10 books... about books!

What better way to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week than by delving into stories which are as obsessed with books and bookshops as we are?

Whether they're set in bookshops, feature a book-within-a-book or are just generally about the overall awesomeness of books, these are all brilliant reads for booklovers.

The Blind Assassin

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood

Perhaps one of our age’s most beloved authors, Atwood pulls out all the stops in this dazzling novel about two sisters and the book which mirrors – and reveals – their lives. Even the novel’s book-within-a-book has a book within it!

Lost for Words

Lost for Words by Stephanie Butland

Loveday Cardew prefers books to people; for her, working in an independent bookshop is as much a refuge as it is a job. But someone knows about her dark past, and is trying to send her a message. This is a delight for booklovers while packing an emotional punch.

The Bookshop Book

The Bookshop Book by Jen Campbell

If Jen Campbell’s first book, Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops, was a celebration of booksellers, her second is a love letter to the bookshops where they work. From the world’s smallest bookshops to its oldest, from bookshops on boats to booksellers on mountains, Jen tells their stories – and the stories of the books they sell, and the people they sell them to – in these pages.


Matilda by Roald Dahl

Everyone’s favourite young bookworm, Matilda, discovers some special powers which come in rather handy when it comes to beating the bad guys. Think of it as a more innocent precursor to Stephen King’s Carrie (more books, less horrific prom scenes). Perfect for younger readers and well worth a revisit for us older ones.

The Bookshop

The Bookshop by Penelope Fitzgerald

Widowed Florence Green opens a bookshop in a seaside town in the 1950s, only to discover that her venture isn’t welcomed by everyone in the community – on top of which, her shop appears to be haunted. Fitzgerald exposes brilliantly the simultaneous pettiness and humanity of small communities in this Man Booker-nominated novella.

The Eyre Affair

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde

If you haven’t yet discovered the delights of Jasper Fforde, you’re in for a treat. Part crime, part fantasy, 100% bonkers, this first book in the series is set in an alternative 1985 where the Crimean War is still raging and there’s a branch of the police dedicated to literary crimes. Enter our hero, Thursday Next, who is saved from a bullet by a copy of Jane Eyre before finding herself literally pulled into the novel in pursuit of the nefarious Acheron Hades.

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

Who among us hasn’t hoped to stumble upon a 500-year-old secret society behind the façade or our local bookshop? This genre-busting book takes the mystique of the old-world print bookshop and the brave new world of literary technology and mixes them up into a thrilling concoction of sci-fi, mystery and lots of downright book geekiness.

Tony & Susan

Tony & Susan by Austin Wright

You may have heard of this 1993 American novel without realising it. Released as an award-winning film last year, the screenplay was actually called Nocturnal Animals after the novel’s disturbing book-within-a-book about a mild-mannered mathematician who witnesses a horrific attack on his family. It makes for uncomfortable reading, but this expertly-crafted book raises all kinds of questions about the relationship between a writer and his or her reader.

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Any novel that begins with something as evocative as a ‘Cemetery for Forgotten Books’ sounds good to us. This is where the novel’s protagonist, Daniel, is taken to choose one book which he must protect for the rest of his life. Daniel chooses The Shadow of the Wind, but when he tries to find any of the author’s other books he discovers that none exist thanks to a mysterious man who seeks out and burns any copies. This literary thriller with its own story-within-a-story was a worldwide bestseller, enchanting booklovers everywhere.

The Book Thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Another worldwide bestseller which was adapted into a film, this historical novel captured the imagination of booklovers with its evocative depiction of Nazi Germany, its enduring protagonist – 14-year-old Liesel – and its message of the power of stories.

Is there a book which turned you into an avid reader? Or just a book which reminds you how much you love reading?

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