20 Books Celebrating our Love of Book Shops and Libraries

Libraries Week runs from 4-10 October and is an annual showcase and celebration of the best that libraries have to offer. And then we have Bookshop Day on Saturday 9th October too. What a fabulous week for us booklovers! To celebrate, we have created a fabulous collection of books that really showcase these absolute treasures.

Go on, dive in, waht are you waiting for.

And don't forget to let us know in the comments which ones you think should be included here.

The Last Library

The Last Library

Author: Freya Sampson Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/09/2021

June Jones is a library assistant who has not moved much further than her fiction section. It’s where she grew up and it feels like home. She picks up the role after her mum passes away, and what tough shoes they are to fill. Incredibly shy and socially awkward June is forced to come out of her comfort zone and fight for what she believes in when the library is forced with closure. It’s such a warm and uplifting story of community, of kindness, of love and libraries. And along the way you really come to care for the characters who frequent the library: from Stanley Phelps, the Wodehouse-like gentleman who enjoys WWII historical fiction to the irascible Mrs B who complains about every book, to romance lover Linda.  This heart-warming tale takes you on a journey through books and characters, reminding you of everything you’ve ever read since you were a child. It’s a story of personal growth, of finding strength, the importance of friendships and love. I devoured it.

The Littlest Library

The Littlest Library

Author: Poppy Alexander Format: Paperback Release Date: 18/03/2021

What do you get if you mix romance, bats in the attic, and a library, you get the most comforting warm embrace of a read, that’s what. When Jess starts a new life she discovers her cottage comes with the addition of a telephone box that has to be used for the community. What would a former librarian do, turn it into a little library of course. Jess needs a helping hand in the confidence department, and her willingness to lend her hand and get involved  means she has a lot of support. I just couldn’t resist this one, the title and cover called out to me, and I settled down with a smile. Poppy Alexander has created a perfect escape, with  an idyllic village, intruiging neighbours, and several relationships to ooh and aah over. While romance most definitely features, friendship lies at the heart of this novel, with community spirit to the fore. The Littlest Library is a wonderfully easy and soothing read and I’ve chosen it as one of my Liz Picks of the Month.  

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Librarian

The Librarian

Author: Salley Vickers Format: Paperback Release Date: 01/11/2018

It's 1958 and Sylvia Blackwell is appointed children's librarian in the long-forgotten library in East Mole. Her enthusiasm to inspire the children and engender a love of reading doesn't quite go to plan when she falls in love and the town she grew to love turns on her.  A gorgeously delightful and nostalgic book that makes you hanker back to a lost time when children's literature first stole your heart.

The Shadow of the Wind

The Shadow of the Wind

Author: Carlos Ruiz Zafon Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/02/2012

A Special Edition of The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon to celebrate Orion's 20th anniversary. Barcelona, a city of secret police and secret love.  In it a bookseller’s son finds a forgotten novel and stumbles upon a mystery as all copies of the author’s books are sought and destroyed by a sinister character who calls himself after the devil.  The reason why and the intrigue surrounding the author’s fate hold us through this extraordinarily compulsive, yet satisfactorily literary thriller, one of the best books of the year.  Quite brilliant.  

eBooks of the Month
Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore

Author: Robin Sloan Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/02/2014

A Maxim Jakubowski selected title. I'm a sucker for novels about books, writers, publishers (I wonder why?) and this unclassifiable thriller set in San Francisco is a delightful guilty pleasure. A mysterious hole in the wall bookstore and even more enigmatic owner (with a nod to Carlos Ruiz Zafon), a series of random volumes in an undecipherable language, codes, quirky but all too human protagonists, secret societies, conspiracies galore and the all-encompassing reach of the Internet and technological developments with its attendant geeks and nerds as well as brainy beauties form an incandescent and sparkling cocktail unlike any other. I wish I hadn't read it already so I could read it all over again and marvel at very surprising turn of the page. A winning bolt out of the blue.   Sarah Broadhurst's View :- This is a very strange tale where the old meet the new, where ancient text which is being analysed by a mysterious group is borrowed by a young man, Clay, who takes it to Google City and solves a puzzle that others have taken centuries to unravel (and not succeeded!).  If you are into the advantages technology gives us then you will love the contrasting worlds here, for the conclusion seems to be that technology conquers all … Well … maybe.   Who is Sarah Broadhurst?

