The Lists

the best books of 2018 for people who really love books

Bibliophiles of the world, this one’s for you! We’ve rounded up a list of the best books for people who really love books. Whether your aim is building a stack of new books to read over the year-end break, or finding the perfect gift for the bookworm in your life, have a look. These are guaranteed to please.

Every month, we generate a list of the perfect books to read to fit the mood of the month. And a list of the best books that are scheduled to be released in the coming month.

Sometimes we share recommended reads on a particular topic, like food, or Halloween, or Veteran’s Day.

As we compiled those lists throughout this year, we noticed that there are some terrific new non-fiction books for people who really love books. We count ourselves in that crowd, and we wanted to share what we found.

Here are our top picks of the best books for people who really love books. This list covers non-fiction published in 2018 about reading, writing, libraries, bookstores, and all things literary. They’re listed in random order, and you can order them now, in time for the holidays.

1. Book Towns: Forty Five Paradises of the Printed Word by Alex Johnson

The “Book Towns” of the world are dedicated havens of literature, and the ultimate dream of book lovers everywhere. This volume is an illustrated tour of the 40 semi-officially recognized literary towns around the world. It outlines the history and development of each community, and offers practical travel advice if you want to plan a visit – published March 22, 2018

2. The Library: A Catalogue of Wonders by Stuart Kells

The best libraries in the world are magical, fabled places. Some of still exist today; others are lost, like those of Herculaneum and Alexandria. Some have been sold or dispersed; and others never actually existed, such as those libraries imagined by J.R.R. Tolkien, Umberto Eco, and Jorge Luis Borges. Ancient libraries, grand baroque libraries, scientific libraries, memorial libraries, personal libraries, clandestine libraries: this book tells the stories of their creators, their prizes, their secrets, and their fate – published April 10, 2018

3. Packing My Library: An Elegy and Ten Digressions by Alberto Manguel

Three years ago, the author prepared to leave his centuries-old village home in France’s Loire Valley and reestablish himself in a one-bedroom apartment on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Packing up his enormous, 35,000‑volume personal library, choosing which books to keep, store, or cast out, he found himself in deep reverie on the nature of relationships between books and readers, books and collectors, order and disorder, memory and reading. In this book, he illuminates the art of reading and affirms the vital role of public libraries – published March 20, 2018

4. Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany by Jane Mount

This volume is a lighthearted romp through the world of books. It covers a vast array of activities enjoyed by avid readers, including touring the world’s most beautiful bookstores; sampling the most famous fictional meals; and peeking inside the work spaces and offices of beloved authors –  published September 11, 2018

5. I’d Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life by Anne Bogel

For bibliophiles, books shape, define, enchant, and even sometimes infuriate. They’re an intrinsic part of the reader’s personality. In this collection of reflections on the reading life,  Bogel asks 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 – published September 4, 2018

6. A Velocity of Being: Letters to A Young Reader edited by Maria Popova and Claudia Bedrick

A group of writers, artists, scientists, entrepreneurs, and philosophers reflect on the joys of reading: how books broaden and deepen human experience, and the ways in which the written word has formed their own character. On the page facing each letter, an illustration by a celebrated illustrator or graphic artist presents that artist’s visual response. The contributors include Jane Goodall, Shonda Rhimes, Ursula K. Le Guin, Yo-Yo Ma, Judy Blume, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Jacqueline Woodson. There are also letters from a ninety-eight-year-old Holocaust survivor, a pioneering oceanographer, and Italy’s first woman in space – November 27, 2018

7. The Library Book by Susan Orleans

On the morning of April 29, 1986, a fire alarm sounded in the Los Angeles Public Library. The fire that day was disastrous. By the time it was extinguished, it had consumed four hundred thousand books and damaged seven hundred thousand more. Investigators descended on the scene, but more than thirty years later, the mystery remains: Did someone purposefully set fire to the library—and if so, who? Weaving her lifelong love of books and reading into an investigation of the fire, award-winning New Yorker reporter Susan Orlean tells the broader story of libraries and librarians as she recounts the incident at the LAPL – published October 16, 2018

8. 1,000 Books to Read Before You Die: A Life-Changing List by James Mustich

This compilation covers fiction, poetry, science and science fiction, memoir, travel writing, biography, children’s books, history, and more. It ranges across cultures and through time, offerings an eclectic collection of works. It’s not a prescriptive list of the “great works”—rather, it’s a celebration of the glorious mosaic that is our literary heritage – published October 2, 2018

9. The Art of Reading: An Illustrated History of Books in Paint by Jamie Camplin and Maria Ranauro

“Why do artists love books?” This volume takes this ostensibly simple question as a starting point. It goes on to explore centuries of symbiosis between the visual and literary arts.  Many legendary painters took inspiration from the printed word. More than one hundred works are featured here, and they provide a fascinating overview of how books have been used and valued over time, and how the practice of reading has evolved in Western society – published October 2, 2018

10. Reading through the Night by Jane Tompkins

Tompkins, a renowned literature professor and award-winning author, thought she knew what reading was. But then she was struck by a debilitating illness, and found herself reading day and night because it was all she could do. A lifelong lover of books, she realized for the first time that paying close attention to your reactions as you read can make literature a path of self-discovery  – published September 18, 2018

There you have it: 10 recently-published books for people who really love books. Perhaps you’re one of them? Self-gifting is totally allowed. Just sayin’. Enjoy!

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