I work in a bookstore, so it’s pretty safe to say that I love books. I’m not obsessed with books like some people I have met, but I do really love a great book… especially when it’s a book about books. I think that anyone who really loves books gets a bit of a thrill from when reading about other bibliophiles.
Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve: What the Numbers Reveal About the Classics, Bestsellers, and Our Own Writing by Ben Blatt – This book is full of fascinating statistics about words and how they are put together by their authors. Does Stephen King follow his own rules of writing? Can you tell what an author’s favourite colour is based on how often it shows up in their writing? Do all classics follow the same mysterious code that makes them lasting works while others are left forgotten?
Synopsis: In Nabokov’s Favorite Word Is Mauve, statistician and journalist Ben Blatt brings big data to the literary canon, exploring the wealth of fun findings that remain hidden in the works of the world’s greatest writers. He assembles a database of thousands of books and hundreds of millions of words, and starts asking the questions that have intrigued curious word nerds and book lovers for generations: What are our favorite authors’ favorite words? Do men and women write differently? Are bestsellers getting dumber over time? Which bestselling writer uses the most clichés? What makes a great opening sentence? How can we judge a book by its cover? And which writerly advice is worth following or ignoring?
I Work at a Public Library: A Collection of Crazy Stories from the Stacks by Gina Sheridan – People are weird. And many of the people who frequent public libraries are weirder than most. These stories will make you laugh, cringe, and appreciate your local librarian just a little bit more than you already do.
Synopsis: From a patron’s missing wetsuit to the scent of crab cakes wafting through the stacks, I Work at a Public Library showcases the oddities that have come across Gina Sheridan’s circulation desk. Throughout these pages, she catalogs her encounters with local eccentrics as well as the questions that plague her, such as, “What is the standard length of eyebrow hairs?” Whether she’s helping someone scan his face onto an online dating site or explaining why the library doesn’t have any dragon autobiographies, Sheridan’s bizarre tales prove that she’s truly seen it all.
The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel – Sometimes I just want to read a fun mystery that isn’t too dark, but keeps me guessing “who-done-it”. Fans of Agatha Christie will really enjoy this book, and will likely want to start their own “Agathas” book club after.
Synopsis: In a charming cozy mystery series debut, Leslie Nagel’s irrepressible small-town heroine finds that her fellow mystery book club members may be taking their Agatha Christie a bit too literally—and murder a bit too lightly.
The Moment of Everything by Shelly King – Whenever I buy a used book I secretly hope that I’m going to find something special inside. Whether it’s a bookmark, or maybe notes in the margins, I have this desire to connect with the people who once touched those pages.
Synopsis: Maggie Duprès is whiling away her days in The Dragonfly’s Used Books, but jumps at the opportunity to network at a Bay Area book club, even if it means having to read Lady Chatterley’s Lover. The edition she finds at the bookstore is an ancient hardcover with notes in the margins between two besotted lovers of long ago. What Maggie finds in her search for the lovers and their fate, and what she learns about herself in the process, will surprise and move readers.
The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – For fans of sci-fi/fantasy, the Invisible Library is a dream come true. Imagine infinite alternate universes, connected by a magical library that is run by dragons and staffed by librarians who travel between these worlds to save unique books before they are lost or destroyed.
Synopsis: Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, which harvests fiction from different realities. And along with her enigmatic assistant Kai, she’s posted to an alternative London. Their mission – to retrieve a dangerous book. But when they arrive, it’s already been stolen. London’s underground factions seem prepared to fight to the very death to find her book.
Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine – On the opposite end of the spectrum, the Great Library is a place that hordes knowledge, destroying books they deem “dangerous” and only releasing information to the public that they approve.
Synopsis: 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 has gained most of his knowledge from illegal books obtained by his family, who have sent him to the library to be their spy, but his loyalties are tested in the final months of his training when his friend inadvertently commits heresy by creating a device that could change the world.
Here, There Be Dragons by James A. Owen – This series is one of my all-time booklover favourites. A magical land full of amazing creatures and incredible people who you know better as the characters from classic works of fiction like “Peter Pan” and “The Lord of the Rings” has been guarded for generations by groups of artistic and scientific greats.
Synopsis: An unusual murder brings together three strangers, John, Jack, and Charles, on a rainy night in London during the first World War. An eccentric little man called Bert tells them that they are now the caretakers of the Imaginarium Geographica — an atlas of all the lands that have ever existed in myth and legend, fable and fairy tale. These lands, Bert claims, can be traveled to in his ship the Indigo Dragon, one of only seven vessels that is able to cross the Frontier between worlds into the Archipelago of Dreams.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – There’s something so romantic about the idea of a floating library. I also love that the main character calls himself the Literary Apothecary, which is very similar to my own self-defined job title. This book is about heartbreak, the power of literature, love and friendship.
Synopsis: From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, Monsieur Perdu prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened, until now.
The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley – I absolutely adored the way that the inmates involved in these prison book clubs learned to love reading. Some of them could barely read when they started, and by the end of the book they were having in-depth conversations about the literary merits of great works of fiction.
Synopsis: The Prison Book Club follows six particularly involved book club members, who kept journals at Ann’s request and participated in candid one-on-one conversations. Graham the biker, Frank the gunman, Ben and Dread the Jamaicans, and the robber duo Gaston and Peter come to life as Ann reconciles her knowledge of their crimes with the individuals themselves, and follows their lives as they leave prison. And woven throughout is the determined and compassionate Carol Finlay, working tirelessly to expand her program across Canada and into the United States.
The books changed the men and the men changed Ann, allowing her to move beyond her position as a victim. She came to realize that given the choice, she’d forsake the company of her privileged friends and their comfortable book club, and make the two hour drive to Collins Bay.
I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora – I think that most readers have that one book that they wish everyone would read and love as much as they do (*cough* Long Way to a Small Angry Planet *cough cough*). These kids really go the extra mile to ensure that they create some hype around their favourite summer read.
Synopsis: When Lucy, Elena, and Michael receive their summer reading list, they are excited to see To Kill A Mockingbird included. But not everyone in their class shares the same enthusiasm. So they hatch a plot to get the entire town talking about the well-known Harper Lee classic. They plan controversial ways to get people to read the book, including re-shelving copies of the book in bookstores so that people think they are missing and starting a website committed to “destroying the mockingbird.” Their efforts are successful when all of the hullabaloo starts to direct more people to the book. But soon, their exploits start to spin out of control and they unwittingly start a mini-revolution in the name of books.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish