Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (Allison & Busby, 2015) An alternative history dystopia where the Great Library of Alexandria has survived to become a malignant, shadowy world power. Caine ticks most of the right boxes, yet the story, for all its inventiveness, is ever so slightly formulaic, prepping an ongoing series.
The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith (Ace, 2019); audiobook read by Lisa Flanagan (Penguin, 2019) Hackwith brings some new, fantastical ideas to the magical libraries subgenre, albeit that several of the key elements seem fashioned purely to suit the plot. The storytelling is steady if fastidiously descriptive. The characterisation gains a lot from Lisa Flanagan’s audiobook reading.…
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel (Alfred A Knopf, 2006) A sprawling, erudite collection of musings vis-à-vis libraries, literature and the human condition. Manguel clearly lives for books. He waxes lyrical and makes interesting connections. The Library at Night is a sleepy sort of read but contains no small number of curiosities.
The Library Book by Susan Orlean (Simon & Schuster, 2018) Starts off sounding like a schlock documentary but then settles down into a browser’s mix of crime investigation, biography, and library history (both general and with specific regard to Los Angeles). Pleasantly intriguing, so long as you’ve no particular destination in mind.
Improbable Libraries by Alex Johnson (Thames & Hudson, 2015) What library could consider itself complete without this book about… libraries! Johnson has compiled a stout coffee table compendium of innovative and unusual book-borrowing facilities from around the world, all beautifully photographed and all celebrating (and inspiring) our collective love of reading.