My Favourite Books About Books

IMG_2029“The words you can’t find, you borrow.
We read to know we’re not alone.  We read because we are alone.  We read and we are not alone.” – Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry

My recent read of The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, a book about a secret Library society, spies, and of course books, made me think back to some of my favourite books that have books as one of the main themes.  It is always wonderful to read something that captures the love of reading so many of us share and the beauty of a story.  These are my favourite books about books:

1. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón
Young Daniel becomes fascinated by a book called The Shadow of the Wind by Julián Carax.  When he sets out to find other works by tis mysterious author, he discovers that someone is destroying every book Carax had ever written.  Beautifully written and engaging story with an intriguing mystery.

2. Mr. Peneumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan
Young protagonist Clay Jannon stumbles upon a pattern in customer book selection, and sets out to uncover the mystery of Mr. Penumbra’s bookstore with the help of his friends.  A fun adventure that examines the relationship between new technology and old school books.

3. The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Independent bookstore owner A.J. Fikry is grieving the loss of his wife and has isolated himself from just about everyone.  When he discovers an unexpected package left at his bookstore, his life takes a turn in a whole new direction.  A beautifully written and touching story. Continue reading “My Favourite Books About Books”

Among Others by Jo Walton

IMG_0940“There are some awful things in the world, it’s true, but there are also some great books.”

Young Mori has had a very challenging childhood, being raised by a witch mother who experimented with dangerous magic.  Mori found comfort among the faeries that lived in her hometown in Wales and she found escape in numerous science-fiction novels.  After a battle with deadly consequences, Mori is sent to England to be under the care of her father and where she is to attend boarding school.  Told through diary entries, Mori gives us her story in her own words.

Touching and at times heart-breaking, Among Others is a coming-of-age story with a fantasy twist.  Mori is an incredibly endearing character and you really get to connect to her experiences through her daily diary entries.  The fantasy aspect of this novel is very subtle, with the world being as we know it and the magical aspects existing but not clearly visible to all.  When reading the book this could be interpreted as the result of an overactive imagination or delusion, however, what the story demonstrates is that magic is visible to those who are willing to see it.  I did find the book started to drag a little about three quarters of the way through and the fantasy part didn’t really click with the rest of the story as it reached its conclusion.

“If you love books enough, books will love you back.”

The true heart of Among Others is Mori’s love of books and fans of science-fiction will appreciate all the works that are mentioned and discussed throughout the novel.  And anyone who has ever found solace and comfort in books will fall in love with Mori and her love of libraries and the magic that is interlibrary loans.

You can find the list of books mentioned in Among Others here.

“It doesn’t matter.  I have books, new books, and I can bear anything as long as there are books.”