Wolfner :: Recommended Readings :: Adult Bibliographies :: Books About Books

Books About Books


Listen to the bibliography

[ or download the media file ]

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. Happy Reading!

A bibliophile is a person who likes to read, collect, admire and possess books, and is often interested in the history of books and reading. To satisfy the curiosity of the bibliophiles among us, Special Services Librarian Elizabeth Lang has compiled this list of books about books and the people who love them.

The Book on the Bookshelf by Henry Petroski.
A history of the evolution of books--from scroll to codex to printed volume--and the bookshelves that hold them. Examines ingenious methods used by scholars and libraries over the centuries, such as the medieval practice of controlling and preserving texts by chaining them to a lectern. RC 49607.

Books That Changed the World by Robert B. Downs.
By distilling the essential ideas of books that have had the greatest influence, both for good and evil, and by placing such books in the context of their time, the author explores the effect they have had on western religious thought, culture, law, literature, science, and virtually every aspect of civilization. RC 33153, BR 8730.

Books That Made the Difference: What People Told Us by Gordon and Patricia Sabine.
An abridged version of the Library of Congress Center for the Book report of collected interviews with Americans about books that were important in their lives. Describes intensely personal reading experiences of artists, professors, a hotel doorman, a farmer, a waitress, and other "interesting Americans." Includes a foreword by Daniel J. Boorstin, The Librarian of Congress.
RC 24388, BR 6489

Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on Paper by Nicholson Baker.
Novelist and library activist Baker opposes the library practice of microfilming and then discarding old printed materials. He argues against the purported brittle-paper crisis and pleads for retaining old books and newspapers to be perused in their original format. RC 52808.

For the Love of Books: 115 Celebrated Writers on the Books They Love Most edited by Ronald B. Shwartz.
In brief essays, 115 writers--mostly American, British, and Canadian--identify three to six works that influenced or affected them most deeply and explain why. Respondents to editor Shwartz’s invitation, arranged alphabetically, include Dave Barry, Rita Dove, Penelope Fitzgerald, Pete Hamill, Elmore Leonard, Ved Mehta, Joyce Carol Oates, Mario Puzo, and Kurt Vonnegut.
RC 55283, BR 13101

Genius: A Mosaic of One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds by Harold H. Bloom.
Hoping to "activate the genius of appreciation" in his readers, a prolific critic and professor explores literary excellence through the ages by examining the works of one hundred writers. Arranged in groups of five, Bloom’s genius authors are presented in historical and cultural context. RC 55349.

A Gentle Madness: Bibliophiles, Bibliomanes, and the Eternal Passion for Books by Nicholas A. Basbanes.
Traces "the cycle of books among collectors, libraries, and dealers" to enlighten the "gentlest of infirmities," bibliomania. These richly anecdotal and well documented narratives cover some of the world’s great book collections, from the Alexandrian library to that of Thomas Jefferson. RC 42231.

How to Read a Book by Mortimer Jerome Adler and Charles Lincoln van Doren.
Revised edition of the 1940 bestselling guide to reading comprehension. Aimed at the general reader, the four sections discuss reading in relation to learning, thinking, understanding, and analytical skills. Presents various techniques for gaining familiarity with different kinds of literature. RC 53224.

Library: An Unquiet History by Matthew Battles.
Survey by Harvard rare-book specialist of historical events leading to both destruction and proliferation of libraries. Battles laments the burning of Alexandria’s library in ancient times, then explores preservation of literary culture by monks through medieval ages. Later observations cover Dewey’s classification legacy, twentieth-century book bonfires by the Nazis and others, and digital-age challenges.BR 15100.

Lost in a Book: The Psychology of Reading for Pleasure by Victor Nell.
Why do we lose ourselves in a good book? Nell explains his theory based on research over a six-year period. He claims you must be skilled at reading before you can enjoy pleasure reading, and that pleasure reading need not be sophisticated reading. RC 29403.

The Most Wonderful Books: Writers on Discovering the Pleasures of Reading edited by Michael Dorris and Emilie Buchwald.
A collection of short essays by fifty-seven authors who reflect on favorite childhood books or the significance of reading. Sherman Alexie recalls that he learned to read with a Superman comic book. Confined to her house by polio, Bapsi Sidhwa discovered "an alternate existence" in books. Contains brief biographical notes on contributors. RC 47143.

On Learning to Read: The Child’s Fascination with Meaning by Bruno Bettelheim and Karen Zelan.
A noted child psychologist and his associate report on their study concerning the purpose, function, and significance of reading. They believe that reading is taught incorrectly in schools, where technical skills (word recognition and decoding unknown words ) are the goal. Learning to read should go beyond that, they assert, if it is to be a meaningful experience. RC 18517.

Sixpence House: Lost in a Town of Books by Paul Collins.
Memoir of American author’s relocation to Hay-on-Wye, or "Town of Books," a Welsh village boasting fifteen hundred inhabitants and forty antiquarian bookstores. Finding work in the largest one, Collins describes his pleasure in poring through endless dusty book stacks. He also recounts attempting to buy Sixpence House, a tumbledown pub in the town’s center. BR 15087.

Traveling Literary America: A Complete Guide to Literary Landmarks by B.J. Welborn.
Two hundred sites where influential writers lived, worked, or are remembered. Locations, organized by region, include museums, memorials, homes such as the house where Margaret Mitchell penned Gone with the Wind, and inspirational spots such as Thoreau’s Walden Pond. Provides biographical details, directions, contact information, and hours of operation. RC 62438.