Books about Books: Nonfiction

Updated January 24, 2019

A work in progress. Additional suggestions are welcomed. 


All The Books of My Life by Sheila Kaye-Smith. Harper & Brothers, 1956.

Among the Gently Mad: Strategies and Perspectives for the Book Hunter in the 21st Century by Nicholas Basbanes. Henry Holt, 2002.

The Anatomy of Bibliomania by Jackson Holbrook. London: Soncino Press, 1930. Revised edition: Scribner’s Sons, 1932.

At Home with Books: How Book Lovers Live With and Care For Their Libraries by Estelle Evans (and others). Carol Southern Books, 1995.

How 40 bibliophiles cope with storing their stashes. With 350 full-color photographs, and a list of notable book shops and other suppliers of the book-centered home.

Ballads of Books edited by Andrew Lang. Longmans, Green, 1888.

Biblioholism: The Literary Addiction by Tom Raabe. Fulcrum Publishing, 1990.

Bibliomania; or Book Madness by Thomas Frognall Dibdin. London: Longman, Hurst, Rees & Orme, 1809; McCreery, 1811.

Bibliosophia, or Book Wisdom by James Beresford. London: William Miller, 1810.

Bibliotopia, or, Mr. Gilbar’s Book of Books & Catch-All of Literary Facts & Curiosities compiled by Steven Gilbar ; decorations by Elliott Banfield. David R. Godine, 2005.

A Book about Books by Frederick Harrison. London: John Murray, 1943.

A Book Addict’s Treasury by Julie Rugg and Linda Murphy. Frances Lincoln, 2006.

The Book Book by Steven Gilbar. Bell Publishing, 1985.

Book by Book: Notes on the Reading Life by Michael Dirda. Henry Holt, 2006.

The Book Fancier by Percy Fitzgerald. Sampson, Low, Marston, [no date].

Book Lovers’ London by Lesley Reader and Lesley Gilmour. Metro Publications, 2010 (4th edition).

Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl. Sasquatch Books, 2003.

More Book Lust: Recommended Reading for Every Mood, Moment, and Reason by Nancy Pearl. Sasquatch Books, 2005.

The Book of Literary Lists: A Collection of Annotated Lists, Statistics, and Anecdotes Concerning Books by Nicholas Parsons. Facts on File, 1987.

Several dozen “best books” lists by two dozen contributors are sprinkled throughout Parson’s entertaining, eclectic compendium. Parson includes the titles of the books most beloved by famous authors, including Henry Miller, Cyril Connolly, Anthony Burgess, Leo Tolstoy, Barbara Courtland, Quentin Crisp, Julius Norwich, and Jeffrey Archer. Also included: everything from “Arnold Bennet’s Choice of the Twelve Finest Novels in the World” to “Six of the Underrated Best” by Sir Michael Levey to “The Top 20 Translated Authors” to “Masterpieces Written in Prison.”

A Book of the Book edited by Jerome Rothenberg and Steven Clay. Granary Books, 2000.

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski. Knopf, 1999.

The Book Shopper: A Life in Review by Murray Browne. 2009.

The Book that Changed My Life: 71 Remarkable Writers Celebrate the Books that Matter Most to Them edited by Roxanne J. Coady and Joy Johannessen. Gotham Books, 2006.

Book Was There: Reading in Electronic Times by Andrew Piper. University of Chicago Press, 2012.

The Booklover’s Booklist. Abrams, 1986.

The Booklover’s Enchiridion by Alexander Ireland. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co., 1888.

Bookman’s Pleasure by Jackson Holbrook. Farrar, Straus & Co., 1947.

Books: A Living History by Martyn Lyons. Thames & Hudson, 2011.

Books: A Memoir by Larry McMurtry.  Simon & Schuster, 2008.

From the publisher’s description: “…McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely “bookless” world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America’s most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously “bookless” hometown of Archer City, Texas.”

Books: An Anthology (1968) compiled by James Thompson

Books and Authors (1923) by Robert Lynd

Books and the Man by John T. Winterich. Greenberg, 1929.

Books are Basic: The Essential Lawrence Clark Powell (1985)

Books as History by David Pearson. Oak Knoll Press, revised ed., 2011.

Books Do Furnish a Room by Leslie Geddes-Brown. Merrell, 2009.

Books in My Baggage: Adventures in Reading and Collecting by Lawrence Clark Powell. World Publishing, 1960.

The Books in My Life by Henry Miller. New Directions, 1952.

Books in the Renaissance by Andrew Pettegree. Yale University Press, 2010.

Books of the Century: A Hundred Years of Authors, Ideas, and Literature from The New York Times edited by Charles McGrath and the Staff of the Book Review. Times Books, 1998.

