Nonfiction Books about Books

If you love nonfiction books and books about books, then this list of Nonfiction Books about Books is for you!

There are all kinds of lists for books about books, but most of them are full of fiction books.

Since we love nonfiction books, we thought that it only made sense to put together a list of nonfiction books about books.

This list of books takes you to Syria, England, Iowa, and all kinds of other fascinating places.

As always our booklists include only books that Grace, myself, or someone in our family has read. We want to share books that we can truly recommend.

There are a lot of great nonfiction books about books, but we are sharing the ones we have read and loved.

Best Books about Books

Syria's Secret Library

Syria’s Secret Library by Mike Thomson

Would you risk your life for a book? That is the exact story that Syria’s Secret Library by Mike Thomson shares. In the middle of war-torn Daraya, a secret library existed. This one will probably be one of my favorite books this year.

The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu

The Bad Ass Librarians of Timbuktu by Joshua Hammer

Do not let the title of this book, The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu, scare you from reading it. It is great. This book shares some of what went on in Africa during the beginning of the 21st century in such a fascinating way. It is the story of people who lived through perilous times trying to save precious manuscripts from being lost forever.

My Reading Life

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

If you love Pat Conroy’s books, My Reading Life by Pat Conroy is a good read. It is an essay-style book about how books and reading impacted his life. Since it is essay style, it is an easy book to pick up and put down.

84, Charing Cross Road

84, Charing Cross Rd by Helen Hanff

84, Charing Cross Rd is a love story about people who love books, but it is more than just that. It is a story of the friendships between people who love books. And not just any books. This is a love story of people who cherish old quality rare books.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much is a recent read for me. I am not sure where I heard about this book, but I loved it. It is the story of a thief, a book detective, rare books, and bookstores. This book mixes true crime and the book world. If you love true crime books, this is a good one that has no blood or murders in it. The crime is stealing rare and expensive books.

The Professor and the Madman

The Professor and the Madman by Simon Winchester

My husband listed to The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of  Murder, Insanity, and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary on audio and really enjoyed it. It is on my to be read list to read soon.

When Books Went To War

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning

When Books Went to War shares a story about WWII that I didn’t know anything about. It is estimated that Hitler banned and burned 100 million books. The U.S. did the exact opposite. U.S. librarians started a campaign to send millions of books to those serving in the military during the war. If you love WWII reads, this is a great one.

I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

I’d Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel

I listened to the audio version of I’d Rather Be Reading and loved. The audiobook is read by the author. This is a book for people that love to read. If you love books as much as I do, you will probably find yourself thinking that she is describing you like I did. Since each chapter is a different essay, they stand on their own. You can pick this one up and put it down. It is one of those books that you can stretch out and listen to as you have time. 

Book Girl

Book Girl by Sarah Clarkson

One of my favorite quotes from Book Girl is a simple one, ”a girl who reads is a girl who learns.” There is so much truth in that. Reading and learning go together. I loved how Sarah shared her journey and love of reading, but what I think I love the most about this book are all the book lists in it. 

Library book

Library by Matthew Battles

The book Library shares the history of libraries and literature. This book was a bit textbook like in some places, but I am so glad that I read it. I learned so much about the history of libraries, books, and how they change people.

Dewey A Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Dewey by Vicki Myron

Dewey is a fun book about libraries. It is about a small town library in Iowa that adopts a cat the was left in the library slot. Dewey the cat changes the library and the town. If you love books about animals, this is a fun read.

6 thoughts on “Nonfiction Books about Books”

  1. I’ve read The Professor and the Madman, Reading People, and Book Girl. Loved them all. Earlier this summer, I was reading The Man Who Loved Books Too Much, but only made it halfway through because by that point I thought the thief’s motive didn’t line up with the title. Feeling mislead by the author, I quit the book, but maybe I gave up too soon?

    When Books Went to War and 84, Charing Cross Road have been on my TBR list for a while and now I’ll be adding more of those you’ve listed here. My Reading Life and Syria’s Secret Library both sound particularly appealing. Thanks for the recommendations.

    • I think our reading tastes are very similar! I agree the title of The Man Who Loved Books Too Much didn’t really describe the book well. What I think I loved about that book was that I had no idea that rare book theft was even a thing. I knew it was in the art world, but I had no idea that there was that much involved in the rare book world and rare book theft. I loved Syria’s Secret Library. I hope you do too.

      • Yes, we do have very similar reading tastes. That’s why I enjoy your blog so much. 🙂 Have you read “On Reading Well: Finding the Good Life through Great Books” by Karen Swallow Prior? It’s on my shelf but I’ve not read it yet. If you have, what did you think of it?

        • I have not read On Reading Well by Karen Swallow Prior, but I have heard that it is good. I always enjoy hearing what you are reading because our tastes are so similar!

  2. I love books about books, even some good fiction ones. I’ve read three of the ones you mentioned, and am always on the hunt for more. Thanks for sharing!


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