The heroine of Reay's third novel is Lucy Alling, a Chicago girl who makes her living selling rare books. She's been using suspicious methods to boost her sales, and when that comes to light it ruins her relationship with her boss and her boyfriend. But Lucy gets an unusual shot at redemption, which takes the form of a literary tour of Europe, including a stop at Haworth, the Brontë sisters family home, where things come to a head.
Iris’s grandmother wrote the famous high-fantasy Elementia series but Iris wants nothing to do with it. She’s never read the books and she barely even met her grandmother but that doesn’t stop the trilogy’s fans from wanting a piece of her and her family. Iris fears what the fandom is capable of—and that’s before the movie adaptation begins filming. But when Iris tries to shut down the production, she learns she doesn’t have the story quite right. A fun light-hearted read!
Carrie McClelland is an author looking for her next story when she ventures to Scotland. She settles near the ruins of Slains Castle to write, drawing inspiration from her own family history and the events of the Jacobite uprising. With parallel storylines in the 1700’s and present day, a romantic subplot, and paranormal elements, it’s no surprise that readers recommend Kearsley as an author worth binge reading. If you love The Winter Sea and want more, pick up the sequel, The Firebird.
- by Laini Taylor
Junior librarian Lazlo Strange loves getting lost in the pages of a book, especially when it’s about Weep, a city he's never seen but has heard stories about since childhood. And it is this love of reading and learning that will propel him on the adventure of a lifetime. Laini Taylor's love of books and libraries permeates the pages of this YA Fantasy.
This dystopian novel is set in the not-too-distant future, when print is dead and and much of the population relies on implantable devices called "memes" to consume information and communicate with each other. That sounds unsettling enough, but things get really scary when a virulent "word flu" is unleashed upon the population: the infected lose their ability to produce or understand speech. Much of this book is written in the form of diary entries that the characters write in their efforts to first fight off, and then recover from, the linguistic illness. A fun ride from start to finish.
- by Helene Hanff
This is the true story of the twenty-year relationship between a New York writer and a gentlemanly London bookseller, as told through their correspondence. A must-read classic for bibliophiles, you'll feel compelled to discuss the heartwarming way books bring people together with all your book-loving buddies. If you're craving a gentle, warm, and witty read, this short book belongs on your nightstand.
This 2006 mystery, set firmly in the tradition of Gothic greats like Jane Eyre, kept me guessing from start to finish. The premise is intriguing (and you may find yourself a little bit envious of the narrator's bookish existence). A little dark and deliciously creepy, perfect for curling up with on a cold winter's day. Take note: a few unsettling scenes if you're a sensitive sort. (I am.)
This is the story of an endearingly cranky bookseller and how his life changed when an unexpected package showed up at his bookshop. For devoted readers, this book is a wonderful reminder of the power of books, and how they can bring people together. But be warned: this book can explode your to-be-read list. At the beginning of each chapter, the narrator recommends a book—or sometimes, a short story—to his daughter, describing what it’s about and why she’ll enjoy it. (He’s a bookseller: he can’t help himself.)
- by Jenny Colgan
I read the publisher's description on this and almost died: "Nina Redmond is a literary matchmaker. Pairing a reader with that perfect book is her passion… and also her job. Or at least it was. Until yesterday, she was a librarian in the hectic city. But now the job she loved is no more." When Nina's job as a British librarian is cut due to budget deficits, she takes a leap of faith and opens a bookmobile in a tiny Scottish town. Though it's not a bargain basement price, I couldn't resist reading this again just before my trip to Scotland. The bookmobile and its treasures transforms one townsperson at a time and Nina's life is revitalized as well. Now that's the power of a good book!
Helen McGill doesn't realize she's teetering on the verge of a midlife crisis until the professor rolls into town. He wants to sell her brother Parnassus—his traveling bookstore on (wagon) wheels. Helen falls in love with the idea of traveling through upstate New York, matching book-deprived readers with the right books, and she buys Parnassus herself. Adventures ensue. For fans of Miss Pettigrew (another terrific beach read). Essential reading for book lovers, and anyone who believes that when you sell a man a book, you sell him a whole new life.
