20+ Fiction Books About Books or Reading

You know what’s fun as a reader?

A book that fully embraces the world of books and reading.

Each of these books takes you along with a character who loves books, works in publishing or as an author, or uses well-known books as jumping off points for their own story.

It’s just so fun to see references to beloved books appear in the storyline or see your own book love reflected back to you in the pages of these books.

A few years ago, I did a blog post about my favorite non-fiction books about books and reading and I’m so happy to finally have a companion post that includes my favorite FICTION books about books and reading!

books about books

20+ Fiction Books About books or reading

Books for Adults

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay
Samantha is a very bookish twenty-three year old whose only friends are the characters in her beloved books. Her life takes a mysterious turn when she gets a letter and a scholarship from an unknown Mr Knightley. She begins a pen pal relationship with her questionable benefactor and learns a lot about herself, trust and relationships. This one is fun and sweet.

 

The Jane Austen Society by Natalie Jenner
I won’t lie, Jane Austen-related titles do not usually compel me. But then I was completely drawn into this story of six people drawn together by their shared love of Jane Austen. It takes place just after the close of World War II and the characters range from a widowed doctor to a Hollywood movie star. Did I shed a few tears in the closing chapters? I might have. But I’ll never tell.

 

Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
This epistolary novel (all written in letters) is a delightful WWII novel about a group of book lovers thrown together by the war and their letters to each other that often end up being about their favorite books – my mom gave me a copy years ago when it first came out and I’ve read it multiple times. The audiobook version has a full cast that really brings it to life because the characters are SUCH big parts of the story! (Full review here)

 

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is absolutely stunning – it’s a young adult book about an orphan girl who teaches herself how to read from stolen books and the story is brilliantly narrated by Death (I know it sounds weird but it works incredibly well). One of the best books I’ve read. (Full review here)

 

 

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill by Abbi Waxman
If books are your love language, this book about Nina, who works in a bookstore and lives a solitary life, is for you! Her whole world is turned upside down when the father she never knew dies and she suddenly discovers a large family she didn’t know existed. Is there life beyond her bookshelves or is it better to stay home and read?

 

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
Finlay Donovan is having a rough go of it – her husband left her for another woman, she’s struggling to financially support her two young children, and the book she’s supposed to be turning into her editor is basically non-existent. Then someone overhears a conversation she’s having and mistakes her for a hit-woman and offers her an enormous sum to take care of a troublesome husband. The money would go a looooong way. . . .but she’s not going to kill someone. Right? The sequel is equally delightful and I’m looking forward to the third one next year!

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
This bestseller was one of the first books I read after I finished my undergrad degree and started reading in earnest again. It definitely has that Gothic feel to it and so many unexpected twists. Vera Winter is a famous novelist and has never told the real story about her life until her death is approaching and she asks a young woman she doesn’t know to be the one to write her real biography. (Full Review here)

 

Thank You For Listening by Julia Whelan
I LOVE Julia Whelan’s audiobook narration and her new book that she wrote (and narrated!) has been all over the charts this summer. This book is especially fun because it’s all about the world of audiobook narrating. The main character, Sewanee, used to be an actress, but now she has moved into audiobook narrating. She got her start in romance novels which she’s decided to leave that behind her, but she gets roped into doing one last romance project. This final project ends up being with the most popular male audiobook narrator of the romance genre, Brock McKnight. You will definitely want to listen to this one on audio! Heads up for one brief open door scene.

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
I got The Giver of Stars in my Book of the Month Club subscription and it was a huge hit in the 2021 Everyday Reading Book Club last year! It follows five women during the Depression who are part of the delivery system for Eleanor Roosevelt’s traveling library program. I mean. . . .how could I resist? (Full review here)

 

Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
This was one of the 2022 Everyday Reading Book Club books and I loved revisiting it (I first read it in 2014 when it came out)! A grumpy bookshop owner is losing money, has his rarest book stolen, and then finds a baby left on his doorstep. Every thing looks pretty terrible, but it’s actually the start of every good new thing in his life. This book is a reader’s DELIGHT. (Full review here)

 

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
I read this one right when it first came out and despite my vampire fatigue at the time, this one was a delightful romp through history, libraries, and magical books. The heroine is Diana Bishop, a young scholar who also happens to be descended from al ine of witches. In the course of her research, she accidentally discovers a long-lost (and magical) manuscript that summons a fantastical underworld she finds herself navigating alongside a vampire. 

