Friday, April 03, 2009

Bleg: Novels About Books?

We're compiling a required summer reading list for Ateneo de Davao. I want to focus on novels because they're a more intensive and cohesive reading experience. In particular, I want to recommend books about books (and reading) -- and I hope the titles mentioned therein will encourage the readers to follow them later on.

So far only three books come to mind (being the ones I've read):

  • Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  • Mockingbird by Walter Tevis
  • Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

A few other titles did pop up during a quick search (thanks to this post about novels about books) but I have not come across them yet:

  • The Tuesday Next novels by Jasper Fforde (will be, er, next on my reading list as soon as the NBS sale happens)
  • Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  • Salamander by Thomas Wharton
  • Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons
Any other recommendations?


  1. name of the rose (umberto eco), the reader (bernard schlink), atonement (ian mcewan), inkheart (funke), yentl the yeshiva boy (singer), shadow of the wind (zafon). Shadow of the wind should be first on that list :)

  2. Thanks, Unca Gilbert. I knew I could count on you. Will look up Shadow of the Wind forthwith.

  3. I've read Carlos Ruiz Zafon's The Shadow of the Wind. Beautiful prose. And it has The Cemetery of Forgotten Books! Really cool concept.

  4. Neal Stephenson's The Diamond Age might qualify. It is a story about a girl who receives an interactive book called "A Young Lady's Illustrated Primer"...

  5. Novels about books. One comes to mind (aside from Dai Sijie) is The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana - Umberto Eco.

    It's about this elderly bookseller who lost all his personal memories after a stroke. The funny thing is, he can only remember every book he has read, memorable quotes, characters etc. and he tries to recount his lost memories through digging up old books, comics and other literary mementos.
    It's a really, really amazing read.

    I can lend you the book if you like :)

  6. The ultimate novel about books is one of the first and funniest novels ever written: Don Quixote.

    His comically crazy behavior is all caused by reading books. Don Quixote is many, many things, but it is also a giant parody of stories about nights. There's even a section about book burning that is genuis. Don Quixote is not light reading, but it is worth the effort, there are so many jokes, and so much buffoonery, you will laugh out loud. Plus, it's great to think that Cervantes was already creating metafiction and postmodernism a mere 400 years ago.

  7. Oops wrote nights. But I meant "Knights." Sorry.

  8. A.S. Byatt Possession; People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks; History of Love; The Professor and the Madman (an amazing history of one of the contributors to the Oxford English Dictionary).

    Thank you for this list, by the way. I have been looking to compile one myself.