Wednesday, 20 August 2014

About books about books

I sound like a broken record? No, no (well, sometimes... “chocolate, chocolate, chocolate...”) - I mean books that are about books, books where an important role is played by books. These stories may be about a specific book or books in general; reading books, writing books, selling books, buying books, loving books... but most of such stories aren't just about books, they are also about stories, knowledge, imagination – and where those can take you or how they can change the world.

Here are some examples of books about books - I've only included books that I've read. Some I've loved, others... not so much.

“The Shadow of the Wind” and “The Angel's Game” by Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Book dealers and mysterious books, writers (rather mysterious, too) and the Cemetery of Forgotten Books.

“Under Heaven” by Guy Gavriel Kay. Okay, technically not about books, but poetry does play an important role in this one (and it is beautiful).

“The Eyre Affair” by Jasper Fforde. Special Operatives in literary fiction. Literary homicides. People who get (literally!) lost in books or poems.

“Tathea” by Anne Perry. A Book of Truth. Not this book but in this book.

“Northanger Abbey” by Jane Austen. A parody of Gothic romances and a heroine who loves them... over-romaticizing and confusing art with life – sound familiar? ;)

“Where the Shadows Lie” by Michael Ridpath. Long lost Sagas and Tolkien references.

“The Princess Bride” by William Goldman. A story about a story about a story... no, wait...

“A Discovery of Witches” by Deborah Harkness. An enchanted alchemical manuscript (plus public and private libraries).

“The Name of the Rose” by Umberto Eco. An abbey library and manuscript scribbling monks.

“The Time Traveler's Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger. There's a library and there's time travel. I repeat: time travel!

“Ilkeät sisarpuolet” by Kaari Utrio. An owner of a printing press in the Finland of 1827 – and famous figures from the history of Finnish literature.

And then there are, of course, numerous adaptations of well-known novels, such as “My Mr. Rochester” and “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” etc. which are also about books, or characters from those books. Not to forget companion books to novels or series of novels, definitely also books about books.

So, yes, I love books, I love reading... naturally, I love reading about books, and I'd assume just about every book lover feels the same way. And authors, too – why else would they write books about books? This was just a brief look at such books, so if you'd like to recommend one (or more!), you're welcome to leave a comment.

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