 

Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Fantasy is not my genre of choice but I like to push myself occasionally to read things outside my normal reading comfort zone. This is worth the push. Elisabeth is an apprentice librarian at the Great Library, where her task is to keep an eye on the grimoires, books that are living and breathing. If these books are made angry, they’ll transform into monsters. When an attack sets the most dangerous grimoire loose, she will uncover a plot that threatens the entire kingdom that no one may be able to conquer. (Full review here)

P.S. When I asked for book recommendations along these lines, by FAR the most recommended title was Book Lovers by Emily Henry. I read it when it came out this year but it’s more steamy than books that I’m comfortable recommending. If you don’t mind a couple open door scenes, it’s wildly popular, and I knew if I DIDN’T mention it here, I’d get a million comments suggesting it, since fully 50% off the recommendations were for this book:

Book Lovers by Emily Henry
Nora is a cutthroat literary agent in New York City. When her little sister Libby begs her for a girls’ trip to which Nora grudgingly agrees and they find themself in the small town of Sunshine Falls, North Carolina. It isn’t the laid back trip she thinks it will be because she keeps running into the handsome, but unpleasant Charlie Lastra, a brooding book editor she knows from back in New York. Their repeated encounters go from unpleasant to something a little. . . more pleasant.

 

Children’s Books

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
If I was forced to choose one favorite book, I think it’d be this one. I just LOVE this middle grade about a boy suffering through his seventh grade year. The Vietnam War is raging and his home life is a complicated by his ambitious father and his teenage sister, but the worst thing is that every Wednesday every other student goes to religious education and he has to stay in the classroom and study Shakespeare with his teacher. This book is funny, smart, and 100% fantastic. (Full review here)

 

The Bookwanderers by Anna James, illustrated by Paola Escobar

Tilly Pages loves her grandparents’ bookshop and finds great comfort among the shelves and stores housed there. When her favorite book characters Alice from Wonderland and Anne of Green Gables start showing up at the shop she finds that not only can they wander into her world, she can go into theirs. This is exciting, but there can also be danger lurking at every page turn.

 

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

I read this book after my younger brother had mentioned it to me while on vacation. For some reason, I expected it to be about dragons (hint: it’s not), but even without dragons this book is quite good. Meggie lives with her father, Mo, who is a book binder by trade and particularly skilled at bringing ancient and tattered books back to their former glory. After receiving a strange visitor and a whispered conversation, Mo and Meggie set out on an adventure. The second half of this book was especially gripping! (Full review here)

 

Matilda by Roald Dahl
Bart read this one aloud to Ella when she was about four and a half, and they both loved it. It was one of my childhood favorites too, about a little girl who loves to read and finds herself at odds with her television loving family, not to mention the awful headmistress at her school. 

 

 

Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson, illustrated by Hayley Lazo

This is one of those books I meant to read for years, and I’m so glad I finally did! Alcatraz is an unhappy foster kid shuffled from house to house. He has a troublesome habit of leaving things around him completely destroyed. His previously unknown grandfather shows up and tells him the world isn’t what it seems and that it is actually controlled by a group of evil librarians. This is a quick read with a fun sense of humor and great characters. This is the first of a five book series. (Full review here)

 

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
This is one of those middle grade novels that took the world by storm – it has been SO popular and for good reason. Mr. Lemoncello is a world-famous game maker AND he’s designed the new city library. And on opening night, there will be a lock-in for kids where they have to solve the puzzles to find the hidden escape route. (You can see why it spent 100 weeks on the NYT Bestseller List). (Full review here)

 

Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg
This one was on my list to read with the girls since January and I grabbed it on audio when we went to Las Vegas for a summer trip. It’s set during the Great Depression and Trip’s family has moved to Alaska as part of FDR’s New Deal projects. The whole family is settling in to their new home except Trip’s mother. Can Trip convince her that Alaska is the place to be?  (The audiobook is narrated by the same narrator as The Penderwicks, so my girls were immediately on board!)

 

A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
This historical fiction title absolutely charmed me and it’s been one of my favorite read-alouds in the past couple of years. When three young children lose their grandmother during WWII, they find themselves orphans with no place to go. Until their grandmother’s lawyer suggests that they go to the English countryside with all the children being shipped out of the city for safety and see if they can’t find a temporary family to take them in and cross their fingers that it might turn into a permanent situation. 

 

And if you’d like a printable copy of this Books About Books & Reading list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!

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One Comment

  1. Lots of good ones on this list! I’d add 84, Charing Cross Road! It’s only about 100 pages, so you can sit down and read it in an afternoon.

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