The best books about librarians

Who picked these books? Meet our 81 experts.

81 authors created a book list connected to librarians, and here are their favorite librarian books.
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What type of librarian book?


The Longest Letsgoboy

By Derick Wilder, Catia Chien (illustrator),

Book cover of The Longest Letsgoboy

E.B. Bartels Author Of Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

From the list on teaching kids about pet death.

Who am I?

I’m someone who has had a lot of pets in my life––dogs, fish, birds, turtles, tortoises––which means I’m also someone who has had a lot of pets in my life die, because the worst thing about pets is they don’t live as long as we do. I spent ten years writing Good Grief, but really, I’ve been researching Good Grief my whole life, ever since my first pet died. This list includes some classics I loved when I was a kid, and some newer titles that I learned about while researching Good Grief. All are wonderful and will be a balm during a hard time.  

E.B.'s book list on teaching kids about pet death

Discover why each book is one of E.B.'s favorite books.

Why did E.B. love this book?

This book is absolutely breathtaking and I cry every time I read it.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and I find it so soothing to think about my dead dogs being in a version of heaven as beautiful as the one that Catia Chien has illustrated. My favorite part of this book is how it is narrated by the old and dying dog himself, and when he finally dies and becomes part of the sky––his sweet face continues to look down on his beloved small human (“Little”) and her new puppy.

All the pets we love are always part of us forever, and I like to think they’re looking out for us. I’m tearing up just writing this!

By Derick Wilder, Catia Chien (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey meets Dog Heaven in this profoundly beautiful book about the special relationship between kids and dogs, the importance of language, and finding the meaning of life even in its final days.

Poignant, hopeful, and lovingly told, this dog's journey-told by the dog himself in his own unique words-proves that love abides beyond a lifetime, out of sight but never far away.

As a dog and his little girl go on their final walk together, he experiences the sights, smells, and wonders of this world one last time before peacefully passing on. But for such a…

Book cover of The Spook in the Stacks

Sybil Johnson Author Of Designed For Haunting

From the list on Halloween mysteries to escape into.

Who am I?

My love affair with reading began in kindergarten with The Three Little PigsTrips to the library introduced me to Encyclopedia Brown, Nancy Drew, and Agatha Christie. It didn’t take long for me to realize how much I love reading mysteries. I’ve read thousands of them over the years, mainly traditional and cozy. When I decided to try my hand at writing, I knew right away that I’d be creating stories on the cozy end of the mystery spectrum. I particularly like mysteries set around Halloween. I’m not a horror fan. I prefer less gruesome Halloween tales, especially ones involving old legends and ghosts. These gentler Halloween mysteries are the perfect fit for me.

Sybil's book list on Halloween mysteries to escape into

Discover why each book is one of Sybil's favorite books.

Why did Sybil love this book?

I’ve always been fascinated by lighthouses and I love libraries. Put a library in a lighthouse like this book does and it’s a dream come true for me. Every page reminds me of all the happy hours I spent at my local library growing up, minus the murder, of course. All of the characters felt real to me from those who appear in scene after scene to those who only come into the story once or twice. I enjoyed spending time with them all including Charles, the library cat. This book does a great job of weaving Halloween activities, spooky moments and ghost stories into the mystery.

By Eva Gates,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Spook in the Stacks as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Halloween in North Carolina’s Outer Banks becomes seriously tricky when librarian Lucy Richardson stumbles across something extra unusual in the rare books section: a dead body.

Wealthy businessman Jay Ruddle is considering donating his extensive collection of North Carolina historical documents to the Bodie Island Lighthouse Library, but the competition for the collection is fierce. Unfortunately, while the library is hosting a lecture on ghostly legends, Jay becomes one of the dearly departed in the rare books section. Now, it’s up to Lucy Richardson and her fellow librarians to bone up on their detective skills and discover who is responsible…

The Personal Librarian

By Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray,

Book cover of The Personal Librarian

Penny Haw Author Of The Woman at the Wheel

From the list on historical fiction on women who follow their dreams.

Who am I?

