Books about Books: A Reading List for Book Lovers

‘Sometimes the only thing better than reading a book is hearing someone talk about it.’ – The Arts Fuse on Latest Readings

Book lovers will already know that books about books represent an increasingly popular genre. Just reading the books themselves is not enough! We want to discuss them, need to share our love of them with others and relish the profound impact they can have on our own – and other people’s lives.

With this in mind, we have brought together some of our favourite books about books. Whether you want to revel in a gorgeous history of painted Renaissance manuscripts, discover hidden meanings in libraries with Alberto Manguel, be inspired by the reflections of one of our greatest literary critics or even explore a collection of miniature editions of William Shakespeare, there is something for everyone in this special summer reading list for book lovers.

Books about Books – A Reading List

The Painted Book in Renaissance ItalyThe Painted Book in Renaissance Italy: 1450-1600 

This richly illustrated book is a comprehensive survey examining the vibrant and sumptuous art of illumination during the period of profound intellectual and cultural transformation. Jonathan J. G. Alexander describes key illuminated manuscripts and printed books from the period and explores the social and material worlds in which they were produced.

FIND MORE Renaissance reading


Latest ReadingsLatest Readings 

Coming soon in paperback!
In 2010, esteemed literary critic Clive James was diagnosed with terminal leukemia. Bringing together his reflections on his children, his final reading list and his own impending death, this thoughtful and erudite volume is a moving farewell from one of the great thinkers of our time.

‘Clive James has all the creative energy and charm of a man discovering life. These thoughtful essays are immensely appealing, their tone is beautifully judged.’ – Ian McEwan

… don’t miss Clive James’ new book Play All, out in August.

Sutherland-26-3-13A Little History of Literature

A much-loved author and teacher brings the world of literature alive, guiding young readers on an entertaining journey across centuries and cultures, from The Canterbury Tales to Harry Potter, Robinson Crusoe to 1984.

‘As a guidebook, it’s a cracker. What Sutherland has to offer is formidable breadth of reading, a generous spirit and a rebounding enthusiasm for his subject.’ — Sam Leith, Spectator

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Library at NightThe Library at Night 

In this personal, deliberately unsystematic and wide-ranging book, Alberto Manguel offers a captivating meditation on the meaning of libraries. ‘Libraries,’ he says, ‘have always seemed to me pleasantly mad places, and for as long as I can remember I’ve been seduced by their labyrinthine logic.’

The Library at Night revels in the physical pleasure of drifting and dipping through the Gutenberg galaxy of ink-on-paper books.’ – Boyd Tonkin, The Independent


Poet of Them AllThe Poet of Them All

This quirky publication showcases modern designer bindings for miniature editions of books by and about William Shakespeare from the private collection of Neale and Margaret Albert. Revealing an underexplored facet of contemporary book arts, this publication illustrates the remarkable singularity of the Alberts’ collection.

LOOK INSIDE this stunning new book here

Distributed for the Yale Center for British Art

A Reader on ReadingA Reader on Reading

The internationally celebrated author Alberto Manguel leads an intimate and exhilarating journey through the world of books, arguing that the activity of reading – in its broadest sense – defines our species.

‘Books jump out of their jackets when Manguel opens them and dance in delight as they make contact with his ingenious, voluminous brain.’ – Peter Conrad, The Observer


Check out more reading lists and round-ups on the YaleBooks blog

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