Books About Books

Today’s question on Booking Through Thursday is all about Niche books. “There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)
But then there are books that only YOU read. Instructional manuals for fly-fishing. How-to books for spinning yarn. How to cook the perfect soufflé, rebuilding car engines in three easy steps. Dog training for dummies. Rewiring your house without electrocuting yourself. Tips on how to build a NASCAR course in your backyard. Stuff like that.
What niche books do YOU read?”

I have to say in all honesty that none of the above appeal to me and nor do niche books in general. I don’t really do D.I.Y when generally simply phoning the landlord gets everything done, but maybe when I finally buy a house (with a library) of my very own then I will. I am not really a big arts and crafts person, though I think I have an inner ‘knitter’ screaming to get out of me. I do have quite a few cookery books if that counts though?

If there were to be two types of ‘niche books’ that I do buy the first would be books on ghosts. Seriously, I have a whole shelf devoted to them. In fact when I get home later I will try and remember to take a photo of said shelf for proof. I tend to buy older dustier copies of these as they seem a bit spookier, though you may notice the odd ‘Most Haunted’ book thrown in the mix.

However the ‘niche’ books that I have only a few of and would love to have many, many more of are… books about books and books about reading books.

The only thing is they seem to be few and far between. I have read ‘The Book Club Bible’ collated by Lionel Shriver and Sara Nelson’s ‘So Many Books So Little Time’, I also have ’84 Charing Cross Road’ by Helene Hanff and ‘Reading Lolita In Tehran: A Memoir of Books’ by Azar Nafisi high up on my TBR piles. But I need more for the future to make a collection and so I need suggestions from all of you of books about books that frankly I simply must own. I look forward to your suggestions…


Filed under Books About Books

14 responses to “Books About Books

  1. farmlanebooks

    I have never heard of The Book club Bible. I think I'll have to search that one out.

    I wasn't a big ran of Reading Lolita in Tehran. In fact I didn't finish it. That could be because I have never read Lolita and so the literary references (there were lots) were just lost on me.

  2. Shari

    I like books about books too! Try "Reading Like a Writer" – Francine Prose (sp??) – even if you are not a writer, it makes you stop and consider how authors create sentences, right down to choice of words. Also try reading "The Great Books" -not sure who the author is, (might be Anthony O'hear)but the book traces the history of western literature, from Homer through to Goethe, and gives a brief description of the works themselves, and analyses the author's contribution to literature. Very interesting, not necessarily a fantastic read, but will inspire you to go out and read all these great works for yourself

  3. verity

    Jeremy Mercer's Books, Baguettes and Bedbugs is a good book about a bookshop…also the later volumes of Christopher Milne's autobiography are about his experiences running bookshops. All recommended.

    (I've just got the latest book by Nafisi, and will be interested to see how it compares).

  4. Teresa

    I love books about books, even though they are hazardous to the health of my TBR pile. Two favorites that I recommend are Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman and Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda.

  5. gautami tripathy

    I too like books about books. A hazard but well worth it!

    Booking through niche

  6. Jacqueline C

    I've heard good things about the Nafisi book. Here are mine: (1) and (2)

  7. karen!

    I'm so enjoying looking at all the responses to this question.
    If you decide to channel your inner knitter, you should check out It's a fantastic site: part social networking, part super yarn/pattern database.

  8. Jeane

    I love books about books, too, although I haven't read that many. Nick Hornby's The Polysyllabic Spree or Housekeeping vs the Dirt, Ex Libris by Anne Fadiman,
    The Care and Feeding of Books Old and New by Rosenberg and Library An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles. I've enjoyed all of those.

  9. JoAnn

    I forgot to list books about books in my answer! I'll recommend The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee.

  10. Heather

    That's my niche too. I loved Thirteen Ways of Looking at the Novel (Jane Smiley), How to Read Literature Like a Professor (Thomas C. Foster), and Why We Read What We Read (Lisa Adams and John Heath).

  11. Heather

    I also forgot the recently released Beowulf on the Beach by Jack Murnighan. Good read.

  12. Kerri

    Ghost books! That is a great niche.

    My BTT is here

  13. Moo

    Hey that's my niche too. Here are some that I liked: Fiction- The Muse Asylum by David Czuchlewski, Club Duma by Arturo Perez-Reverte, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino and the Cliff Janeway mysteries by John Dunning. Non-fiction: Gentle Madness by Nicholas Basbanes, Used and Rare by Lawrence Goldstone, and Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles. If you are looking for more ideas check out the books about books tag at librarything.

  14. Robin of My Two Blessings

    I not big with arts and crafts stuff, nor diy. The ghost books sound interesting though. I'll have to check out the Book Club Bible.

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