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Friday, February 5, 2016

Biblionovels

Lovers of reading tend to like biblionovels, novels which have a bibliophilic theme or main character.  Many are set in bookstores or libraries.  Some readers would argue that the only thing better than reading books is reading books about books!  I perused Schatje’s Shelves and found 15 authors who have written biblionovels.

Alan Bennett’s The Uncommon Reader sends Queen Elizabeth II into a mobile library van in pursuit of her runaway corgis and into the reflective, observant life of an avid reader.

Katarina Bivald’s The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend features a Swedish former bookstore employee opening a bookstore in Iowa

Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 is probably the biblionovel that springs to most peoples' minds, a futuristic fantasy-noir in which books are verboten, but so beloved that people memorize their favorites and recite them underground.

Geraldine Brooks’ The People of the Book is a traipse through European, African and Middle Eastern history as one follows the detective work of a book conservator and her research on the illuminated Sarajevo Haggadah. 

A.S. Byatt’s Possession is a great literary puzzle wrapped inside a passionate romance between bibliophiles that shifts between present day and Victorian London.

John Dunning’s Booked to Die, the first of the Cliff Janeway series, has the Denver police detective turned book scout finding an underpriced literary treasure at every single thrift shop and garage sale. Unfortunately, the later books in the series focus less on his book finds and more on shoot 'em up chase scenes with villains.

Nina George’s The Little Paris Bookshop has a literary apothecary working from a floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, telling readers the exact book which will ease the hardships in their life.

Helene Hanff’s 84, Charing Cross Road and its sequel, The Duchess of Bloomsbury Street, are about a long distance friendship between a New Yorker and the head buyer of a secondhand bookstore in London.

Bill Richardson’s Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast and its sequel Bachelor Brothers’ Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book are cozy reads about two eccentric twin brothers, Virgil and Hector, who run a bed and breakfast for bibliophiles.

Diane Setterfield’s The Thirteenth Tale has a reclusive, best-selling English author relating her autobiography to a young antiquarian bookshop assistant.   The book is a Gothic-tinged story with snippets of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre woven throughout. 

Mary Ann Schaffer and Annie Barrows wrote The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society, an epistolary novel about the power of books, loyalty and friendship during the German occupation of this Channel Island during World War II.

Dai Sijie’s Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress has the transformative power of reading at the centre of this semi-autobiographical novel of two young Chinese men sent for "re-education" in a remote Chinese mountain village in the late 1960s.

Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s Shadow of the Wind has an antiquarian book dealer's son finding solace in reading a book by Julian Carax.  But when he seeks out other Carax titles, he finds that someone has been systematically destroying all copies of the author's work.

Gabrielle Zevin’s The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry has a widowed owner of a bookstore on a Martha's Vineyard-like island whose life is changed forever by a publisher's rep and a baby on the doorstep.

Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief is about Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich in 1939. She steals books. With the help of her foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbours during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement.


There are a number of websites where you can find other titles: