Five Favorite Books About Books

Today, I’m joining in the fun of A Month of Favorites with the topic, “Five Favorite Books by Theme.” For us bookaholics, what’s even better than a great book? A great book about books, stories, or reading! Here are five of my personal favorites.

Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
While he was in hiding from those who would have murdered him for writing The Satanic Verses, Rushdie produced this rollicking, pop-culture-sprinkled comic fantasy. Centered around a quest to save the very source of storytelling itself, it is a moving tribute to the life-giving power of words and language.

Possession by A.S. Byatt
An astonishing feat of literary ventriloquism, as well as an absorbing historical mystery and a double love story, this book concerns two Victorian poets and the modern scholars who are trying to discover the truth about them.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
If you’ve only seen the movies (especially the horrible later ones), please read the real thing! When a lonely child escapes his troubles by means of a magical book, he must learn the true meaning of heroism before he can save the world within its pages — as well as his own.

The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
Another historical mystery, this time set in a medieval monastery, where secrets, lies, and old manuscripts are turning deadly. If you find Eco’s esoterica too baffling, there’s a little booklet called “The Key to The Name of the Rose” that is very helpful in navigating this huge and complex novel.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
When his home planet is destroyed, hapless Englishman Arthur Dent must take to outer space with only the eponymous guidebook to help him, encountering the craziest denizens of the universe along the way.

Honorable Mention:

Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
The recent read that got me thinking about this theme — not quite up there with my faves, but worth a mention nevertheless. The fate of an unnamed Persian Gulf state hangs in the balance when a hacker comes into possession of an ancient, mysterious book of stories that may hold the key to the ultimate computer code. Will it lead him to freedom — or destruction?

Do you have any further variations on the theme? I’d love to hear about them!

22 thoughts on “Five Favorite Books About Books

  1. OMG I LOOOOVe Haroun and the Sea of Stories, I re read it this year and it made me cry, it made me feel like a little girl again. I also love anything I've read by Michael Ende, including of course The Neverending Story

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  2. Ahh, a category I love! When I think of books about books I often think of non-fiction first, so I'm really glad you went the fiction route. I have some of these on my TBR!

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  3. I've liked too The Neverending Story (I wouldn't have thought it would be the case).You've got plenty of other books (I had a specific list at a time. If I find it, I'll come back). Ideas that come now: The Shadow of The Wind by Ruiz Zafon, To Loud A Solitude by Bohumil Hrabal, The House of Paper by Carlos Maria Dominguez.

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  4. I remember watching The Neverending Story over and over again at this one friend's house growing up! I've never read the book, though. Does The Storied Life of AJ Fikry count as a book about books? One of my 2014 favorites!

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  5. This is a great list! The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a brilliant book. I love Umberto Eco's nonfiction, but The Name of the Rose was tricky for me. I did borrow the Key to the Name of the Rose later, and it definitely helped.

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    1. Just thinking about these books makes me happy. And I haven't read most of them for far too long! Must do something about that.

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  6. I love Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Was so happy to see that at the top of your list, and I must pick up The Neverending Story. I haven't read the book or seen the movie, but the title alone sounds so lovely.

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  7. I loved The Name of the Rose – the only one on your list that I've read. I wish that accompanying booklet had been available back when I read it, though. I was in college, it was well before the Internet, and I know there were things I didn't understand and lacked the time and resources to look up… but it was still a fabulous, amazing book.

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    1. I had the "Key" long ago — I think I got it from the old Cahill catalog way back when I was in college. But I seem to have gotten rid of it in a book purge, for which I am now very sorry. I'm glad you loved the book anyway.

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