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.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Bookish Life of Nina Hill

Why did I love 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. 

By Abbi Waxman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bookish Life of Nina Hill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Instant USA Today bestseller!

“Abbi Waxman is both irreverent and thoughtful.”—#1 New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin

“Meet our bookish millennial heroine—a modern-day Elizabeth Bennet, if you will… Waxman’s wit and wry humor stand out. She is funny and imaginative, and “Bookish” lands a step above run-of-the-mill romantic comedy fare.”—The Washington Post

“Abbi Waxman offers up a quirky, eccentric romance that will charm any bookworm…. For anyone who’s ever wondered if their greatest romance might come between the pages of books they read, Waxman offers a heartwarming tribute to that possibility.”--Entertainment Weekly

The author of Other People’s Houses and…

Diary Of A Bookseller

By Sean Bythell,

Book cover of Diary Of A Bookseller

Why did I love 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.

By Sean Bythell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Diary Of A Bookseller as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Love, Nina meets Black Books: a wry and hilarious account of life in Scotland's biggest second-hand bookshop and the band of eccentrics and book-obsessives who work there

'The Diary Of A Bookseller is warm (unlike Bythell's freezing-cold shop) and funny, and deserves to become one of those bestsellers that irritate him so much.' (Mail on Sunday)

'Utterly compelling and Bythell has a Bennett-like eye for the amusing eccentricities of ordinary people ... I urge you to buy this book and please, even at the risk of being insulted or moaned at, buy it from a real live bookseller.' (Charlotte Heathcote…

Book cover of The Little Paris Bookshop

Why did I love 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. 

By Nina George,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Little Paris Bookshop as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The international bestseller, translated from the German by Simon Pare.

On a beautifully restored barge on the Seine, Jean Perdu runs a bookshop; or rather a 'literary apothecary', for this bookseller possesses a rare gift for sensing which books will soothe the troubled souls of his customers.

The only person he is unable to cure, it seems, is himself. He has nursed a broken heart ever since the night, twenty-one years ago, when the love of his life fled Paris, leaving behind a handwritten letter that he has never dared read. His memories and his love have been gathering dust…

Beach Read

By Emily Henry,

Book cover of Beach Read

Why did I love 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.

By Emily Henry,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Beach Read as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.

Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.

They’re polar opposites.

In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they're living in neighboring…

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

Why did I love 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.

By Steven James,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Story Trumps Structure as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Don't limit your fiction - LIBERATE IT

All too often, following the "rules" of writing can constrict rather than inspire you. With Story Trumps Structure, you can shed those rules - about three-act structure, rising action, outlining, and more - to craft your most powerful, emotional, and gripping stories.

Award-winning novelist Steven James explains how to trust the narrative process to make your story believable, compelling, and engaging, and debunks the common myths that hold writers back from creating their best work.

   • Ditch your outline and learn to write organically.
   • Set up promises for readers - and deliver…

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Interested in bookstores, romantic love, and Michigan?

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