Some of my favorite books to read are ones in which the characters have an appreciation for books or in which books play a key role in a character’s life. And I love literary settings! It is obvious to me when reading if a writer has a real appreciation for books and isn’t just trying to sell copies. These are the books I love most because I feel a connection with the author and ultimately with the characters and the story. Below I have highlighted some books with literary settings or in which books play an important part of the story.
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
I loved this story about A.J. Fikry, a man who is rather unlikeable at first. He owns a bookstore on a little island called Alice Island. He lives alone and is rather grumpy until a surprise package shows up on his bookstore doorstep one day and changes his life forever. I loved this book! It was actually the very first book review I wrote when I started the Kait’s Bookshelf blog last year. If you’d like to go back and read it, you can find it here.
The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George
If you like books about books, books set in France, or tragically romantic reads, then you need to read The Little Paris Bookshop. Monsieur Perdu prescribes books to people like doctors prescribe medication. Read this for a broken heart, read that to lift your spirits…His literary apothecary is a floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine. One day, realizing that what he needs cannot be cured by a book, he pulls anchor and takes off to find and reconnect with his long lost love, who disappeared a long time ago, never saying goodbye. Monsieur Perdu sets off on a journey to find closure and peace, dispensing books and healing souls along the way. I look forward to re-reading this book someday. If you’d like to read my review, you can find it here.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
This book is set during WWII in Germany, where we meet young Liesel, who has lost everything due to the war, even her mother and baby brother. She is taken in by a husband and wife and they struggle to survive in Hitler’s Germany. Amidst all the tragedy and violence, Liesel learns to find comfort and a certain freedom in books. I highly recommend this book, especially if you enjoy reading works set during WWII. If you missed my review of this beautiful book, you can read it here.
The Story Thieves by James Riley
This is a book for young readers. I purchased this a while ago and hope to finally read it this fall. It is an adventure story in which Owen gets the chance to star in his favorite book series…by literally jumping into the book. When Owen finds his classmate, Bethany, climbing out of a book in the library, she shares her secret with him – she is half fictional and her father, a fictional character, is stuck inside a book. Bethany keeps searching books trying to find him. In exchange for keeping her secret, Owen asks Bethany to take him into his favorite adventure series. What could go wrong? What indeed…I can’t wait to read this first adventure in the Story Thieves series!
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
This was a fun middle grade read! Mr. Lemoncello is reminiscent of Willy Wonka in that he loves games, puzzles, and learning. When he opens a new library, he invites a few lucky kids to a library lock-in in which they must solve Mr. Lemoncello’s clues and puzzles in order to find their way out. This book was full of trivia and fun games and pranks. I’d recommend it to fans of Willy Wonka and the Wayside School books.
Well, that’s my list. Do you enjoy reading books in which books, bookshops, or libraries play a prominent role? What are some of your favorite books with a literary setting?