Books That Changed the World by Robert B. Downs. 1956.

Books That Changed America by Robert B. Downs.

Books That Changed Our Minds by Malcolm Cowley and Bernard Smith. 1938.

Essays on twelve books that influenced an entire field of thought.

Books That Made the Difference: What People Told Us by Gordon Sabine and Patricia Sabine. Shoe String Press, 1983.

What 1,382 Americans – famous and ordinary, from throughout the country and from all walks of life – answered when they were asked the two questions “What book made the biggest difference in your life?” and “What was that difference?”

Books: Their History, Art, Power, Glory, Infamy, and Suffering According to Their Creators, Friends, and Enemies by Gerald Donaldson. Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1981.

Bookworms: Great Writers and Readers Celebrate Reading by Laura Furman and Elinore Standard. Carroll & Graf, 1997.

Boullabaisse for Bibliophiles: A Treasury of Bookish Lore, Wit & Wisdom, Tales, Poetry & Narratives & Certain Curious Studies of Interest to Bookmen & Collectors by William Targ. Philip C. Duschnes, 1947.

Bound to Last: 30 Writers on Their Most Cherished Book edited by Sean Manning. Da Capo Press, 2010.

Browsings: A Year of Reading, Collecting, & Living with Books (2015)
by Michael Dirda

Carrousel for Bibliophiles edited by William Targ. Philip C. Duschnes, 1947.

Casanova Was a Book Lover: And Other Naked Truths and Provocative Curiosities about the Writing, Selling and Reading of Books by John Maxwell Hamilton. Louisiana State University Press, 2000.

The Case for Books: Past, Present, and Future by Robert Darnton. Public Affairs, 2010.

The City of Words by Alberto Manguel.

City Secrets Books: The Essential Insiders Guide edited by Robert Kahn. Universe, 2009.

Classics for Pleasure by Michael Dirda. Harcourt, 2007.

Comfort Found in Good Old Books by George Hamlin Fitch. Paul Elder & Co., 1911.

Crime and Mystery: The 100 Best Books by H.R. Keating. Carroll & Graf, 1987.

Dancing with Mrs. Dalloway:  Stories of Inspiration Behind Great Works of Literature by Celia Blue Johnson. Perigee, 2011.

Decorating with Books by Marie Proeller Hueston. House Beautiful / Hearst, 2006.

The Delightful Diversion by Reginald Brewer. Macmillan, 1935.

The Delights of Reading: Quotes, Notes & Anecdotes selected by Otto Bettmann. David R. Godine / Library of Congress Center for the Book, 1987.

A Dictionary of Literary Quotations compiled by Meic Stephens. Routledge, 1990.

The Diversions of a Bookworm by Rogers Rees. London: Elliot Stock, 1886.

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff. Grossman, 1970.

Everything Explained That Is Explainable: On the Creation of the ‘Encyclopaedia Britannica’s’ Celebrated Eleventh Edition, 1910-1911 (2016) by Denis Boyles

Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman. Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 1998.

The Excursions of a Book-Lover by Frederic Rowland Marvin. Sherman, French, 1910.

Every Book Its Reader: The Power of the Printed Word to Stir the World by Nicholas A. Basbanes. HarperCollins, 2005.

Fiction Ruined My Family (2011) by Jeanne Darst

For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most (1999) edited by Ronald B. Schwartz

A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes. Henry Holt & Co., 1995.

The Gentle Reader (1903) by Samuel McChord Crothers

The Golden Thread: The Story of Writing (2013) by Ewan Clayton

Great Books: My Adventure with Homer, Rosseau, Woolf, and Other Indestructible Writers of the Western World by David Denby. Simon & Schuster, 1996.

The Groaning Shelf and Other Instances of Book Love by Pradeep Sebastian. Hachette India, 2010.

The Gutenberg Elegies: The Fate of Reading in an Electronic Age by Sven Birkerts. Faber & Faber, 1994.

Hanging Quotes: Talking Book Arts, Typography, and Poetry by Alastair M. Johnston. Cuneiform Press, 2011.

A History of Reading by Alberto Manguel. Viking, 1996.

A History of the Book in America: Volume I: The Colonial Book in the Atlantic World edited by Hugh Amory and David D. Hall. University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

A History of the Book in America: Volume II: An Extensive Republic: Print, Culture, and Society in the New Nation, 1790-1840 by Robert A. Gross. University of North Carolina Press, 2010.

A History of the Book in America: Volume III: The Industrial Book, 1840-1880 edited by Scott Jasper and others. University of North Carolina Press, 2007.

The History of the Library in Western Civilization, Volume I: From Minos to Cleopatra by Konstantinos Staikos. Oak Knoll Press, 2004.