My maternal grandmother was an unconventional woman and a feminist in every way that matters. Although she was raised according to Victorian norms when girls were expected to remain in patriarchal shadows, she was fiercely independent. She was my hero and encouraged me to forge my own future. She also nurtured in me a love of reading and writing, which led to me becoming a journalist and author. My grandmother and I shared a great love of animals. It’s no coincidence that my debut historical fiction, The Invincible Miss Cust is based on the true story of Britain and Ireland’s first female veterinary surgeon. I’m intrigued by strong, interesting women driven to follow their dreams.   

Penny's book list on historical fiction on women who follow their dreams

Discover why each book is one of Penny's favorite books.

Why did Penny love this book?

Based on the true story of Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was compelled to hide her identity and pass as white to work as J P Morgan’s personal librarian, this book contains everything I love about historical, biographical fiction and more.

It’s about a woman who defied convention and whose life story is fascinating, relevant, and inspiring. Belle is an intelligent, driven woman, who can hold her own in any company, and yet, to realize her ambitions and protect her family, she must conceal who she really is.

I thoroughly enjoyed learning about her, and the lengths she had to go to pursue the career she loved. It’s a stunning tribute to an exceptional woman in history.  

By Marie Benedict, Victoria Christopher Murray,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The Instant New York Times Bestseller! A Good Morning America* Book Club Pick!

Named a Best Book of the Year by NPR! Named a Notable Book of the Year by the Washington Post!

“Historical fiction at its best!”*
A remarkable novel about J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian, Belle da Costa Greene, the Black American woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as white in order to leave a lasting legacy that enriched our nation, from New York Times bestselling authors Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray.

In her twenties, Belle da Costa Greene is hired by…

Read And Gone

By Allison Brook,

Book cover of Read And Gone

Daryl Wood Gerber Author Of A Flicker of a Doubt

From the list on mysteries that will make you wonder whodunit.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by paranormal stories for years. One of the first books I truly loved was A Wrinkle in Time. I loved the Dragons of Pern, as well. As a girl, I read more stories featuring witches and magical creatures than one ought. But I also loved mysteries—Nancy Drew, as well as all the Agatha Christie books. At present, I’m working on my fifth Fairy Garden Mystery, and I recently completed a mystery novella featuring an elf. To round out the experience, I have personally crafted over fifty fairy gardens. I’m pretty certain a fairy spirit had something to do with my obsession... or perhaps it all started when I kissed the Blarney Stone.

Daryl's book list on mysteries that will make you wonder whodunit

Discover why each book is one of Daryl's favorite books.

Why did Daryl love this book?

I love stories set in libraries. They take me back to my first days of reading and checking out books.

Carrie Singleton is the head of programs and events at a local library and is friends with the library’s very own ghost, Evelyn. When Carrie’s estranged father shows up and wants Carrie to help him recover his half of a rare gem heist, she’s conflicted.

When her father winds up in jail for a murder—she hopes he didn’t commit—she’s determined to discover the truth.

This is a delightful and spirited book—pun intended—and, yes, in addition to a wealth of library books, there is an adorable library cat named Smokey Joe.

By Allison Brook,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Read And Gone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Agatha Award Nominee: A cache of missing gems brings Carrie Singleton’s larcenous dad back into her life—and only she can clear his name

A devoted dad is as precious as diamonds, but Carrie Singleton wouldn’t know since her dad Jim’s been on the lam most of her life. In an unusual family reunion, she finds Jim breaking into her cottage in the middle of the night. The fun really starts when he begs her to help him recover his half of a twenty-million-dollar gem heist he pulled off with the local jeweler, Benton Parr. When she refuses, Jim takes off…


By Arthur Slade,

Book cover of Hunted

Maureen Ulrich Author Of Power Plays

From the list on teen novels with snappy dialogue.

Who am I?

One of my favourite sounds is teens interacting—especially when they are throwing shade. I spent twenty-five years as a junior and senior high teacher, and I miss rocking and rolling during class discussions with my students. As a writer of contemporary fiction (actually in anything I write), I work hard at using dialogue as an engine to drive each scene. Each line needs to be refined to ensure that it’s snappy, engaging, and real. I’m a writer from southeast Saskatchewan, Canada, where there’s no shortage of great one-liners to use. I hope you enjoy the dialogue in these five recommendations as much as I did.

Maureen's book list on teen novels with snappy dialogue

Discover why each book is one of Maureen's favorite books.

