[#RapplerReads] Celebrate National Reading Month with books about books

Marj Casal Handog

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[#RapplerReads] Celebrate National Reading Month with books about books
If you love books, you probably also love reading books about books. Here are some titles to add to your TBR pile.

Editor’s note: #RapplerReads is a project by the BrandRap team. We earn a commission every time you shop through the affiliate links below.

What does a reader love more than reading a book? If you ask me, it would be reading books about books. There’s just something magical about a plot that revolves around a library, a bookstore, or simply a protagonist who is a voracious reader.

I especially like rooting for a protagonist who is a little bit eccentric and finds solace in books like Hermione in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone or a tired employee who decides to quit her office job to finally open the bookstore she has always dreamed of like in The Bookshop on the Corner. Who else lives for these kinds of tropes? I’m sure it’s not just me!

So, to celebrate the National Book Month, I’ll be listing down some of my favorite books about books so that you can live vicariously through the protagonists:

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Did you know that the film, Matilda, featuring Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, and Pam Ferris (Miss Trunchbull) is based on a children’s book by Roald Dahl? If yes, then let’s high five to that! If not, then you’re about to enjoy a book like you’ve never had in a long time. 

Matilda is about a smart, book-loving girl who seemed like she was mistakenly born in a family who would rather watch TV. Often left to her own devices, little Matilda learned to go to the library by herself every day to read books, and eventually, borrow some to read at home. Since home is not exactly a loving place for Matilda, she found solace in the characters in her books like Moby Dick by Herman Melville and Great Expectations by Charles Dickens.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

You’ve probably heard about this classic title. It might even have been an assigned reading in school. But Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury needs to be in this list. This book will make you appreciate the freedom you have to read all the books you want. 

This book is set in the dystopian future where firemen are tasked to start fires – and burn books – instead of putting it out. No one is allowed to read or own books because the authorities want to control what the people know and manipulate them into doing what they’re being asked to do. But one fireman got curious enough to check what all the fuss was about. He quickly realizes why the authorities were so afraid of these bound pieces of paper.

Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami

Kafka on the Shore is not exactly about books. It’s a bit more complicated with a side of the Oedipus complex. But what I like about it is the bookish protagonist Kafka Tamura – a 15-year-old boy who ran away from home to escape the Oedipal curse and ended up working and living in a private library. He would read books like One Thousand and One Nights and the collected works of Natsume Sōseki while eating sandwiches during his lunch break. 

Except for the Oedipal curse and the fact that he was being questioned by the police for his father’s murder, it made me want to be in Kafka’s shoes at that moment – living that routinary yet serene life in a library, whiling away the days reading book after book.

The Library Book by Susan Orlean

Have you ever dreamed about becoming a librarian? Then this is your chance to see what that’s like – both the joys and sorrows of being a custodian of books. 

The Library Book is based on a true story by Susan Orlean, a reporter and bestselling author who investigated and reported on the Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) tragedy. In the book, Susan recalls the day a fire engulfed the LAPL, burning over 400,000 books and damaging about 700,000 more. She recounted the moment the fire alarm sounded to the days that followed when the reality of the fire finally sunk in. 

It may sound a bit heavy but don’t take this off your list just yet. Susan also talks about the quiet joys of library life and how a public library is helping so many people – from kids who are looking for a place to spend their time in, to jobseekers who need access to computers to prepare for their job interviews. Reading this book would make you want to visit your own public library and find ways to support it.

A Career in Books by Kate Gavino

Maybe you’ve never dreamed of becoming a librarian but you’ve probably dreamed of reading books for a living. The kind of job that lets you meet authors, get first dibs on new titles, take books for free, and smell the aroma of new books – fresh from the press! Just like the protagonists in Kate Gavino’s A Career in Books.

Kate’s graphic novel revolves around three Asian women who love to read and write and who want nothing but a job in publishing or anything related to books. Being fresh grads, they land assistant roles and quickly find out that a job in publishing is not as exciting and dreamy as they thought it would be. But a downstairs neighbor who turns out to be a famous author suddenly makes their godawful publishing jobs seem more bearable and even a bit exciting.

Got your own bookish book recommendations? – Rappler.com

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Marj Casal Handog

Marj Casal heads the content team of BrandRap, Rappler’s sales and marketing arm. She helps create native advertising campaigns for brands like San Miguel Brewery, Shell, GCash, Grab, BDO, and more.