Explore magical, mysterious tales about books and booklovers

By Christopher Wright

If you are a bibliophile than nothing can be better than a book about books. I don’t mean dry tomes about the history of rare books (there’s even a word for books created before the year 1501—incunabula). I’m talking magical and mysterious thrillers about people who love books. Here are a few:

Shadow of the WindStephen King called this “one gorgeous read.” And with that I tried it and liked it very much. Carlos Ruiz Zafon lives in Los Angeles and Barcelona and primarily writes in Spanish. Finding the right translator for his works consumes him. This story is set in 1950s Spain and involves a bookstore and perhaps the devil. It’s the first of a trilogy too. It’s magical, mysterious and thrilling.

The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry—This new book, just published this year, is by Gabrielle Zevin. A. J. Fikry is a bookseller on a small island off the coast of New England. He’s sort of an elitist snob but he’s also a widower who is indulging in some self-pity. One day his life is transformed by a package. This is a charming and beautiful love story and perfect for book clubs.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore—Robin Sloan’s novel merges today’s reading technology with the old and familiar in a charmingly quirky and humorous way. A 20-something, fallen-from-grace techno-nerd lands a job in a weird bookstore where curiosity could, well, kill the cat. So starts his quest for the truth, which takes some surprising and very interesting turns—including a road trip, a Googlectomy, romance and more). There’s no knowledge like old knowledge.

Chris Wright is not sure if he lives to read or if he reads to live. He has been a public librarian with the OC Public Libraries since 2006.

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