The best books about the power of books and reading

Who am I?

I’ve always been fascinated by books since a young age. Not just reading the stories but also how they’re written, the cover design, literary agents, and the publishing industry in general. I’ve written five novels (four of which are USA Today bestsellers) and my work has been translated into twenty-five languages worldwide. My second novel, Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone, was made into a Hallmark movie in 2021. I still get excited about generating ideas for characters to take on unusual and joyous journeys of discovery. I’m a huge fan of reading books about the craft of writing, and I especially love novels about bookshops and libraries.


I wrote...

The Messy Lives of Book People

By Phaedra Patrick,

Book cover of The Messy Lives of Book People

What is my book about?

A heart-warming, feel-good story from the USA Today bestselling author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper and The Library of Lost and Found.

Mother of two Liv Green scrapes a living as a cleaner to make ends meet, finding escape in books while daydreaming of becoming a writer herself. So, she can't believe her luck when she lands a job housekeeping for her personal hero, bestselling author Essie Starling, a mysterious and intimidating recluse. When Essie passes away suddenly, Liv is astonished to learn of her dying wish: for Liv to complete Essie’s final novel. As Liv begins to write, she uncovers secrets from the past that reveal a surprising connection between the two women—one that will change Liv’s own story forever.

The books I picked & why

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The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

By Abbi Waxman,

Book cover of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Why this book?

This warm, funny book introduces readers to introverted bookseller Nina Hill. When Nina’s estranged father dies, Nina discovers she has a whole host of new relatives she didn’t know about. And what’s more daunting is that they want to get to know her! So, Nina has to come out of her shell and step away from the world of fiction to embrace real life. With a vibrant, attention-grabbing cover and a range of quirky characters to get to know, this novel is sure to appeal to book-lovers everywhere. 


Diary Of A Bookseller

By Sean Bythell,

Book cover of Diary Of A Bookseller

Why this book?

This non-fiction book is uplifting, funny, and heartbreaking in equal measure as Shaun Bythell shares his diary of owning Scotland’s biggest second-hand book store. We get to meet the eccentric readers who frequent his bookshop and learn first-hand about the struggles of owning a small business, and the importance of books and the community.


The Little Paris Bookshop

By Nina George,

Book cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

Why this book?

On a restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop where he uses his special gift for sensing which books will soothe his customers’ troubles. He decides to cast off and set sail on an unusual journey to seek out his lost love of twenty years, meeting unusual characters along the way and learning how to live and love again. Wise, charming, and atmospheric, the novel offers the perfect escape to Paris without having to leave your own armchair. 


Beach Read

By Emily Henry,

Book cover of Beach Read

Why this book?

January is a romance writer who has lost faith in love, even though she writes about it. Augustus is a cynical literary fiction writer who doesn’t believe true love really exists. The only thing January and Augustus have in common is a dose of writer’s block. So, when they find themselves living next door to each other, they challenge each other to write in each other’s genre with often hilarious, fractious, and romantic results. As the title suggests, this effervescent book is perfect for reading on a sunny holiday.


Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules

By Steven James,

Book cover of Story Trumps Structure: How to Write Unforgettable Fiction by Breaking the Rules

Why this book?

Story Trumps Fiction is a non-fiction book that encourages you to tear up the rule book when it comes to plotting and planning a novel. I’m a plotter at heart, but this book offers some thought-provoking arguments for writing organically, to craft exciting and surprising plots. It’s written by an award-winning novelist, so he’s ideally placed to offer great advice on how to make a story more powerful, emotional, and gripping. I recommend it for both novice writers and more experienced ones, too.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in bookstores, romantic love, and Michigan?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about bookstores, romantic love, and Michigan.

Bookstores Explore 14 books about bookstores
Romantic Love Explore 414 books about romantic love
Michigan Explore 38 books about Michigan

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Bruno, Chief of Police, Chocolat, and The Unhoneymooners if you like this list.