Books About Books For Accio Books
By Lauren Bourdages
This piece is a part of our Accio Books series, in which we are celebrating literacy by recommending books that line up with our Plan for Resistance. To find out more about how to get involved and support Accio Books, visit thehpalliance.org/accio_books.
Books about books and books about reading are a very meta genre. As the HPA’s Library Advocacy Researcher, and someone who loves books and reading, it’s really interesting to think about books that are about those topics — but as it turns out I haven’t actually really read many! This feels like an oversight that I should venture to rectify, and maybe you’d like to read these books with me. So, here are eight books about books and reading, one that I have read, and seven that I would very much like to:
I’d Rather Be Reading: A Library of Art for Book Lovers by Guinevere de la Mare
A friend bought me a copy of this one as a Christmas gift in 2017, saying that he immediately thought of me when he saw it. Surprisingly for me, I actually read it within a month of getting it (I have a lot of books, most take me much longer to actually get to because of that). It’s a relatively short book at only 96 pages. It’s full of interesting things, and it’s a combination of great images, comics, and memes about books. They’re beautifully curated and I would love to have some of them printed and framed for my walls. Interspersed among these images are mini-essays about books and reading. So if you like looking at pretty pictures of and about books, and you just want a quick read, this book is a good choice.
I’m fascinated by books that have the same title but are different. That’s actually one of the categories in the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge, so if you’re doing that, this book and the one above could be a good option! This memoir from Anne Bogel, who is the mastermind behind the What Should I Read Next? Podcast, is a 196 page book filled with essays on Bogel’s life as a bibliophile. These are stories that anyone who enjoys reading can relate to, the little joys and little problems such as the classic bookworm problems about how to organize all your books and some fascinating stories about publishing!
The list of authors who contributed to this 378 page book is impressive and very long. It contains recognizable names such as John Grisham, Dave Eggers, and Ann Patchett. A bibliophile could plan a whole roadtrip just around the bookstores profiled in this book. There are 84 such profiles, which is a celebration of bricks and mortar bookstores by the authors whose books fill them. I am always intrigued by what the authors I like are reading and where and how they find their reading material.
Here is another memoir from a reader. Clarkson’s memoir focuses on how reading can broaden one’s horizons and enrich their life. She explores reading’s ability to ‘strengthen your spiritual life and deepen your faith’ as the book jacket describes it. In an incredibly meta move, the book contains more than 20 lists of book recommendations that are annotated by Clarkson.
(I’m also very much enjoying the use of the IKEA Strandmon chair on the cover, because that is one of my dream reading chairs, it’s so good for curling up in with a good book.)
The Library Book by Susan Orlean
This is the book about books that everyone in the library world has been talking about since it came out. The 310 page book has almost 22,000 ratings on Goodreads as of writing this, which is far and away the highest number of ratings of all the books on this list. It’s also got an average rating of 4.09 stars. It’s a combination of microhistory and true crime. Orlean is exploring the event and aftermath of the Los Angeles Public Library fire in April 1986. At its core, it is an ode to the libraries of the past and a love letter to the libraries of the present. This one is definitely on my list, I’ve got a hold on my local public library’s audiobook copy that is going to take months to come in, and I am perfectly fine waiting. It feels right to read this book by borrowing it from the library! Though I may also take a friend up on his offer to borrow his copy — reading along as I listen to the audiobook reminds me fondly of my childhood.
Book Love by Debbie Tung
I remember growing up when people tried to say that reading comics didn’t count as reading. I’m so glad that that’s a stigma that’s finally starting to go away — graphic novels and comics are now fairly well recognized as valid forms of literature, and reading comics counts as reading! (Now if we can get people to realize the same thing about audiobooks, too, I’ll be really happy). This graphic novel is both written and illustrated by Tung. One of the reviews describes it as a celebration of book lover scenarios, and the summary on the book says that it’s ‘a gift book of comics tailor-made for tea-sipping, spine-sniffing, book-hoarding bibliophiles.’ I’ve found that bibliophiles are good at laughing at ourselves and our book obsessions, so I for one am very excited to read this book!
Have you read these books, or have others you’d add to the list? Let us know! And don’t forget, if you have books you’d love to share with others, donate them to Accio Books! The best part about a good book is sharing it, and we’d love for you to share it with us. ❤