Books for Book Lovers: Bookshops, Libraries, Reading, & Bibliomania

Bibliophile - an illustrated miscellany by Jane Mount

For bibliophiles, it’s not enough to be so obsessed with books that we’re reading four or five works of fiction or nonfiction at any given time. We also love books about books, bookstores, libraries, bookish places, and even books about reading. This might seem eccentric at first glance, but for the devout book lover, it makes perfect sense.

Here’s a slew of books for book lovers that celebrate the passion for the page. At left, Bibliophile: An Illustrated History by Jane Mount, which kicks off this list.

In this list you’ll find a book about so-called “book towns” around the world; a celebration of libraries; a musing on the art of reading itself; a collection on the thrill of finding rare books; a few books on bookshops, and a book on the joy of  bibliomania. What perfect gifts these make for the book nerds in your life — or for yourself, if you fit that description! 

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Bibliophile: An Illustrated History by Jane Mount

Bibliophile by Jane Mount

Bibliophile by Jane Mount on Amazon

A love letter to all things bookish, book people and places are curated by Jane Mount, who illuminates them with the vibrant illustrations she’s known for.

You’ll find literary trivia, see the world’s beautiful bookstores, workplaces of famous authors, and even get a taste of famous fictional meals. Best of all, it’s a wonderful resource for discovering some of the greatest reads ever.

“In this love letter to all things bookish, Jane Mount brings literary people, places, and things to life through her signature and vibrant illustrations … A source of endless inspiration, literary facts and recommendations, Bibliophile is pure bookish joy.”

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Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises
of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson

Book Towns by Alex Johnson

More about Book Towns here on Literary Ladies Guide
Book Towns by Alex Johnson on Amazon 

“Book Towns” of the world are hamlets, villages, and towns center on literature and bookshops — in other words, paradises for book lovers.

Book Towns will take you on a tour of the recognized literary towns around the world, with stories of how they grew and offering information on how to get there. But even if you never get to any of them, the beautiful photos and charming stories are perfect for the book-loving armchair traveler.

“Amid the beauty of the Norwegian fjords, among the verdant green valleys of Wales, in the shadow of the Catskill mountains and beyond, publishers and printmakers have banded together to form unique havens of literature.”

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Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores: True Tales and Lost Moments
from Book Buyers, Booksellers, and Book Lovers by Bob Eckstein

Footnotes from the World's Greatest Bookstores

Footnotes from the World’s Greatest Bookstores by Bob Eckstein on Amazon
Read an excerpt here on Literary Ladies Guide

From New Yorker cartoonist Bob Eckstein, here’s a collection of 75 gorgeous detailed paintings of some of the world’s most iconic bookstores, served up with the inside scoop about what goes on inside them. Quirky and charming, the anecdotes and stories feature many of today’s most renowned authors and thinkers.Some of these bookstores have gone by the wayside, many, thankfully, are still open for business.

“Page by page, Eckstein perfectly captures our lifelong love affair with books, bookstores, and book-sellers that is at once heartfelt, bittersweet, and cheerfully confessional.”

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I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas
of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

I'd rather be reading by Anne Bogel

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel on Amazon

I’d Rather Be Reading is a collection of witty reflection that any voracious reader will relate to. Blogger and author Anne Bogel (known for her popular podcast What Should I Read Next?) invites book lovers into a virtual community that’s as cozy as it is fascinating.

“With fascinating new things about books and publishing, and reflect on the role reading plays in their lives.  The perfect gift for the bibliophile in everyone’s life, I’d Rather Be Reading will command an honored place on the overstuffed bookshelves of any book lover.”

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Rare Books Uncovered: True Stories of Fantastic Finds
in Unlikely Places by Rebecca Rego Barry

Rare books uncovered by Rebecca Rego Barry

Rare Books Uncovered by Rebecca Rego Barry on Amazon

The thrill of the chase is rarely so thrilling as it is for book collectors in pursuit of rare and unique books.

In Rare Books Uncovered, Rebecca Rego Barry, an expert on book collecting, tells the stories of incredible finds, from the first Superman comic — discovered in an attic — to a first edition of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, bought at a flea market for a few bucks. Richly detailed, it’s an engrossing read for the die-hard book lover and inveterate collector.

“These tales and many others will entertain and inspire casual collectors and hardcore bibliomaniacs alike.”

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The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell on Amazon

Here’s a book in which the bookshop, even more than the book itself, is the center of curiosity and fascination. Here you’ll  find more than 300 weird and wonderful bookstores around the world, in every form imaginable: shops on buses, in converted churches, abandoned factories, on barges, and even odder places.

You’ll encounter stories of bookshops that moveable, mutable, and that are even folded into vending machines.

“From the oldest bookshop in the world, to the smallest you could imagine … The Bookshop Book is a love letter to bookshops all around the world.”

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The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell

The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell on Amazon

You wouldn’t think that the journals of a bookseller would be so comedic, but The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell is laugh-out-loud-funny. The owner of a used bookstore, appropriately called The Book Shop, Shaun’s story takes place in Wigtown, Scotland.

This rural town was the first of the forty-some odd “Book Towns” compiled into the book of the same name, above. Bythell dishes on how he buys books, how he makes his old-fashioned business thrive in the modern world, and more. The heart of the book is his the hilarious interactions with staff and customers, adding up to an entertaining romp for book nerds.

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The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells

The Library - A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells

The Library by Stuart Kells on Amazon

“Ancient libraries, grand baroque libraries, scientific libraries, memorial libraries, personal libraries, clandestine libraries: Stuart Kells tells the stories of their creators, their prizes, their secrets, and their fate.

To research this book, Kells traveled around the world with his young family like modern-day ‘Library Tourists.’” So states the description of this book that will surely thrill devoted library lovers.

The Library is a celebration of libraries as places of wonder, and of the physical book as a thing of beauty. And it explores the human element, the very thing that has made libraries enduring institutions in a rapidly changing world.

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The Library Book by Susan Orlean

The Library Book Susan Orlean

The Library Book by Susan Orlean on Amazon

Susan Orlean has created a wondrous love letter to libraries. From Amazon: “Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter and New York Times bestselling author Susan Orlean delivers a mesmerizing and uniquely compelling book that manages to tell the broader story of libraries and librarians in a way that has never been done before …

Brimming with her signature wit, insight, compassion, and talent for deep research, The Library Book is Susan Orlean’s thrilling journey through the stacks that reveals how these beloved institutions provide much more than just books—and why they remain an essential part of the heart, mind, and soul of our country. It is also a master journalist’s reminder that, perhaps especially in the digital era, they are more necessary than ever.”

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