By Book Lovers Day

The simple act of reading can be educational, entertaining, or even revolutionary, depending on the circumstances. For a multitude of reasons, reading books is a treasured activity to many people, uniting individuals across barriers of distance, language, and more. On National Book Lovers Day (August 9), enjoy these stories — fictional and otherwise — about others who love nothing more than curling up with a good book. 

For Kids

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce – Morris Lessmore loves words, stories and books. After a powerful storm carries him to another land, dreary and colorless, he finds a single book that leads him to an amazing library where, he learns, the books need him as much as he needs them.

Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll – Duncan the Dragon loves to read–but he keeps accidentally lighting his book on fire. He wants to get to the end of his story, so he tries to find a friend to read to him. 

Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown – When a man brings two burros to a remote village in Colombia, loaded with books the children can borrow, one little girl’s excitement leads her to write a book of her own as she waits for the “Biblioburro” to return. Based on a true story. 

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers – A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words to invite a boy to go away with her on an adventure into the world of stories, where, with only a little imagination, anything at all can happen! An extraordinary ode to the power and promises of storytelling. 

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke – One night, Meggie’s father reads aloud from a book and an evil ruler escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, Meggie is smack in the middle of the kind of adventure she has only read about in books. Meggie must learn to harness the magic that has conjured this nightmare, for only she can change the course of the story that has changed her life forever.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende – Bastian Balthazar Bux is nobody’s idea of a hero, least of all his own. Then, through the pages of an ancient book, he discovers the enchanted world of Fantastica, and only Bastian himself can save the people who live there. Shy and awkward, he is amazed to discover that he has become a character in the mysterious book he is reading and that he has an important mission to fulfill.

For Teens

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Cath is a huge Simon Snow fan, who spends her time rereading the series, discussing it in online forums, writing fan fiction, and dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. Now in college, she faces some big questions: Can she do this? Can she make it without her sister holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Trying to make sense of the horrors of World War II, Death relates the story of Liesel–a young German girl who’s book-stealing and story-telling talents help sustain her family and the Jewish man they are hiding.

For Adults

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald – Sara travels from Sweden to Iowa to meet her pen pal, Amy, only to discover that her friend’s funeral has just ended. Marooned in the farm town of Broken Wheel, Sara starts a bookstore in honor of her friend’s memory, to share the books she loves with the townspeople and to convince them that reading is one of the great joys of life. 

When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II by Molly Guptill Manning – When America entered World War II in 1941, we faced an enemy that had banned and burned over millions of books and caused fearful citizens to hide or destroy many more. Outraged librarians launched a campaign to send donated books to American troops. In 1943, the War Department and the publishing industry stepped in with an extraordinary program: 120 million small, lightweight paperbacks, for troops to carry in their pockets. Comprising 1,200 different titles, these paperbacks were beloved by the troops and are still fondly remembered today. An inspiring true story for history buffs and book lovers alike. 

The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde – Great Britain circa 1985: time travel is routine, cloning is a reality, and literature is taken very, very seriously. Thursday Next, a Special Operative in literary detection, tries to stop the world’s Third Most Wanted criminal from kidnapping characters from their books, including Jane Eyre, Rochester, and Miss Fairfax. 

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared by Alice Ozma – When Alice Ozma was in 4th grade, she and her father decided to see if he could read aloud to her for 100 consecutive nights. On the hundredth night, they shared pancakes to celebrate, but it soon became evident that neither wanted to let go of their storytelling ritual. So they decided to continue what they called “The Streak.” Alice’s father read aloud to her every night without fail until the day she left for college.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George – Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his bookstore in a barge on the Seine, he prescribes novels for the hardships of life. Using his intuitive feel for the exact book a reader needs, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls. But despite his efforts, he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. After finally reading her last letter, he departs on a mission, hoping to discover the end of the story. 

I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel – For so many people, reading isn’t just a hobby or a way to pass the time–it’s a lifestyle. Our books shape us, define us, enchant us, and even sometimes infuriate us. Our books are a part of who we are as people, and we can’t imagine life without them. In this collection of relatable reflections on the reading life, author Anne Bogel leads readers to remember the book that first hooked them, the place where they first fell in love with reading, and all of the moments afterward that helped make them the reader they are today. 

The Last Bookaneer by Matthew Pearl For a hundred years, loose copyright laws and a hungry reading public created an opportunity: books could be published without an author’s permission. Authors gained fame but lost money, while publishers reaped enormous profits and books were cheap for all. Yet on the eve of the 20th century, a new treaty will bring this literary underground to a sharp halt. With time and other literary pirates against them, two “bookaneers” are caught up in a colonial war on Samoa as they compete to steal Robert Louis Stevenson’s last manuscript and make a fortune before their trade ends forever.

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad – For more than 20 years Sultan Khan defied the authorities to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists, and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He resorted to hiding most of his stock—almost 10,000 books—in attics all over the city. A mesmerizing portrait of a complex man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul. 


*All synopses (edited for space) and cover photos from GoodReads. 

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