Why did Maureen love this book?

It might seem strange for me to recommend the Amber Fang series seeing as how the main character is a librarian/vampire/assassin. But remember, I am recommending teen books with snappy dialogue. Amber’s repartee with her victims—folks who generally deserve to be turned into Amber’s next meal—is witty and laced with librarianisms, like, “You’re so 900.” Arthur also knows how to walk that fine line between being gory enough for young horror fans and sedate enough for—you guessed it—high school librarians.

By Arthur Slade,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hunted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Amber Fang enjoys life's simple pleasures. A perfect evening for her includes a good book, a glass of wine and, of course, a great meal, preferably straight from the jugular.

Raised to eat ethically, Amber dines only on delicious cold-blooded killers. But confirming that her chosen victims deserve to die takes time. And patience. So it's a good thing Amber is studying to be a librarian. Her extraordinary research skills help her hunt down her prey, seek out other vampires and stay on the trail of her mother, who has been missing for over two years now. But one day…

Book cover of The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu: And Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts

Cheryl Carpinello Author Of Feathers of the Phoenix

From the list on experiencing the ancient worlds and civilizations.

Who am I?

Since discovering the myths and legends of the world at college, I’ve fallen in love with these and the countries and cities where they originated. Teaching the literature that evolved from this for so many years deepened my fascination with the ancient/medieval worlds. I literally pounce on any books I come across, fiction and non-fiction. All of my novels draw from these worlds and are a thrill to write and read. However, life was extremely hard back then, and I wouldn’t want to have lived back then! I hope you join me in exploring these fascinating reads.

Cheryl's book list on experiencing the ancient worlds and civilizations

Discover why each book is one of Cheryl's favorite books.

Why did Cheryl love this book?

I have to admit that it’s the title that drew me to this book in the first place. As a retired English teacher, the word Librarians intrigued me. A true story, The Bad-Ass Librarians opened up a whole new world of manuscripts over 500 years that I never knew existed! The courage of the preservers of these works surprised and humbled me. But, it is also a historical history of smugglers and the heroic actions of the dedicated people of Timbuktu to preserve their heritage even if it meant their death. You won’t be able to put this down.

By Joshua Hammer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the 1980s, a young adventurer and collector for a government library, Abdel Kader Haidara, journeyed across the Sahara Desert and along the Niger River, tracking down and salvaging tens of thousands of ancient Islamic and secular manuscripts that were crumbling in the trunks of desert shepherds. His goal: to preserve this crucial part of the world's patrimony in a gorgeous library. But then Al Qaeda showed up at the door.
Joshua Hammer writes about how Haidara, a mild-mannered archivist from the legendary city of Timbuktu, became one of the world's greatest smugglers by saving the texts from sure destruction.…

The Librarian of Basra

By Jeanette Winter,

Book cover of The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq

Meeg Pincus Author Of Miep and the Most Famous Diary: The Woman Who Rescued Anne Frank's Diary

From the list on ordinary helpers in extraordinary times.

Who am I?

I’m someone who feels everything deeply and longs for a kinder, healthier world for everyone. A humane educator and diverse books advocate, I’m drawn to true stories that inspire compassion, inclusivity, and taking action in our own unique ways to make a difference. My nonfiction picture books—including Winged Wonders, Cougar Crossing, Ocean Soup, Make Way for Animals!, So Much More To Helen, and more— focus on “solutionaries” who help people, animals, and the planet. They’ve won Golden Kite and Eureka! Nonfiction Honor Awards, starred reviews, and spots on best books lists.

Meeg's book list on ordinary helpers in extraordinary times

Discover why each book is one of Meeg's favorite books.

Why did Meeg love this book?

This is one of the first “solutionary stories” I fell in love with as a humane educator and mom. A classic and beautiful true story of an Iraqi librarian in war-torn Basra who, with the help of her neighbors, hides and saves the books in her city’s library, this one never fails to touch my heart. Jeanette Winter has a simple, powerful way of evoking emotions in her books—in this one, about war, and about one woman’s mission amidst it. This story speaks to the power of books, the power of community, and the power of one person’s passion to save something precious when everything else may be lost.