eBooks of the Month
The Bookshop

The Bookshop

Author: Penelope Fitzgerald Format: Paperback Release Date: 03/01/1998

Shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Hardborough becomes a battleground. Florence has tried to change the way things have always been done, and as a result, she has to take on not only the people who have made themselves important, but natural and even supernatural forces too. Her fate will strike a chord with anyone who knows that life has treated them with less than justice. Click here to read Penelope Fitzgerald's son-in-law discuss her legacy to coincide with the 100th anniversary of her birth.

eBooks of the Month
The Library

The Library

Author: Bella Osborne Format: Paperback Release Date: 06/01/2022

Tom is a teenager and blends into the background of life. After a row with his dad, and facing an unhappy future at the dog food factory, he escapes to the library. Tom unwittingly ends up with a bagful of romance novels and comes under the suspicion of Maggie. Maggie is a pensioner and has been happily alone for ten years, at least that's what she tells herself. When Tom comes to her rescue a friendship develops that could change her life. As Maggie helps Tom to stand up for himself, Tom helps Maggie realise the mistakes of her past don't have to define her future. They each set out to prove that the library isn't just about books - it's the heart of their community. Together they discover some things are worth fighting for.

The Library of Lost and Found

The Library of Lost and Found

Author: Phaedra Patrick Format: Paperback Release Date: 27/06/2019

A beautifully charming, amusing, and gentle read, visiting with great empathy and grace occasional cloudy darkness. Library volunteer Martha Storm is a quietly helpful, book-loving hoarder. When she finds a mysterious book relating to her past, Martha begins to see the possibilities life can offer. I have used the word quirky previously for Phaedra Patrick’s writing and it again popped into my mind for ‘The Library of Lost and Found’. This is an author who explores different, cheers on quiet, and celebrates the unique properties to be found in each of us. The words sang to me, I gathered them up and hugged every single one as they arrived in my mind. I adored this read, my heart filled with love for the characters as I smiled and felt heart-ache alongside them. Other magical stories can be found within the pages, they arrive and make a considerate, thoughtful point. ‘The Library of Lost and Found’ is there waiting for anyone who has ever felt a little lost or lonely, it is a wonderful read and I have chosen it as one of my picks of the month. Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookshops

Author: Jen Campbell Format: Hardback Release Date: 26/03/2012

April 2012 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. Having been a bookseller, one of my weirdest moments was being asked for a pound of sausages. We tracked that down to the shop having been a butcher in a previous incarnation but really, looking round is a Bookshop likely to sell sausages? Another time a customer hummed a tune and got into a rage when I couldn’t identify it, pointing out that we were a book and not a music shop, his rage increased and a letter of complaint was duly sent to my Managing Director who dealt with him rather like the unfortunate youth who got caught peeing through our letter box. Something about bookshops seems to attract weirdness and it helps to alleviate a dull day for the long suffering bookseller.  Reading through the collection put together by Jen Campbell makes me realise that a lot more weirdness could have come my way, some of it mind boggling bizarre. Think before you speak might be one way of addressing the problem but then half the fun would go out of life, nowt so weird as folk.... Normally in my Like for Like recommendations I list books in print but it just so happens that two of the best on weird books are out of print – never mind - plenty for sale on Amazon and for book lovers there is plenty to enjoy in these walks on the wilder shores of bibliography.Like for Like Reading:Scouts in Bondage & other Books from an Innocent Age, Michael Bell + various hardback 96 pages Aurum 23rd October 2006 9781845131968Bizarre Books, Russell Ash & Brian Lake + various paperback 196 pages Pavilion 17th September 1998 9780965887649