The History of the Library in Western Civilization: Volume II: The Roman World – From Cicero to Hadrian by Konstantinos Staikos. Oak Knoll Press, 2005.

The History of the Library in Western Civilization, Volume III: The Byzantine World – From Constantine the Great to Cardinal Bessarion. Oak Knoll Press, 2007.

The History of the Library in Western Civilization, Volume IV: The Medieval World in the West, from Cassiodorus to Fournival by Konstantinos Staikos. Oak Knoll Press, 2010.

The History of the Library in Western Civilization, Volume V: The Renaissance – from Petrarch to Michelangelo by Konstantinos Staikos. Oak Knoll Press, 2010.

Horror: The One Hundred Best Books edited by Stephen Jones and Kim Newman. Carroll & Graf, 1988.

How Literature Saved My Life (2013) by David Shields

How Reading Changed My Life by Anna Quindlen. Ballantine, 1998.

Howard’s End is On the Landing: A Year of Reading from Home by Susan Hill.  Profile Books, 2010.

InvisibleForms: A Guide to Literary Curiosities by Kevin Jackson. Thomas Dunne Books, 2000.

The Joy of Books: Confessions of a Lifelong Reader by Eric Burns. Prometheus Books, 1995.

Leave Me Alone, I’m Reading: Finding and Losing Myself in Books by Maureen Corrigan. Random House, 2005.

Libraries by Candida Hofer. Schirmer/Mosel, 2006.

The Library: An Illustrated History by Stuart A. P. Murray. Skyhorse Publishing, 2009.

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles. W.W. Norton, 2003.

A Lifetime’s Reading: The World’s 500 Greatest Books by Philip Ward. Stein & Daym, 1983.

The List of Books by Frederic Raphael and Kenneth McLeish. Harmony Books, 1981.

Over 3,000 recommended titles arranged into handy categories (Fiction, Diaries & Letters, Poetry, Travel and Exploration, etc.) by American and British writers.  Witty, brief descriptions of each recommended title.

Literary Life: A Second Memoir by Larry McMurtry. Simon & Schuster, 2010.

The Literary Life and Other Curiosities by Robert Hendrickson.

The Literature Lover’s Book of Lists: Serious Trivia for the Bibliophile by Judie L.H. Strouf. Prentice-Hall, 1998.

The Little Guide to Your Well-Read Life: How to Get More Books in Your Life and More Life from Your Books by Steve Leveen. Levenger Press, 2005.

Living with Books by Alan Powers. Sterling, 2006.

Living With Books by Dominique Dupuich & Roland Beaufre. Thames & Hudson, 2010.

The Lost Art of Reading: Why Books Matter in a Distracted Time by David L. Ulin. Sasquatch Books, 2010.

The Love Affairs of a Bibliomaniac by Eugene Field. Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1896.

The Love of Books: The Philobiblon by Richard de Bury. Translated by E.C. Thomas, Chatto & Windus, 1925; originally published 1473.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much:  The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession by Allison Hoover Bartlett. Penguin, 2009.

Memoirs of a Book Snake by David Meyer. Waltham Street Press, 2001.

The Most Beautiful Libraries in the World by Jacques Bosser. Harry N. Abrams, 2003.

My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues (2017) by Pamela Paul

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy. Nan A. Talese / Doubleday, 2010.

Old Books, Rare Friends: Two Literary Sleuths and Their Shared Passion by Madeline B. Stern. Doubleday, 1997.

On Reading by Andre Kertesz. W. W. Norton, 2008 (Originally published 1971).

On Reading by Marcel Proust. Macmillan, 1971.

A book of photographs.

On Rereading by Patricia Meyer Spacks. Belknap Press/Harvard University Press, 2011.

One for the Books by Joe Queenan. Viking/Penguin, 2012.

One Hundred Great Books: Masterpieces of All Time edited by John Canning. 1974.

The 100 Most Influential Books Ever Written by Martin Seymour-Smith. Citadel Press / Carol Publishing Group, 1998.

100 One-Night Reads:  A Book Lover’s Guide by David C. Major and John S. Major. Ballantine Books, 2001.

1000 Books to Change Your Life. Edited by Jonathan Derbyshire. Time Out Guides, 2007.

1001 Books for Every Mood by Hallie Ephron. Adams Media, 2008.

1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die edited by Peter Boxall. Universe Publishing, 2006.

Only in Books: Writers, Readers & Bibliophiles on Their Passion by J. Kevin Graffagnino. Madison House, 1996.

An Open Book: Chapters from a Reader’s Life by Michael Dirda.

Outside of a Dog: A Bilbiomemoir by Rick Gekowski. London: Constable, 2010.

The Oxford Companion to the Book (2 volumes) edited by Michael J. Suarez, S. J. & H. R. Woudhuysen. Oxford University Press, 2010.

