to-Cover Exploration of the Most Powerful Object of Our Time, Keith Houston reveals the rich story behind the ancient development of writing, printing, illustrating, and binding, showing how we moved from cuneiform tablets and papyrus scrolls to the hardcovers and paperbacks of today.

For a more specific slice of book history, Molly Guptil Manning tells the story of a WWII campaign to provide books to the troops in When Books Went to War. Outraged by the enemy's book-burning tactics, America's publishing industry stepped up and donated 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks for soldiers.

In Read Dangerously, Azar Nafisi, the bestselling author of Reading Lolita in Tehran returns with a guide to the power of literature in turbulent times, arming readers with a resistance reading list, with selections from authors like Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood, James Baldwin, and more.


Many of us may admire our local booksellers, but the heroism portrayed in The Bookseller of Kabul is particularly noteworthy. Åsne Seierstad offers a mesmerizing portrait of Sultan Khan, a proud man who braved persecution through three decades of repressive regimes to bring books to Afghani people.

Visit some of the world's most cherished bookshops with Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores. New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein has compiled this collection of 75 evocative paintings, accompanied by colorful anecdotes from such luminaries as Deepak Chopra, Marc Maron, Neil Gaiman, Ann Patchett, and many more.

Author Origin Stories

It shouldn't be surprising that many writers are also bibliophiles, but these volumes shine a light on the way that literature shaped the lives of their authors.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Quiara Alegría Hudes worked to find her own voice in the sea of language amidst her Philly-based Puerto Rican family. Her memoir, My Broken Language, weaves together Hudes's love of books with the stories from early life in an ailing Philadelphia barrio to the hallowed halls of Yale.

First published in 1970, 84, Charing Cross Road brings together twenty years of correspondence between Helene Hanff, a freelance writer living in New York City and a used-book dealer in London. Though they never met in person, their letters display a captivating friendship based on their common love of literature.

Fans of My Brilliant Friend author Elena Ferrante will enjoy this deep dive into the books that shaped her life and her work. In the Margins explores her literary perspective, giving a special nod to female writers across decades, places, and cultures.

Library Love

Libraries and Librarians hold a special place in the hearts of many readers. These books capture that unwavering reverence, while simultaneously delivering a gripping story.

Susan Orlean delivers a thrilling one-two punch with her bestseller, The Library Book, centering on the disastrous 1986 fire that destroyed hundreds of thousands of books at the Los Angeles Public Library. It is both a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries.

In The Library: A Fragile History, historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen introduce us to the history behind the institution. Through meticulous research and beautiful writing, they show that while collections themselves may be fragile, the idea of the library has remained remarkably resilient.

Basic Bibliophiles

While reading may feel very exciting to the reader, it takes a very special kind of book lover to be able to effectively convey that excitement to others. In Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader, Anne Fadiman does just that. Her witty collection of essays recounts her lifelong love affair with books and language.

I'd Rather Be Reading will resonate with everyone who feels this way. Blogger and author Anne Bogel invites book lovers into a community of like-minded people to discover new ways to approach literature, learn fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.

Author and illustrator Jane Mount is known for her vibrant, customized portraits of bookshelves. In Bibliophile and Bibliophile: Diverse Spines, she celebrates all things bookish with images of beautiful bookstores, literary trivia, a view into the workspaces of famous authors, and more.

These volumes not only reinforce our love of literature, they make us proud to be readers! Here's hoping you find something here that appeals to your own bookish self. And please let us know if you have any suggestions for reads that give us a glimpse into the lives of the most ardent of book lovers.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to connect with a community of readers like you and get daily book recommendations, literary tidbits, and more.

Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

Leave a Comment

Copyright © 2023 Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Do Not Sell/Share My Personal Information | Cookie Policy | Cookie Preferences | Accessibility Statement
ThriftBooks® and the ThriftBooks® logo are registered trademarks of Thrift Books Global, LLC
GoDaddy Verified and Secured