Books and nerds often go hand in hand (literally). I love being surrounded by books, mine or others’. I love to read them, of course, but I also love looking at them, learning about them, organizing them, and just generally appreciating them. There’s a new book that not only allows people like me to revel in the books we already enjoy, but to discover new books, writers, bookstores and libraries, and even entire genres we hadn’t considered before.
Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount is about books. It’s about things in books, things about books, places to find books, specific books, trends in books, types of books, recommended books, books made into movies, covers of books, finding books, and writing books. In short, it’s a book lover’s book. A meta book, if you will.
The book’s contents need not be read in sequence; this isn’t a “read cover to cover” type of book, though you can do it that way if you like. It’s a book filled with fascinating facts and interesting information. Paging through it is like looking through your favorite bookstore: there are secrets behind every corner/page.
Each page includes gorgeous illustrations of book covers, book spines, authors, buildings, cats, and/or dogs. I can imagine the fun that the author/illustrator had in recreating favorite and important book covers. They all are quite faithful to the originals and are gorgeously hand done.
If you’re looking to revisit some old favorites or are looking for future reading recommendations, Bibliophile is a fun book to have. It includes plenty of inspiring book stacks organized by theme, a special look at different editions of Pride and Prejudice, profiles of dozens of independent bookstores, book recommendations from writers and other book-related folks, and plenty of information about libraries. Here are some of my personal takeaways from the recommended reading stacks:
- Love 1984? Have you tried other dystopian books such as The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin?
- Do you love nature and sleep with your Sibley Guide to Birds? Have you tried Andrea Wulf’s The Invention of Nature?
- Do you inhale everything British from the 1800s including Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre? Have you given George Eliot’s Middlemarch a try?
Facts in the book include the interesting story behind the cover image for The Great Gatsby, how a large bookstore in Detroit manages their uncomputerized inventory, why cats and bookstores go well together, the origins of the first Little Free Library, and the true story of the first Biblioburro.
If you love reading about books but want a fun, light-hearted, and beautiful way to do it, I highly recommend Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany for one more book to add to your bedside bookstack. Because books.
What’s on your pile of books to be read? Here’s my current list of partially-read-but-I’m-working-on-them books.
- Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South
- Andrew Sean Greer’s Less
- Arne Duncan’s How Schools Work
- Mark Forsyth’s The Elements of Eloquence
- Roy and Lesley Adkins’s Jane Austen’s England
- William Zinsser’s The Writer Who Stayed
Note: I received a copy of the book for review purposes.