A Passion for Books by Lawrence Clark Powell. World Publishing, 1958.

A Passion for Books: A Book Lover’s Treasury of Stories, Essays, Humor, Love and Lists on Collecting, Reading, Borrowing, Lending, Caring for, and Appreciating Books by Harold Rabinowitz and Rob Kaplan. Times Books, 1999.

Patience and Fortitude: Wherein a Colorful Cast of Determined Book Collectors, Dealers, and Librarians Go About the Quixotic Task of Preserving a Legacy by Nicholas Basbanes. HarperCollins, 2001.

Phantoms on the Bookshelves by Jacques Bonnet. Overlook Press, 2012.

The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby. Believer Books, 2004.

Promised Land: Thirteen Books that Changed America by Jay Parini. Doubleday, 2008.

The Quotable Book Lover edited by Ben Jacobs and Helena Hjalmarsson. Lyons Press, 1999.

Read This Next: 500 of the Best Books You’ll Ever Read by Howard Mittelmark and Sandra Newman. Harper, 2010.

A Reader on Reading by Alberto Manguel. Yale University Press, 2010.

A Reader’s Delight by Noel Perrin. University Press of New England, 1988.

The Reader’s Quotation Book: A Literary Companion edited by Steven Gilbar. Pushcart Press, 1990.

A Reading Diary: A Passionate Reader’s Reflections on a Year of Books (2004) by Alberto Manguel

Reading in Bed: Personal Essays in the Glories of Reading by Steven Gilbar. David R. Godine, 1995.

Reading Life: Books for the Ages by Sven Birkerts. Greywolf, 2007.

Reality Hunger: A Manifesto (2010) by David Shields

Re-Readings: Seventeen Writers Revisit Books They Love by Anne Fadiman. Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2005.

The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac. Candlewick Press, 2008

Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books by Lynne Sharon Schwartz. Beacon Press, 1996.

Science Fiction: The 100 Best Novels by David Pringle. Carroll & Graf, 1987.

Selected Works on the Pleasures of Reading (2008) by Robertson Davies

The Seven Stairs by Stuart Brent. Houghton, 1962.

Shakespeare and Company by Sylvia Beach. Harcourt, Brace, 1959.

Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins. Bloomsbury, 2003.

Slightly Chipped: Footnotes in Booklore by Lawrence Goldstone. St. Martin’s, 1999.

Slow Reading by John Miedema. Litwin Books, 2010.

So Many Books: Reading and Publishing in an Age of Abundance by Gabriel Zaid; translated by Natasha Wimmer. Paul Dry Books, 2003.

The Solitary Vice: Against Reading (2008) by Mikita Brottman

Speaking of Books – and Life by J. Donald Adams. Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1965.

Speaking of Books: The Best Things Ever Said About Books and Book Collecting edited by Rob Kaplan and Harold Rabinowitz. Crown, 2001.

A Splendor of Letters: The Permanence of Books in an Impermanent World by Nicholas Basbanes. HarperCollins, 2003.

The Story about the Story: Great Writers Explore Great Literature edited by J.C. Hallman. tin House Books, 2009.

Tales for Bibliophiles edited and translated by Theodore W. Koch. Reprint: Books for Libraries Press, 1972.

Through the Magic Door (1907; reprinted numerous times by numerous publishers) by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading by Nina Sankovitch. HarperCollins, 2011.

Unpacking My Books: Architects and Their Books edited by Jo Stephans. Yale University Press, 2009.

Unpacking My Library: Writers and Their Books edited by Leah Price. Yale University Press, 2011.

Used and Rare: Travels in the Book World by Lawrence Gladstone. St. Martin’s, 1997.

Walking a Literary Labyrinth: A Spirituality of Reading by Nancy M. Malone. Riverhead Books, 2003.

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had by  Susan Wise Bauer. W.W. Norton, 2003.

Where Books Fall Open: A Reader’s Anthology of Wit & Passion (2001) by Bascone

Writer’s Choice: A Library of Rediscoveries by Lindy Sternberg Katz and Bill Katz. Prentice-Hall, 1983.

An annotated list of fiction and nonfiction books that several hundred writers think have been overlooked or neglected. Preface (and her opinion of the recommended titles, plus her own list) by Doris Grumbach.

The Year of Reading Dangerously: How Fifty Great Books (and Two Not-so-Great Ones) Saved My Life (2014) by Andy Miller

The Yellow-Lighted Bookshop by Lewis Buzbee. Graywolf Press, 2006.

You’ve Got to Read This Book! 55 People Tell the Story of the Book that Changed Their Life compiled by Jack Canfield, Gay Hendricks, with Carol Kline. Collins, 2006.


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