books about books

There are many ways to celebrate our love for books- from reading the books we love to gifting one to someone, or from donating books to buying literary-themed products, we can have a lot of fun with books. Another option is to spend some time reading books about books- those that talk about the importance of books in one’s life, teach you how to become a better reader and tell you why and how you should explore books that are out of your comfort zone. Here are 10 books about books that celebrate the love of literature.


Ex Libris: Confessions Of A Common Reader

Anne Fadiman

Ex Libris is a collection of 18 essays by Anne Fadiman, that were originally published in ‘The Common Reader’ column of Civilization magazine. The book explores readers’ relationship with their books. In ‘Never Do That To A Book’, she writes about how people love their books in two major ways– courtly love, where the reader considers the physical state of a book sacrosanct and turns each page carefully when reading; and carnal love, where one reads a book again and again, even tearing up the pages, making notes in the margin, and damaging the covers in the process. In ‘Words On A Flyleaf’, she tells you what to do when you are at a second-hand bookshop and find a book that you had inscribed and given to someone. The essays in the book are an absolute delight for anyone who admires books and loves reading.

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Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World Of Books

Tim Parks

In this wonderful collection of essays about the literary world, Where I’m Reading From, Tim Parks deals with important questions such as, should you finish every book you start; what happens to your brain when you read a great book; and what is wrong with the Nobel Prize. As a translator himself, he also talks about the difficulties of retaining the nuances while translating from one language to another. What makes Where I’m Reading From one of the best books about books is that it engages you deeply and makes you think about what it means to read and write.

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Browsings: A Year Of Reading, Collecting, And Living With Books

Michael Dirda

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and ‘the best-read man in America’, Michael Dirda, has compiled 50 of his essays, originally published in the American Scholar, in Browsings. He talks about diverse topics like famous pets in literature, P. B. Shelley’s poetry, Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire, book inscriptions, author autographs, and writer’s block among many other subjects. He discusses his favourite authors from classics to post-modernism and reflects on literary journalism. Written in a light and personal tone, the book also contains his recommendations on books about books, combined with a glimpse of his favourite books- the ones that he keeps on his nightstand.

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The World Between Two Covers: Reading The Globe

Ann Morgan

After she realised that she needs to read more international literature, British author, Ann Morgan set a goal for herself to read at least one book from every country in the world within one year. The World Between Two Covers is part memoir and part criticism, taking us through her literary journey during that year. She covers a wide array of issues such as limited availability of world literature in the average bookstore, problems faced by writers of developing nations, and the representation of the West in books around the globe. For example, when she was reading a Singaporean novel, Fistful Of Colours by Suchen Christine Lim, she found herself in a difficult situation when the author accused all British of being ‘racist to the bone’. Morgan’s book talks about the importance of reading literature written from different perspectives to dispel the many myths we hold true.

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Howards End Is On The Landing: A Year Of Reading From Home

Susan Hill

One autumn afternoon, Susan Hill was searching for Howards End by E. M. Forster, when she encountered a large number of unread books on her shelves- books she either meant to read but never did or that she would love to read again. She, then, decided not to buy another book for a year and, instead, explore her own personal library. She spent the next year reading and re-reading books while revisiting “the conversations, libraries and bookshelves of the past.” At the end of the year, she made a list of 40 books that meant the most to her and, in the book, she discusses why and how these books are an important part of her life. Howards End Is On The Landing will inspire you to work your way through your personal library and tackle long-forgotten books.

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How Reading Changed My Life

Anna Quindlen

In How Reading Changed My Life, Anna Quindlen emphasises that books are more than a medium for imparting knowledge. They strengthen us emotionally, minimise isolation, let us explore alternate realities, and help us challenge the established order. She remembers her early love affair with books, her passion for reading, and discusses the books that shaped her life, and made her commit to fighting for social justice. She has included personally curated lists of books such as, ‘10 modern novels that made me proud as a writer’, ‘10 books I would save in a fire’, and ‘10 books that will help a teenager feel more human’. How Reading Changed My Life is a pleasure to read and a smart and quirky insight into a reader’s life.

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The Man Who Loved Books Too Much: The True Story Of A Thief, A Detective, And A World Of Literary Obsession

Allison Hoover Bartlett

While most thieves steal for profit, John Charles Gilkey steals out of sheer love of books. He has stolen rare books worth hundreds of thousands of dollars from libraries, bookstores, and book fairs. He finds a worthy opponent in Ken Sanders, a book dealer who is obsessed with catching him. Allison Hoover Bartlett tells this amazing cat and mouse tale that explores the world of book lust. The Man Who Loved Books Too Much reveals how Gilkey pulled off his tricks, and where he kept his looted treasure. We also see how Sanders, while on his mission to catch Gilkey, finds himself falling in love with books and is tempted to steal them. Bartlett examines how cravings for certain books can put one on a path where they will stop at nothing until they acquire that book.

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My Reading Life

Pat Conroy

In My Reading Life, acclaimed novelist Pat Conroy acknowledges the books that have shaped him. Conroy has always been an avid reader with his reading choices ranging from Philip Roth to J. R. R. Tolkien. He also enjoyed poetry, philosophy, and history books. He recalls his childhood when he would visit a local library with his mother, and his decades-long relationship with an English teacher. Written with honesty, the personal essays in the book are emotionally moving and pleasant. Anyone who loves reading would connect with Conroy’s life and believe in the power of books. My Reading Life lets us peek into the mind and life of a reader-writer.

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How To Read A Book: The Classic Guide To Intelligent Reading

Mortimer J. Adler, Charles Van Doren

Originally published in 1940, How To Read A Book, has become quite a phenomenon, and one of the best guides about reading for the general reader. Now completely updated and rewritten, the book talks about various reading levels and how to achieve them. It tells you how you can transform yourself into a speed reader from an elementary reader, through systematic skimming and inspection. The book teaches you how to X-ray a book and extract what the author meant to say. It also covers different methods for reading plays, poetry, fiction, history, philosophy, and many others. The book consists of recommended reading lists and tests which you can use to determine your reading speed and comprehension.

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My Life With Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book Of Books, Plot Ensues

Pamela Paul

Pamela Paul has made a note of every book she’s ever read. Bob is Paul’s Book of Books- a journal which hasn’t left her side in 28 years and, in which, Paul has logged her literary life. By reading Paul’s journal, we get a glimpse of her inner life- the books she reads and records reflect her thoughts, dreams, hopes and ideas. However, as much as books influence her life, the latter also influences what she reads. This memoir is as much a meditation on the relationship between books and readers as it is a book about how books help us make our own stories.

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Ankit loves stories, be it in any form- print, media or theatre. After reading Angels and Demons, he fell in love with books, especially suspense, thriller, and fantasy. He is a big fan of the Harry Potter series. He quit his engineering career to become a writer and worked with The Curious Reader. Apart from writing he also loves filmmaking, photography, travelling and cooking. You can reach him on Instagram.

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