By Jeanette Winter,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Librarian of Basra as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this incredible true story of a war-stricken country where civilians seem powerless in the face of battle, this feminist and inspirational tale about a librarian's struggle to save her community's priceless collection of books reminds us how, throughout the world, the love of literature can unite us all.

Book cover of The Librarian and the Orc: A Monster Fantasy Romance (Orc Sworn)

E.J. Frost Author Of Snowburn

From the list on scifi and fantasy romance.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by “other worlds” since I found my father’s battered copy of Dune when I was eleven. I’ve been seeking that experience of transportation, of transcendence, that I got from reading Dune, ever since. I’ve found it in diverse places, from the very alien worlds of Jo Clayton’s Diadem from the Stars series to the somehow-familiar woods of Richard and Wendy Pini’s ElfQuest comics. I’ve tried to give that experience back to my readers, in creating worlds wondrous and strange but entirely relatable. The books on this list sparked that same sense of transcendence and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

E.J.'s book list on scifi and fantasy romance

Discover why each book is one of E.J.'s favorite books.

Why did E.J. love this book?

Fenn’s Orc Sworn series transports the reader to a world both familiar and utterly strange, where gray-skinned, monstrous orcs show courage, kindness, and compassion to the human women they desperately need to continue their race while being hunted by human men. It’s a world of darkness, oppression, and fear, but also wonder, beauty, and hope. Fenn’s world building is utterly immersive—you will hear, feel, smell (and only rarely see, because it’s dark under Orc Mountain!)—what it is to be Orc Sworn.

By Finley Fenn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Librarian and the Orc as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

He’s a fierce, ferocious, death-dealing beast. And he’s reading a book in her library...

In a world of recently warring orcs and men, Rosa Rolfe leads a quiet, scholarly life as an impoverished librarian — until the day she finds an orc. In her library. Reading a book.

He’s rude, aggressive, and deeply terrifying, with his huge muscled form, sharp black claws, and cold, dismissive commands. But he doesn’t seem truly dangerous… at least, until night falls. And he makes Rosa a shocking, scandalous offer…

Her books, for her surrender.
Her ecstasy.
Her enlightenment…

Rosa’s no fool, and she knows…

The Book of Lost Names

By Kristin Harmel,

Book cover of The Book of Lost Names

Linda Kass Author Of A Ritchie Boy

From the list on World War II that bring history to life.

Who am I?

I am a first-generation American. My parents grew up in Eastern Europe, both experiencing Nazi persecution. They escaped to America from their respective countries, my mother from eastern Poland, my father from Austria. As such, the stories of World War II have fascinated me since childhood. I began my career as a journalist and took it upon myself to be the family historian, documenting my parents’ unique experiences. I believe in the importance of speaking out against injustice, and of bearing witness so our history of this consequential time and place is never lost. The novels I recommend take pieces of this history and bring them to life!

Linda's book list on World War II that bring history to life

Discover why each book is one of Linda's favorite books.

Why did Linda love this book?

Inspired by an astonishing true story from World War II, a young woman with a talent for forgery helps hundreds of Jewish children flee the Nazis. Author Kristin Harmel includes meticulous research to spotlight the French Resistance figures whose bravery and immeasurable sacrifices must not be lost to history. The act of what the forger needed to turn out identity documents like birth certificates to library cards to ration cards—and the process itself—is fascinating! This is a heartrending page-turner! 

By Kristin Harmel,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Throughout the 1940s, forgers helped thousands of children escape Nazi France. In this instant New York Times bestseller, Kristin Harmel reimagines their story...

Perfect for readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz, The Librarian of Auschwitz and The Book Thief.

In 1942, Eva is forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small mountain town, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children escaping to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Remy, Eva realises she must find a way to preserve…

The Librarian's Vampire Assistant

By Mimi Jean Pamfiloff,

Book cover of The Librarian's Vampire Assistant

Tania Gold Author Of Prophecy of a Vampire

From the list on a different perspective of the Vampire genre.

Who am I?

I’ve loved Vampire Romance themes since I was a teenager. They were all over the house, with my mum and my sister both reading them too, all part of our home library. I can’t count how many series and standalone books I’ve read, but I don’t foresee it ever stopping. Whilst I am also a fan of fantasy and sci-fi, I love the romance factor in Paranormal books. As a result, I find them to be best suited for my mood. I not only read paranormal romance but write it and have dabbled in researching backgrounds on the myths of vampires, which led me to read vampire novels that integrate fiction and speculation.