eBooks of the Month
The Strange Library

The Strange Library

Author: Haruki Murakami Format: Hardback Release Date: 02/12/2014

This is a strange little book indeed; soulful, sorrowful and yet curiously engaging and charming. Translated from Japanese and including wonderful illustrations, drawings and photos, this quirky tale draws you into it’s deep dark secrets from the moment you turn the very first page. The illustrations have been beautifully considered and hold hands with the tale as it slinks and skulks along. Even though this is narrated by a schoolboy, with fairly simple language, this is anything but simplistic and childish. Sheep and doughnuts have appeared before in this author’s works - make of that what you will! As a word of warning, reading this may leave you wanting to run in the opposite direction from any little old men who happen to approach you in the library, especially if it has a basement, but it’s well worth that particular affliction.

eBooks of the Month
Night Music

Night Music

Author: John Connolly Format: Paperback Release Date: 20/10/2016

If you are an intrepid reader and delight in the creatively eerie, startling and spine-chilling, then some distinctive and perfectly crafted short stories await. Of course there are 13 tales, however there is nothing about the obvious here, as they range in length from one page to a novella, then float through history, fantasy and reality. ‘Night Music’ has the ability to encourage the imagination to go into overdrive, so it felt as though John Connolly was wielding a sharpened and potentially double-edged pen when I found further books, some alive with malice, lurking within the pages. I particularly enjoyed ‘The Caxton Private Lending Library and Book Depository’ which will remain vibrantly alive and functioning within my mind. So from the strangely weird and wonderful, through to bitterly sorrowful, and grimly formidable, here have gathered, waiting to provoke your imagination, some wonderfully readable tales of the supernatural. One of our Books of the Year 2015. 

eBooks of the Month
The Cat Who Saved Books

The Cat Who Saved Books

Author: Sosuke Natsukawa Format: Hardback Release Date: 16/09/2021

An absolute little treasure! After the death of his grandfather, Rintaro finds himself on an adventure with Tiger the talking cat, to help books that desperately need saving. This incredibly quirky and beautiful novel highlights the importance of books, friendship, and self-belief. The simplicity of the story highlights the warmth, the love, and the true power of books. It also encouraged me to explore my own relationship with books. Sosuke Natsukawa painted images straight into my thoughts, simple, clear, vividly bright, they still sit in my minds eye. A shout out to the translation by Louise Heal Kawai, as I felt as though I was reading the original Japanese version. If you, like me, think of books as being more than words on paper, if you talk to them and pat them, are moved by them and have thoughts altered by them, then I recommend The Cat Who Saved Books with my heart and soul. Chosen as one of my Liz Picks of the Month, it really would make the perfect gift, either for you, or another book-lover in your life.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane

The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane

Author: Ellen Berry Format: Paperback Release Date: 14/07/2016

An enjoyable and captivating relationship tale, where an enchanting bookshop takes centre stage, what more could you ask for! Della has a special relationship with her mother’s cookbooks, she is convinced that a specialist bookshop will work, but not everyone agrees. Ellen Berry also writes as Fiona Gibson, her novels have focused on women as they negotiate rocky relationship roads, and are always warm, amusing and full of hope. Here, we also occasionally hear from the men, their thoughts as they ponder over the hand they've been dealt by life offer a new perspective, these really are interesting snapshot additions to the storyline. This is the first in the ‘Rosemary Lane’ series, focusing on family and friends, ups and downs, life as it really is, ‘The Bookshop on Rosemary Lane’ is a feel-good and absolutely charming read.

