Plano Reads: Books and Libraries

Recognizing Library Card Sign-up Month in September, we offer this list of books about books and libraries–one of our staff’s favorite themes!

Adult Nonfiction

The Book Collectors: A Band of Syrian Rebels and the Stories that Carried Them Through a War by Delphine Minoui – Delphine Minoui tells the true story of a band of young rebels, a besieged Syrian town called Daraya, and an underground library built from the rubble of war. A sanctuary was born: a library where people could escape the blockade, a paper fortress to protect their humanity. Print |eBook

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron – On a bitterly cold night in Spencer, Iowa, kitten Dewey is abandoned in the book drop of the Spencer Public Library. Found by the library director the next morning, Dewey spends the next nineteen years as the beloved friend of staff and patrons alike–enthusiastic, warm, and possessing a sixth sense about those who need him most. Print |Large Print |eBook |CD/Play

Information Hunters: When Librarians, Soldiers, and Spies Banded Together in World War II Europe by Kathy Lee Peiss – This book examines the unprecedented effort by American librarians, scholars, soldiers, and spies to find and save foreign books, publications, and information in Europe during and after World War II. Improvising library techniques in wartime conditions, they contributed to Allied intelligence, preserved endangered books, and engaged in restitution in capitals like Paris, Stockholm, Lisbon, and Berlin. Print |eBook

The Library: A Fragile History by Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen – Historians Andrew Pettegree and Arthur der Weduwen trace this extraordinary history, from the famous collections of the ancient world to the embattled public resources we cherish today. Along the way, they introduce us to the antiquarians and philanthropists who shaped the world’s great collections, trace the rise and fall of technologies, ideologies, and tastes, and reveal the high crimes and misdemeanors committed in pursuit of rare and valuable manuscripts. Print | eBook |Playaway 

The Library Book by Susan Orlean – “A dazzling love letter to a beloved institution,” and an investigation into one of its greatest mysteries, the devastating fire in April 1986 at the downtown Central Library of the Los Angeles Public Library, written in Susan Orlean’s mesmerizing, unforgettable style. Print| Large Print |eBook |Audiobook |CD Book |Playaway

The Madman’s Library: The Strangest Books, Manuscripts and Other Literary Curiosities from History by Edward Brooke-Hitching  – The Madman’s Library reveals the fascinating stories behind some of the strangest and most beautiful books ever created in a highly illustrated tour through an eccentric “library” of literary curiosities and wonders. Print 


Adult Fiction

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution by R.F. Kuang  – 1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he’ll enroll in Oxford University’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation—also known as Babel. Babel is the world’s center for translation and, more importantly, magic. For Robin, Oxford is a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge obeys power, and as a Chinese boy raised in Britain, Robin realizes serving Babel means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress, Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to stopping imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide… eBook 

The Body in the Library by Agatha Christie – The iconic Miss Marple must investigate the case of a girl found dead in Agatha Christie’s classic mystery. It’s seven in the morning. The Bantrys wake to find the body of a young woman in their library. She is wearing an evening dress and heavy makeup, which is now smeared across her cheeks. But who is she? How did she get there? The respectable Bantrys invite Miss Marple into their home to investigate. Amid rumors of scandal, she baits a clever trap to catch a ruthless killer. Print |eBook

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson – “Inspired by the true blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service of the 1930s,” The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is the story of Cussy Mary Carter, a determined and resourceful young librarian who travels the remote valleys of rural Kentucky to deliver books to her neighbors, in spite of their suspicions about her unusual “blue” skin. A sequel, The Book Woman’s Daughter, continues the story of Cussy’s daughter Honey, who also becomes a “book woman” in her own way. Print |Large Print |eBook |eAudiobook

The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman – Collecting books can be a dangerous prospect in this fun, time-traveling, fantasy adventure from a spectacular debut author. One thing any librarian will tell you: the truth is much stranger than fiction… Irene is a professional spy for the mysterious Library, a shadowy organization that collects important works of fiction from all of the different realities. Most recently, she and her enigmatic assistant Kai have been sent to an alternative London. Their mission: Retrieve a particularly dangerous book. The problem: By the time they arrive, it’s already been stolen… Print |eBook 

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – Carolyn and a dozen other children find them being raised by “Father, ” a cruel man with mysterious powers. When they realize that Father has disappeared, they square off against each other to determine who will inherit his library, which may hold the power to all of Creation. As Carolyn gathers the tools she needs for the battle to come, she has a plan and is sure she can win. The only trouble is that in the war to make a new god, she’s forgotten to protect the things that make her human. An original, terrifying, and darkly funny contemporary fantasy. Print |eBook

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig – “Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life.” Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist, Nora Seed must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place. Print |Large Print |eBook |eAudiobook

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray – Historical fiction which tells the remarkable and little-known story of Belle Da Costa Greene, personal librarian and curator for wealthy financier J. P. Morgan in early twentieth century New York. Working for Morgan, she became one of the most influential and powerful women in the city, but she also had a secret she could never share–she was African American. Print |Large Print | Audiobook |eBook |eAudiobook

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón – To console his motherless only child in the aftermath of World War II, young Daniel’s widowed father, an antiquarian book dealer, initiates him into the secret of the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a library tended by Barcelona’s guild of rare-book dealers as a repository for books forgotten by the world, waiting for someone who will care about them again. Daniel’s father coaxes him to choose a volume from the spiraling labyrinth of shelves, one that, it is said, will have a special meaning for him. This remarkably original novel is the first in a series, an absorbing historical mystery, a heart-piercing romance, and a moving homage to the mystical power of books. Print | Audiobook |eBook |eAudiobook

The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill – The beautifully ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is completely silent one weekday morning, until a woman’s terrified scream echoes through the room. Security guards immediately appear and instruct everyone inside to stay put until they determine there is no threat. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers who had been sitting in the reading room get to chatting and quickly become friendly. Harriet, Marigold, Whit, and Caine each have their own reasons for being in the reading room that morning – and it just happens that one of them may turn out to be a murderer… Print | eBook |Audiobook

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