When I first pick up a new book, I’m generally not looking for anything too specific. My proclivities lie in fantasy and adventure, but my taste in books is pretty prolific as long as the writing is good and there’s a moral to told.
However, I have this ultimate weakness for what I call “odes to literature.” Or in other words, books about books.
I find such stories easy to get hooked on because, well, what reader can’t appreciate the good, old-fashioned story of a character discovering their love for reading? It’s a tale old as time, but one we can invest in over and over again, simply because although that path of discovery has been tread a thousand times over, it’s one we’re all too fond of if you’re someone who loves reading and books.
And for me personally, books about books simply whet my appetite for reading. Each time I finish reading one, I feel like running up to my bookshelf and giving all my books a hug:)
So here are some of my favorite odes to literature, and I hope you enjoy. Cheers!
The Shadow of the Wind (a.k.a. the book about the first book you fall in love with)
“Once, in my father’s bookshop, I heard a customer say that few things leave a deeper mark on a reader than the first book that finds its way into his heart.”
My most recent read, The Shadow of the Wind beautifully conveys the feeling one gets when they first fall in love with a book. This is a great exploration of a boy and his journey to discover the life of an author whom he sees in himself, and I loved the passion and intimacy that just flows off of these pages.
Fahrenheit 451 (a.k.a. the book about how books shouldn’t be burned. Looking at you, Hitler.)
“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
Was there any doubt about this one? You may think that you already know just how valuable books are, but Fahrenheit 451 actually makes you reassess just how necessary they are pertaining to the emotional and intellectual development of our society. And when even the villain of this crazy, book-burning, dystopian story admits that reading is addictive, you know this book is saying, “BOOKS FTW!”
Fangirl (a.k.a. the book about how books make you want to ship guys romantically and write awesome fanfiction about them)
“To really be a nerd, she’d decided, you had to prefer fictional worlds to the real one.”
I recently had the pleasure of discovering this book’s delights. I’m not much of a contemporary fan, but Cath’s unbridled enthusiasm for reading, writing, and fanfiction was infectious, and I found it a very relatable read. (Not to mention, it has a pretty cute romance.) A truly enjoyable ode to English nerds everywhere.
Inkheart (a.k.a. the book about books coming to life. Run!)
“Take a book with you on a journey, and an odd thing happens: the book begins collecting your memories. Yes, books are like flypaper—memories cling to the printed page better than anything else.”
Inkheart follows the adventure of a girl whose father can literally read fictional characters to life, which is freaking awesome. That means you can read Harry Potter to life! Or Hedwig! Or Dumbledore! Or McGonagall! Or…gahhh! *still geeking out* But yeah, this ode to literature truly set my imagination alight as a child. Although I haven’t read this book in a decade, I remember it so vividly conveying the sense of potency and mysticism that stories seem to harbor, and that sense of wonder I felt then is still not lost on me to this day.
The Tales of Beedle the Bard (a.k.a. the book about children’s books from Harry Potter)
“A simple and heart-warming fable, one might think — in which case, one would reveal oneself to be an innocent nincompoop.”
Now this isn’t really a book about books, so it’s kind of a cheat. But it is a book mimicking the lovable children’s fables from our world, and I adore it. It’s definitely an ode to literature for us Potterheads.
The Book Thief (a.k.a. the book about how stealing is okay. As long as it’s books.)
“I wanted to tell the book thief many things, about beauty and brutality. But what could I tell her about those things that she didn’t already know? I wanted to explain that I am constantly overestimating and underestimating the human race, that rarely do I ever simply estimate it. I wanted to ask her how the same thing could be so ugly and so glorious, and its words and stories so damning and brilliant.”
Wow, has it really been eight years since I first discovered this book? The love and intimacy for reading that I felt emanating from the protagonist Liesel is still burned as vividly as ever in my mind today, and it is one gorgeous ode to literature. It moves me to tears every single time I read it.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore (a.k.a. the book about how you should become a librarian, for sure!)
“Morris Lessmore loved words.
He loved stories. He loved books.
But every story has its upsets.”
And last but not least, this picture book tells the story of a boy wandering aimlessly in life until he one day stumbles across an old library filled with flying books, and he becomes their caretaker. Charming, imaginative, and bittersweet, this picture book is an undeniable ode to literature (and one of my favorites of all time) that just inspires me on so many levels. It’s truly a visual masterpiece that everyone should check out regardless of age.
So what are your favorite books about books? Let me know in the comments below.
By the way, sorry I’ve been away for a while (again). I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks, and I was so miserable just rolling around in bed, I thought I might as well slap a post together and get it out there before I meet my grave or something. Hopefully by the time I get better and read this post healthy, I discover I haven’t been rambling nonsensically in my feverish mood;)
Thanks for reading this post, and until next time, cheers!