Tania's book list on a different perspective of the Vampire genre

Discover why each book is one of Tania's favorite books.

Why did Tania love this book?

I found some concepts in this book interesting.

For example, vampires can eat food, although it doesn’t sustain them as well as blood. In my novel, whilst they don’t eat food, and drink from blood bags, it is mainly blood from the vein that sustains them the most.

I think this is a similar concept, where vampires don’t necessarily need to drink blood from a human or an animal all the time. 

By Mimi Jean Pamfiloff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Librarian's Vampire Assistant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From New York Times Bestseller Mimi Jean Pamfiloff comes a Horribly Sunny Mystery, The Librarian’s Vampire Assistant.


Who killed Michael Vanderhorst’s maker? It’s a darn good question. But when the trail brings Michael to hellishly sunny Phoenix, Arizona, his biggest problem soon becomes a cute little librarian he can’t seem to stay away from. He’s never met a bigger danger magnet! Even her book cart has it out for her. And is that the drug cartel following her around, too? “Dear God, woman! What have you gotten yourself into?”

Things go from bad…

Checked Out

By Elizabeth Spann Craig,

Book cover of Checked Out

Debbie De Louise Author Of A Stone's Throw

From the list on mystery series featuring libraries and librarians.

Who am I?

I enjoy reading and writing cozy mysteries, especially ones that feature libraries and cats because I’m a librarian and have three cats of my own. I like cozies because they focus on characters who can become your fictional friends as you learn more about them with each book. I like the fact that there’s a minimum of violence and even though there may be romance, there are no explicit sex scenes. I’ve always enjoyed reading stories with twists and secrets that are revealed slowly to the reader. These are the type of books that you can savor along with a cup of tea seated next to a purring cat. 

Debbie's book list on mystery series featuring libraries and librarians

Discover why each book is one of Debbie's favorite books.

Why did Debbie love this book?

Like most cozies, the first book of the Village Library Mysteries takes place in a small town, Whitby, North Carolina. The main character, Ann Beckett, like me, is a reference librarian. When a patron sets her up with a blind date and the mystery man turns up dead, Ann steps up to help solve the murder with the help of a few patrons. I loved and related to the library setting and the situations in which Ann found herself and also really enjoyed the addition of Fitz, the rescued library cat. I consider this a purrfect start to the series.

By Elizabeth Spann Craig,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Checked Out as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There are no renewals when you’re permanently checked out.

When librarian Ann Beckett finally reluctantly agrees to being set-up on a blind date by one of her over-eager patrons, she figures the worst that could happen would be the two of them wouldn’t hit it off.

Little did she know that she’d be stood up...because her date was murdered.

With help from her patrons, Ann tries to find out who might be responsible in the small town of Whitby before more residents are permanently checked out.

That Book Woman

By Heather Henson, David Small (illustrator),

Book cover of That Book Woman

Sharlee Glenn Author Of Library on Wheels: Mary Lemist Titcomb and America's First Bookmobile

From the list on libraries and librarians.

Who am I?

As I wrote in my author's note for Library on Wheels: "Growing up as a book-loving child in rural Utah in the 1960s and '70s, I developed a strong emotional connection to the bookmobile. My father died in a mining accident when I was five, leaving my mother with seven children to raise on her own. We didn't have much money or many opportunities, but every two weeks the bookmobile brought the universe to me." As a writer of children's books, I was immediately intrigued when I ran across an obscure reference to Mary Lemist Titcomb, credited with being the inventor of the bookmobile in America--and I knew at once that I had to write about her. 

Sharlee's book list on libraries and librarians

Discover why each book is one of Sharlee's favorite books.

Why did Sharlee love this book?

The spare lyricism of both the text and illustrations of That Book Woman tug at the heartstrings without being overly sentimental. Young Cal works hard with his Pap on their Appalachian farm. Unlike his sister, an avid reader, Cal thinks he was not “born / to sit so stoney-still / a-starin’ at some chicken scratch.” But his grudging admiration for “that book woman” who just keeps coming and coming, rain, snow, or shine, eventually leads him to a love of books.

