Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5 Books about Books

Who doesn't like a story where the plot in some way revolves around a book? I know I always enjoy one! So here are 5 books (and their sequels) about books that I have enjoyed:

With 155 unique publications the late Joan Lowery Nixon is one of those ubiquitous YA authors that most tweens/teens  will end up reading at least one book by in their time, or at least she was in the 90s when I don't know how popular/widely consumed her books still are. That being said there is a Library collection dedicated to her works at the University of Minnesota. This particular book was one of my favourites by her; it's a murder mystery, the murder of an author, the reason he's killed? The contents of his latest tell-all book, he'd brought all the people in the book together on an island to tell them about the book, and one killed him. It's up to his nosy, aspiring author great-niece Samantha to discover who the killer is.

The Library of Shadows
Mikkel Birkegaard

Has a book ever physically compelled you before? Because that happens to me on a semi-regular basis, I feel physically drawn toward certain books to the point that if I don't read them I actually start to feel kind of bad. Maybe I'm just weird. Anyway, this was one such book, it called to me while I was shelving at the WPL. It's   a bit mystery, a bit suspense/thriller, and a bit fantasy, and if I may say  would not be out of place in the same verse as Warehouse 13   and Eureka, it's got the same vibe. Jon Campelli inherits his estranged father's beloved book store after his mysterious death, but figuring out how and why his father died is really the least of his worries; after an arson attempt on the shop within days of Luca's death Jon has to go digging into the family's history. He discovers that his father and the bookstore have been hiding a remarkable secret; the store is home to, and his father was the leader of, a secret society of book lovers and readers who have been in charge of maintaining an immense magical power that dates back to the days of the Library of Alexandria, and there's someone out to steal that power from them and use it for evil. Only Jon has the strength to harness the power and stop them.

Pearl North (aka Jessica Freely, aka Anne Harris)

Libyrinth and it's sequels, The Boy from Ilysies and The Book of the Night  take place in a fantasy world where there is a huge ancient depository of books called the Libyrinth run by a race of folks called of course Libyrarians. The series is all about their search for  the  titular Book of the Night to bring peace to the world. The author, Pearl North, is just as intriguing as this series! Pearl North is just one of the pseudonymous for Anne Harris, it's her YA Fantasy pseudonym. Under her real name she write fantasy and romance novels. And under the name Jessica Freely she publishes novels and fanfiction of the male/male erotica variety.

Deborah Harkness

The author is a history professor who has multiple published non-fiction works related to science and history, so it really shouldn't be surprising that her most famous work is A Discovery of Witches which is a book about a history scholar who makes a discovery a book about the alchemical powers of witches. This history scholar conveniently happens to be a witch. The discovery of this book happens to draw to her a host of supernatural creatures who all want the book, including a very handsome 1,500 year old French vampire. Of course. It's such an amazingly well written book, a really addictive read. It had me completely absorbed, I have book two Shadow of Night on the pile but I haven't reached it yet. Discovery will be getting a re-read for sure once I get to Shadow though!

Ray Bradbury

To quote Commandant Lassard, last, but certainly not least, not in any way...Fahrenheit 451, really no list of books about books could or should be complete without it. It's about firemen who SET fires! TO BOOKS! Bradbury has created a disturbing dystopian future that seems like it could really happen one day, which is terrifying for me as a bibliophile, where books are banned. Fire squads are charged with the task of hunting down delinquents  who have the forbidden contraband and not only with torching their collections but also their houses and them as well. But there is hope, in the form of Guy Montag a fireman who comes to steal a book he should be burning, who comes to learn the value of books. Every time I think about this book since watching V for Vendetta I end up thinking about the scene in the movie where Stephen Fry's character is talking to Natalie Portman's character about his forbidden Qua'ran and the fact that just owning it could get him killed. Eerily similar societal structures in play there methinks. This is also without a doubt Bradbury's most famous work, and that's saying something for a guy who had 682 distinct works published. His death last year was a great loss to literature.

So what other books about books have you read? Which ones would you recommend I check out?

-- Rena

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