Books about Books – a Booklist featuring books about reading, bookselling and libraries among other things!

Admiring Gladstone’s Library – where I found some remarkable books about, well, books….

(If you click on the links, they should work despite not being highlighted!)

Books About Books – A list

I have always had an obsession with books – their content, as objects, libraries and so on. I am not the only one – apparently  Simon Thomas of has a shelf of Books About Books.

So I thought I would post a list of some of my favourites, some new, some older, some I have reviewed and some which are waiting to be read! There are some strange choices here – rabbit holes have been gone down…

As with all my lists on Northernreader, please add any ideas in the comments below. I know I will forget some obvious ones and I would like anyone who reads this to feel free to add their own ideas to the list.

  1. The Library – A Fragile History by Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree (2021) – I have had a copy of this since it came out, it seemed so desirable. A solid history of libraries, the people and books that fill them – academic but apparently quite readable – the source book for many further studies.
  2. The Bookseller’s Tale by Martin Latham (2020) I reviewed this here  I really enjoyed reading this!
  3. Portable Magic – A History of Books and their Readers by Emma Smith (2022) I am looking forward to reading this which appears to have a detailed look at controversies concerning books as well as “What Is a Book?”
  4. Eve Bites Back – An Alternative History of English Literature by Anna Beer (2022) I have just started reading this – feminist historical perspectives on British Women writers from the theological Julian of Norwich though to someone called Jane Austen…
  5. What Writers Read by Pandora Sykes (2022) a fascinating little books with lots of ideas. I reviewed it here
  6. Bibliomanic: An Obsessive’s Tour of the Bookshops of Britain by Robin Ince (2022) I have got a copy of this to read. As you may know I feature accessible bookshops – when I can find them – on this blog under the heading “Bookshop Tour on Four Wheels”. Maybe this will suggest a few more I can try…
  7. Bookshop Tours of Britain by Louise Boland (2020) I have consulted this to try to find possible accessible bookshops with limited success though it is a well -produced book which is generally useful.
  8. Dear Reader : The Comfort and Joy of Books by Cathy Rentzenbrink (2020) A deeply personal book about reading, bookselling and how books can change lives. I reviewed it here
  9. Bookworm: A Memoir of Childhood Reading by Lucy Mangan (2018) I reviewed this book here I was a bit disappointed in that it only mentioned children’s books. I subsequently met Lucy and she explained that it represented ideas for children’s books rather than what she actually read ( I was surprised that she had not acquired more grown up books like I did!)
  10. The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (2017) The first in a series of three so far revealing the daily life in a bookshop in Wigtown, Scotland. Fascinating and often funny, I reviewed it here
  11. Confessions of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell (2019) more of the same – here is my review    I have Remainders of the Day, the 2022 book to read – I’m looking forward to it!
  12. The Life of Crime: Detecting the History of Mysteries and their Creators by Martin Edwards (2022) A big book which encapsulates the history of crime writing – fictional – from the very beginnings and in various countries. A book of reference, but also very readable! Here is my review

 So there you have it – a dozen books about books – some specific, some more general. I am sure that there are dozens more – perhaps older, that I have not listed, so please feel free to add your own ideas. My next list may be about books, bookshops and libraries in fiction – watch this space!


3 thoughts on “Books about Books – a Booklist featuring books about reading, bookselling and libraries among other things!

  1. I have a books about books shelf, too! I have Bibliomaniac (just arrived, tbr) and want to read What Writers Read quite desperately, and I have read the Bythells.

    I am devastated to say I don’t think our new indie bookshop is wheelchair-accessible. They are stuck with a door in a run of windows and doors that they can’t change, and I know they’re gutted about it, too. They will hand-deliver locally at least, though not ideal obviously.

  2. That’s a great list. I too have an obsession with books of a sort, but somehow most books about books or libraries bore me to death (maybe it all started with my disastrous reading of Fitzgerald’s The Bookshop) or maybe I have not picked up the right ones yet. Your list is certainly inspiring, and The Life of Crime is definitely very tempting. I have a number of books edited by Martin Edwards, and they are superb. I certainly respect his expertise.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.