I love the gentle way that That Book Woman pays homage to the WPA Pack Horse Librarians of the 1930s.

By Heather Henson, David Small (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked That Book Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An exquisitely illustrated paean to everyone who struggles to learn how to read, and to everyone who won’t give up on them.

Cal is not the readin' type. Living way high up in the Appalachian Mountains, he'd rather help Pap plow or go out after wandering sheep than try some book learning. Nope. Cal does not want to sit stoney-still reading some chicken scratch. But that Book Woman keeps coming just the same. She comes in the rain. She comes in the snow. She comes right up the side of the mountain, and Cal knows that's not easy riding. And…

Book cover of The Librarian of Crooked Lane

Nellie H. Steele Author Of Death of a Duchess

From the list on historical fiction with a dash of magic.

Who am I?

I’ve always loved history, whether ancient or “modern.” Past societies and how humanity has changed over the years has always fascinated me. As a young mystery reader, I began with Nancy Drew and then quickly graduated to Victoria Holt. I’m not sure there’s a gothic fiction reader out there who won’t be familiar with that name. The stories are a wonderful blend of mystery, history, and a dash of the supernatural. Decades later, I’d write my fourth series, Duchess of Blackmoore Mysteries, in true gothic Victorian style.

Nellie's book list on historical fiction with a dash of magic

Discover why each book is one of Nellie's favorite books.

Why did Nellie love this book?

Another entry by C.J. Archer (can you tell I like this author?) and another great blending of genres.  Set in turn of the century England but including the existence of magic, the world-building is sure to immerse you and keep you reading on to the next book. Again, the “mystery” built in is not your typical, which makes the reading all the more intriguing.

By C.J. Archer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Librarian of Crooked Lane as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A librarian with a mysterious past, a war hero with a secret, and the heist of a magic painting. THE LIBRARIAN OF CROOKED LANE is an intriguing new fantasy from C.J. Archer, the USA Today bestselling author of the Glass and Steele series.

Librarian Sylvia Ashe knows nothing about her past, having grown up without a father and a mother who refused to discuss him. When she stumbles upon a diary that suggests she’s descended from magicians, she’s skeptical. After all, magicians are special, and she’s just an ordinary girl who loves books. She seeks the truth from a member…

The Invisible Library

By Genevieve Cogman,

Book cover of The Invisible Library

D. Hale Rambo Author Of Between the Lines

From the list on women sleuths who use mind over might.

Who am I?

As an amateur sleuth, I’m always intrigued by the structure of mysteries and the characters who solve them. Every remarkable story has a mystery at its core. Tales where the whodunnit drives the tension are my favorite, though. I’ve dissected countless stories from Sherlock Holmes to Phryne Fisher, breaking them down until the books have literally fallen apart. Thank goodness for e-readers! I’ve found that my favorites revolve around the magical, the witty, and the vivacious women who know how to distract with words while they pull prints off your cup. Those are the sleuths I want to write about often–and wish I could have a cocktail with! 

D.'s book list on women sleuths who use mind over might

Discover why each book is one of D.'s favorite books.

Why did D. love this book?

I love libraries and books about books. What reader doesn’t? There are a lot of shenanigans and mysteries contained within this first in a series where librarians travel to other worlds to find books to add to the one true Library. There are werewolves, dragons, and the wittiest fae imaginable. And through them, all clever focused Irene consistently uses her smarts before she reacts to the conflict. Amid the chaos, she’s quick thinking which I love. You can’t trust just anyone to retrieve a good book and she makes it clear that a proper librarian is the universe's best option. 

By Genevieve Cogman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Invisible Library as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure—the first in the Invisible Library series!
One thing any Librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction...
Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it's already been stolen.
London's underground factions are prepared to fight to the death…

The Archivist

By Martha Cooley,

Book cover of The Archivist

Amy Tector Author Of The Foulest Things

From the list on quirky archivists.

Who am I?

I’ve been an archivist at Canada’s national archives for more than twenty years. I love my job. Archives are, by their very nature, a collection of miscellany that weren’t created to be preserved or remembered. They are the scraps of paper and hurriedly sent emails produced while the world is out making history. As a result, they offer unselfconscious glimpses into the past. Archives are poorly understood, which means that the folks who decide to devote their professional lives to them are often a little quirky and a bit odd. This makes books featuring archivists celebrations of the off-kilter, the overlooked, and the frankly strange. 