eBooks of the Month
How to Find Love in a Book Shop

How to Find Love in a Book Shop

Author: Veronica Henry Format: Paperback Release Date: 22/09/2016

One of our Books of the Year 2016. A lovely, gentle read, full of interesting characters, and at the heart of it all, a rather wonderful book shop called Nightingale Books. In this charming romance, we take a peek into the lives of a number of people, and all have a link of some kind, with the book shop. The range of characters means you dip in out of lives, witness a flirtation here, and moment of drama there. You don't get the chance to know anyone very intimately, rather this is a dance across a world of relationship possibilities. Every now and then Veronica Henry includes a list of top ten books for the characters, ranging from novels set in Ireland, to cult classics, this alone made for an interesting read, and I wondered what type of book list I would have. With some rather neat endings to be discovered, ‘How to Find Love in a Bookshop’ is a delightfully easy and heart warming read. A 'Piece of Passion' from the publisher... 'What’s not to love about a novel that celebrates book shops, bookselling, and the joy of sharing the books that matter to us. When Ronnie first had the idea for HOW TO FIND LOVE IN A BOOK SHOP, I knew she’d hit on something special. Through Nightingale Books, tucked in a little Cotswold village, Ronnie introduces us to a beautifully-drawn cast of characters: Emilia, grieving for her father but hoping to continue his legacy through his book shop; Sarah finding solace among the book shop shelve from a disappointing marriage; and my favourite, Thomasina, the painfully shy, mousy teacher who cooks like Nigella, but has no one to share her feasts with. Nightingale Books plays a special part in their lives, albeit in very different ways. Tender, touching and full of Ronnie’s trademark warmth and joie-de-vive, this is a delicious novel. Sometimes a book comes along that makes you want to pack up your life and live in its very pages. This is exactly that book. I hope you enjoy it.' Kate Mills, Publishing Director, Orion Explore our '80+ Books That Deliver a Hug' listicle for more feel-good or uplifting books.

eBooks of the Month
Bibliophile

Bibliophile

Author: Jane Mount Format: Hardback Release Date: 01/09/2018

A book to fall in love with, to pick up and browse through again and again. I couldn’t put it down, I kept telling myself that I would read just one more page. So, let me introduce you to this treasure, take a look at the cover, at the stack of beautifully illustrated books, isn’t it stunning? Inside an Aladdin’s Cave awaits, glimpses of bookshops, literary facts, and recommendations galore. I’ve picked out a huge number of books to add to my TBR (to be read) pile and waved hello to a good many old friends. The illustrations by Jane Mount are truly delightful, they pop with colour and encouraged me to sink further into the pages. American bookstores and bookish people recommendations do feature heavily, however this really is beautifully world wide inclusive book, at the end of the day books are books are books! ‘Bibliophile’ is the most wonderful pick up and lose yourself in gem, it is absolutely crammed full of book love and would make the perfect present for bookish friends (or even of course yourself!).

The Librarian

The Librarian

Author: Allie Morgan Format: Hardback Release Date: 04/02/2021

The library saved her. Now she wants to save the library. I'm a librarian. Every day I encounter people. I serve the regulars, the crime enthusiastics, the bookworms, the homeless, the eccentrics, the jobless, the teenagers, the toddlers, the aged. I know my community well. And they know me. The library is a sanctuary for some, a place for warmth for others and, on many occassions, an internet cafe. It's not always the books that bring us together. That's why you might be surprised to hear that I've been a witness to an attempted murder, a target for a drugs gang and the last hope for people in desperate poverty. The quirks of library life. But what I didn't expect was for a simple part-time job to become a passionate battle for survivial, both for me and for the library. I'm sharing stories from my daily life to show you that being a librarian isn't what you think it is. Libraries are falling apart at the seams and we need to start caring before its too late. So this is my eye-opening account of the strange and wonderful library that saved me and why I'm on a mission to save yours.