This atmospheric novel is built around a literary mystery: who is Julián Carax, and why is someone systematically burning his books? After I got oriented I couldn't turn the pages fast enough: I loved the post-war Barcelona setting, the rich cast of characters, and the surprising twists and turns the story took. The plot description reminds me of personal favorites The Thirteenth Tale and The Distant Hours. From Entertainment Weekly: "Wonderous... masterful... The Shadow of the Wind is ultimately a love letter to literature, intended for readers as passionate about storytelling as its young hero." This is a lifetime favorite of several readers I know with great taste.
- by Rachel Caine
From the publisher: "In an exhilarating new series, New York Times bestselling author Rachel Caine rewrites history, creating a dangerous world where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived the test of time... Ruthless and supremely powerful, the Great Library is now a presence in every major city, governing the flow of knowledge to the masses. Alchemy allows the Library to deliver the content of the greatest works of history instantly—but the personal ownership of books is expressly forbidden. Jess Brightwell believes in the value of the Library, but when he inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world, Jess discovers that those who control the Great Library believe that knowledge is more valuable than any human life." Add Audible narration for $3.99.
Who really wrote Pride and Prejudice? That mystery drives this literary thriller, which plunges the reader into the world of first editions, secondhand books, and zealous collectors. When a young librarian discovers a document that casts doubt on Austen’s authorship of Pride and Prejudice, she struggles to clear her beloved author of plagiarist charges before it’s too late. Lovett flips back and forth between the time when Jane was writing her best-known story and today’s desperate race to prove her innocence. Lovett’s love of books permeates every page. Farfetched? Of course, but piles (stacks?) of fun for booklovers. If you love this, go back and read Lovett's fantastic debut The Bookman's Tale.
If you love a good literary mystery, this one's for you. This is the first in a series that follows the adventures of a librarian spy. Twinges of fantasy meet a page-turner. Irene is no ordinary librarian, and her employer is no ordinary library—she works for The Library. This library doesn't exist just in one world, it exists across space. Her job is to chase down unique works of fiction across alternate realities to keep these books safe. Her latest mission is to venture into a kind of steampunk London to recover a copy of a very dangerous and powerful book by the German brothers Grimm. When she gets to the place and time, the book is gone and other dangerous spies are hotly pursuing it. It reminds me of Neil Gaiman or <a href=https://modernmrsdarcy.com/authors/jasper-fforde/>Jasper Fforde</a>. This is not high literature, but it's a really fun book. These would make a great binge read. From Library Journal: “Bibliophiles will go wild for this engaging debut, as Cogman hits all the high notes for enjoyable fantasy. Intriguing characters and fast-paced action are wrapped up in a spellbinding, well-built world." I recommended this to Mel Joulwan on WSIRN episode 60.
Emilia returns to her hometown after the death of her father in order to run his business: Nightingale Books. You’ll love learning how Julian came to open the bookstore and the way Emilia essentially grew up in the bookshop. You also get to know some of the villager's stories and what the bookstore means to them. Reviewers repeatedly compare this to Maeve Binchy. Words like "charming" and "delightful" keep cropping up.
- by Kate Morton
This Gothic mystery is slow to build but those who persevere will be rewarded. The plot flips back and forth between World War II and the 1990s, but not in the way you'd expect. The setting is a crumbling old castle, which contributes to the story's creepy (but not quite scary) feel. Some readers think this is Morton's best work.
- by Robin Sloan
Harry Potter meets National Treasure. This fast-paced book is mystery, quest, and love letter to the written word, all rolled into one. In this rip-roaring adventure, the best secrets are hidden in plain sight, in the ancient volumes of a magical bookstore. It’s not technically brilliant, but plenty readable, engaging, and just plain fun. Book nerds, beware: you’ll want to climb Mr. Penumbra’s ladders and browse his shelves. Warm, friendly, and smart—and the cover glows in the dark. That’s hard to beat.