Amy's book list on quirky archivists

Discover why each book is one of Amy's favorite books.

Why did Amy love this book?

A dark meditation on guilt, love, and marriage, it intersperses the story of Matthias, the titular archivist with the life and work of T. S. Eliot, whose letters he’s charged with keeping. When a young scholar wants to read these letters ahead of their scheduled opening, Matthias must wrestle with his own repressed feelings about his past, with some incidents paralleling the poet’s. I enjoyed it for the meditation on how archives can bridge that gap between the past and the present.

By Martha Cooley,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A battle of wills between Matt, a careful, orderly archivist for a private university, and Roberta, a determined young poet, over a collection of T.S. Eliot's letters, sealed by bequest until 2019, sparks an unusual friendship and reawakens painful memories of the past

Upright Women Wanted

By Sarah Gailey,

Book cover of Upright Women Wanted

Liza Street Author Of Blood Bounty

From the list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance.

Who am I?

As an author and a lifelong lover of books, I read all genres. My favorites are set in fantastical worlds with unique settings. The mash-up of history and fantasy is endlessly compelling to me, and I always want to see a romantic subplot (or main plot!) in the books I read. I want a happily-ever-after even when the strange world and its villains are conspiring against the main characters. 

Liza's book list on historical fantasy with a touch of romance

Discover why each book is one of Liza's favorite books.

Why did Liza love this book?

The romance in Upright Women Wanted is very subtle, but it is more powerful for that subtlety. This dystopian, Wild Western setting is light on the fantasy and is considered “near future” instead of historical, yet the vibe is distinctly historical. In this harsh world, women are considered property and laws are upheld by a military government. However, librarians are free to travel. When the heroine stows away with them, she embarks on an adventure she never could’ve imagined. I would gladly read ten more books set in this world!

By Sarah Gailey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Upright Women Wanted as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.

"That girl's got more wrong notions than a barn owl's got mean looks."

Esther is a stowaway. She's hidden herself away in the Librarian's book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her--a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.

The future American Southwest is full of…

Planting Stories

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar (illustrator),

Book cover of Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré

Ana Siqueira Author Of Bella's Recipe for Success

From the list on fabulosos Latinx picture books.

Who am I?

Ana Siqueira is a Spanish-language elementary teacher, an award-winning Brazilian children’s author, and a published author in the Foreign Language educational market. Her debut picture book is Bella’s Recipe for Disaster/Success (Beaming Books, 2021), Her forthcoming books are If Your Babysitter Is a Bruja/ Cuando Tu Niñera Es Una Bruja (SimonKids, 2022), Abuela’s Super Capa/La Super Capa De Abuela (HarperCollins 2023) - two-book deal auction, Room in Mami’s Corazon (HarperCollins 2024) and some others that can’t be announced yet. Ana is a member of SCBWI, Las Musas Books, and co-founder of LatinxPitch. You can learn more about Ana, by following her.

Ana's book list on fabulosos Latinx picture books

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Why did Ana love this book?

In this story about Pura Belpre, the Puerto Rican librarian, we learn about her journey of planting story seeds throughout the country. It all starts when she moves to the United States. Working as a bilingual librarian assistant, she notices there are no Puerto Rican stories. So, she writes her own and plants also dream seeds. This is a sparse, lyrical book with vivid and sweet illustrations. 

By Anika Aldamuy Denise, Paola Escobar (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Planting Stories as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


When she came to America in 1921, Pura carried the cuentos folkloricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura's legacy.

This portrait of the influential librarian, author, and puppeteer reminds us of the…

Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians

By Brandon Sanderson, Hayley Lazo (illustrator),

Book cover of Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians

S. Breaker Author Of Save Yourself

From the list on action-packed offbeat sci-fi and fantasy.

Who am I?

