The most mysterious books about books

Who am I?

I’m a book lover from in utero. My mom was an avid and very fast reader, and I grew up finding respite, insight, and understanding in the pages of books. When I went to college, I studied English, and then got a Masters in literature before going on to learn more about writing the books I loved in an MFA program. This formal education just built on what I already knew – books are my first love, my guide through life, and often, the things that save me from the darkest moments of this world.

I wrote...

Publishable By Death

By ACF Bookens,

Book cover of Publishable By Death

What is my book about?

When Harvey Beckett finds a dead body in her backroom on the morning of her bookstore’s grand opening, she just wants the whole situation to go away. But as the mystery unfolds, Harvey finds herself unable to stay out of the investigation, even when it’s potentially deadly. 

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Name of the Rose

ACF Bookens Why did I love this book?

Eco’s mystery masterpiece weaves together intrigue and humanity in a way that is absolutely compelling, especially if you love medieval illuminations and monastic communities like I do. The book is a literary beauty as well as a compelling mystery that will keep you guessing and turning the pages with furious curiosity. Not a casual read but one that will urge you forward and deeper into a dark but beautiful world. 

By Umberto Eco,

Why should I read it?

11 authors picked The Name of the Rose as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Read the enthralling medieval murder mystery.

The year is 1327. Franciscans in a wealthy Italian abbey are suspected of heresy, and Brother William of Baskerville arrives to investigate. When his delicate mission is suddenly overshadowed by seven bizarre deaths, Brother William turns detective.

William collects evidence, deciphers secret symbols and coded manuscripts, and digs into the eerie labyrinth of the abbey where extraordinary things are happening under the cover of night. A spectacular popular and critical success, The Name of the Rose is not only a narrative of a murder investigation but an astonishing chronicle of the Middle Ages.


Book cover of The Secret, Book & Scone Society

ACF Bookens Why did I love this book?

I adore books about women in friendship, maybe because my female friendships have been the stable place of safety throughout my life. So Adams’ book about a group of women who bring their pain and hope for healing to one another as they read books resonates with me deeply. Plus, the bookstore in this series is stellar what with the tchotchkes, quirky coffee mugs, and bibliotherapy themes. A great cozy for anyone who appreciates a bit of depth to their light reading. 

By Ellery Adams,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Secret, Book & Scone Society as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

First in the mystery series from the New York Times-bestselling author: “Anyone who loves novels that revolve around books will savor this tasty treat.”—Library Journal (starred review)
A quirky club in small-town North Carolina holds the keys to health, happiness, friendship—and even solving a murder—all to be found within the pages of the right book…

Strangers flock to Miracle Springs hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone, they exchange their stories with owner Nora…

Book cover of The Library Book

ACF Bookens Why did I love this book?

I am a great lover of literary nonfiction, stories of truth that use the elements of fiction to draw us in. Orlean’s book is a brilliant model of the genre as well as an absolute page-turner. The book begins with a massive fire in the Los Angeles Public Library. Orlean begins to look into the fire and discovers, in the process, the depth of her own affection for libraries as well as some serious questions about the person long-believed to have been responsible. A must-read for library lovers.  

By Susan Orlean,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Library Book as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Susan Orlean’s bestseller and New York Times Notable Book is “a sheer delight…as rich in insight and as varied as the treasures contained on the shelves in any local library” (USA TODAY)—a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries. “Everybody who loves books should check out The Library Book” (The Washington Post).

On the morning of April 28, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire was disastrous: it reached two thousand degrees and burned for more than seven hours. By the time it was extinguished,…

Book cover of The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires

ACF Bookens Why did I love this book?

I am a Southern woman, and I have been a part of many a book club full of Southern women. So Hendrix’s book and his spot-on but not stereotypical descriptions of the archetypes of women in these groups is what drew me in, but then, when he brings in vampires – I adore a great vampire book – I was hooked and determined to read through and find out exactly what was going on. Who is to blame? And how do we support – or not support – one another through things we don’t understand? Powerful themes in a captivating read. 

By Grady Hendrix,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"This funny and fresh take on a classic tale manages to comment on gender roles, racial disparities, and white privilege all while creeping me all the way out. So good."-Zakiya Dalila Harris, author of The Other Black Girl

Now in paperback, Steel Magnolias meets Dracula in this New York Times best-selling horror novel about a women's book club that must do battle with a mysterious newcomer to their small Southern town.

Bonus features:
* Reading group guide for book clubs
* Hand-drawn map of Mt. Pleasant
* Annotated true-crime reading list by Grady Hendrix
* And more!

Patricia Campbell's life…

Book cover of Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

ACF Bookens Why did I love this book?

This book has everything – a charming bookshop with an even more charming and mysterious owner. A secret society. An every-person type who gets drawn into a strange and dangerous world of bookish legacy. The book is twisty and cryptic while also being absolutely accessible and fascinating, and I want to now read everything Robin Sloan has ever written.  

By Robin Sloan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gleeful and exhilarating tale of global conspiracy, complex code-breaking, high-tech data visualization, young love, rollicking adventure, and the secret to eternal life—mostly set in a hole-in-the-wall San Francisco bookstore

The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon out of his life as a San Francisco Web-design drone—and serendipity, sheer curiosity, and the ability to climb a ladder like a monkey has landed him a new gig working the night shift at Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore. But after just a few days on the job, Clay begins to realize that this store is even more curious than the name suggests. There…

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Deep Roots

By Sung J. Woo,

Book cover of Deep Roots

Sung J. Woo Author Of Deep Roots

New book alert!

Who am I?

Author Novelist Tennis fan Cinephile Gamer

Sung's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

After solving her first case, private eye Siobhan O’Brien is hired by Phillip Ahn, an octogenarian billionaire with his own personal island in the Pacific Northwest. Ahn, a genius in artificial intelligence, swears that Duke, his youngest child and only son, is an impostor. Is Ahn crazy, or is Duke really someone else? As Siobhan attempts to arrive at the truth, her biggest challenge will be dealing with Ahn’s family, who all live under the same gilded roof: his current wife, his two ex-wives, and their awful, privileged children.

What is the real reason that Siobhan was brought to this isolated estate? If she can keep her head – literally and figuratively – she’ll learn that family secrets have some very deep roots.

Deep Roots

By Sung J. Woo,

What is this book about?

After solving her first case, Siobhan O’Brien faces her biggest challenge yet – Thanksgiving!  With her lawyer boyfriend Craig in tow, Siobhan travels to Minneapolis to endure small talk with the extended O’Brien clan and chow down on some seriously delicious turkey and dressing.  Everything’s swell until her sister-in-law Gwen tells her about her brother Sven's frequent late-night meetings with his co-workers.  Since Siobhan’s next case is just a ferry ride from their house in Washington state, she asks for Siobhan’s help.
Big sister is happy to oblige, though she’s got her hands full.  Hired by Phillip Ahn, a Korean…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in the Middle Ages, murder, and murder mystery?

9,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about the Middle Ages, murder, and murder mystery.

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