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread

Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread

Author: Michiko Kakutani Format: Hardback Release Date: 20/10/2020

Dedicated to “readers and writers everywhere” this is a stunning gift of a book for every devoted bibliophile. Ex Libris: 100+ Books to Read and Reread is a beautiful, beautiful reminder of the power and the joy of books.  Libris is used as an inscription on a bookplate to show the name of the book's owner. I’ve never had one, I’ve always wanted one. Life goals right there. Michiko Kakutani is perfectly placed to write this “magical brick-sized object”, as she wonderfully speaks of books. She is a Pulitzer Prize-winning literary critic and the former chief book critic of The New York Times. And this really is a beautifully packaged, beautifully illustrated magical gift of a book. From her fascinating introduction talking of her love of books burgeoning from a young age,  she comments on how books “give us the stories of men and women we will never meet in person, illuminate the discoveries made by great minds, and allow us access to the wisdom of earlier generations.” Don’t they just, and this book is a perfect celebration of that. I too am an avid reader. I always have been. I also was the one in my house who wanted to read all the books and who wore out her library card. As a lover of books, you can’t help but engage, dive in, eat her words up hungrily and pore over the accompanying illustrations of alternative book plates by the talented Dana Tanamachi. This book is an absolute gem. Michiko takes you on a literary journey via these “tiny time machines”. Oh how I adore her expressive way of talking about books. She lists more than 100 books across the decades and from a variety of genres – books that have shaped her life, complemented by illuminating essays about them. The themes include books about work and vocation, democracy and tyranny, the war on terror and housekeeping. Her selections range from Shakespeare to Toni Morrison to Abraham Lincoln and Dr Seuss right through to Educated by Tara Westover and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead (all of whom I heartily agree with!) The introduction includes the words of Virginia Woolf who famously said: “the pleasure of reading is so great that the world would be a far different and far inferior place without it”. And boy, are we reminded of this. As Michiko comments, the list is “subjective and decidedly arbitrary” but it doesn’t feel that way. I wholeheartedly bought into her excitement, and her passion for reading. Whatever books mean to you, they connect us all and this is a timely reminder of that; a stunning anthology of over 100 gems we all should read and re-read. And next on my list is...best get back to that bookshop!  

The Library

The Library

Author: Arthur der Weduwen, Andrew Pettegree Format: Hardback Release Date: 14/10/2021

A fascinating in-depth history of the library, this book weaves its way through time and is overflowing with tidbits and facts. The Library calls itself a: “fragile history”, and as beleaguered as our public libraries are today, you can see their past suffering too. This isn’t a light and breezy offering, it is serious, and seriously epic in its scope. I took my time, and soaked up the information, from learning about the gathering of baked clay tablets in Mesopotamia, how Popes, Kings, and Monasteries affected Libraries, the arrival of vertical shelving rather than trunks, all the way through and past the Second World War. I have always supported the idea of the library, but never before really thought about how they came into being, how books are selected, the discrimination and censorship that has taken place. Libraries should be a safe welcoming place for everyone, but that of course depends on a huge range of factors, all of which are detailed here. Arthur der Weduwen and Andrew Pettegree have spent time in over 300 libraries and archives, their acknowledgements and research material is listed. If you are interested in a detailed thought-provoking look into the history of the library, then The Library will answer your call. Chosen as a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month.

Liz Robinson's Picks of the Month
The Reading List

The Reading List

Author: Sara Nisha Adams Format: Hardback Release Date: 22/07/2021

How I loved this novel, it’s heartbreaking yet warming, beautifully deep yet has a light touch, and is vibrantly colourful yet gentle too. A reading list finds its way to people needing a helping hand. Prepare yourself for a number of emotions, as mental health, grief, fear, and loneliness are written into the pages with huge compassion and empathy. This book truly spoke to me, it is full of love and hope, and highlights inclusivity and kindness. Oh, and that cover, just gorgeous! There are a number of characters waiting to meet you, however the pairing and friendship of Aleisha and Mukesh sits centre stage and creates an inspiring glow. Sara Nisha Adams introduces the books from the reading list with great care and attention, ensuring that while they are discussed by the characters there are no spoilers. So if you haven’t had the pleasure of reading them, you’ll be enticed into finding a copy. One of my favourite sections declares: “When you really like a book, you need to read it again! To relive what you loved and find out what you missed before. Books always change as the person who reads them changes too”. I really can recommend The Reading List with my heart and soul, and I’m glad to declare it a LoveReading Star Book.

eBooks of the Month

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