To me, a good story is where things happen. I like fast-paced action, grand adventures, snarky banter, and happy endings. I especially like books that don’t take themselves too seriously. Being an author of non-stop action adventure, offbeat science fiction and fantasy books, I write easy-to-read, compelling stories with just as much conflict and danger while maintaining an overarching atmosphere of levity and hope. Suburban mom by day and author by night, I love to live vicariously through my characters. They don’t have to vacuum all day long and are almost always guaranteed to survive any fantastical or thrilling incidents, no matter how treacherous I write them.

S.'s book list on action-packed offbeat sci-fi and fantasy

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Why did S. love this book?

This book was action-packed and hilarious! Such a whimsical and fun adventure about an "orphan" boy who discovers he's got incredible (if unorthodox) powers and a much more prestigious lineage than he ever knew about. A common premise but with a refreshing execution. I also found the narrative highly entertaining with its breaking the fourth wall. It gave a personal insight into the author’s excellent sense of humor. This was my first Brandon Sanderson read. I'm off to read Skyward next. I'm sure I will love it too.

By Brandon Sanderson, Hayley Lazo (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Experience the action-packed first book in #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson's laugh-out-loud middle-grade fantasy series like never before—now in paperback with all new covers!


Everything I'd known about the world was a lie.

On my thirteenth birthday, I, Alcatraz Smedry (yes, I got named after a prison, don’t ask) received my inheritance: a bag of sand. And then I accidentally destroyed my foster parents’ kitchen. It’s not my fault, things just break around me, I swear!

I thought the sand was a joke until evil Librarians came to steal it. You’re probably thinking,…

The Librarian Spy

By Madeline Martin,

Book cover of The Librarian Spy: A Novel of World War II

Dedra L. Stevenson Author Of The Buchanan Bastard

From the list on epic crime dramas and fantasy with strong females.

Who am I?

I went through what I call a “serial killer’s childhood,” with one personal family tragedy after another. After reading about the backgrounds of notorious serial killers, I asked myself what made me any different. Well, for starters, books. I escaped crippling shyness and anxiety through books. I became fascinated by the supernatural, which was probably why I ended up writing a trilogy about the Jinn, the beings of an unseen dimension as believed by every Muslim on the planet. Moving to the Middle East and living here for more than three decades has also influenced my taste in books and influenced my writing.

Dedra's book list on epic crime dramas and fantasy with strong females

Discover why each book is one of Dedra's favorite books.

Why did Dedra love this book?

Once upon a time, I was a professional librarian, and I remember thinking what a perfect placement for a spy. This would make the perfect setting for a spy novel, so imagine my surprise when this novel came along! Martin has created a fine period piece in this as well, and the reader is walking through scenes from World War II and experiencing this world through the protagonist’s eyes. I love books and films that have been set in the past, and I highly recommend this one. 

By Madeline Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Librarian Spy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


“Readers will be on the edge of their seats….  A brilliant tale of resistance, courage and ultimately hope.”  –Kelly Rimmer, New York Times bestselling author of The Warsaw Orphan

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Bookshop in London comes a moving new novel inspired by the true history of America’s library spies of World War II.

Ava thought her job as a librarian at the Library of Congress would mean a quiet, routine existence. But an unexpected offer from the US military has brought her to Lisbon with a new mission: posing as…

The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Paul Indigo Author Of Love Deleted

From the list on story ideas with characters you fall in love with.

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller who loves ‘oh my gosh’ ideas. Something that, the moment I hear about it, it captivates me. I also love characters who are deeply heart-warming and pleasurable to be around. For me, delving into the intimacy of a character’s mind and their shifting relationships with others is a pleasure. This is why I’m so attracted to contemporary domestic family issues or love stories with living, breathing characters. By pairing it with a puzzling or shocking wow of an idea to investigate, I can explore my character’s unique world and set it at odds with something that threatens that existence.

Paul's book list on story ideas with characters you fall in love with

Discover why each book is one of Paul's favorite books.

Why did Paul love this book?

This book captivated me the moment I heard the idea.

The concept that a man could have time-code errors in his genetic code that throws him randomly into different periods of his life fascinated me. Pairing it with a heart-warming love story where the couple meet when Henry is 36 years and Clare, five and their struggles with his condition is the icing on the cake.

This is an eloquently-written love story that involves you immediately, together with an idea that’s thoughtful and original. Despite the hopelessness of his condition, it ends so upliftingly well. It’s a story I’ve returned to time and again.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…