Bibliophile: An Illustrated Miscellany

This illustrated ode to bookishness (224 pages) was published in September of 2018 by Chronicle Books. The book takes you to bookshops and libraries. David read Bibliophile and loved it; it wouldn't be on our site if he didn't recommend it.

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An Illustrated Miscellany

Jane Mount

This charming illustrated book about wonderfully bookish things would be an excellent gift for the book lovers in your life. Or you. Get yourself a little present! Why not?

Every page of this book includes a cute paint-and-ink drawing, and — we mean this in the most complimentary way — it reads a bit like a lovingly crafted and well-considered Buzzfeed, if Buzzfeed was only about books. Every few pages deliver a new bookish topic — Writer-Owned Bookstores, Historical Fiction, Famous Fictional Meals, Books with Unhappy Families. Author Jane Mount’s text demonstrates that she, too, is a word nerd, and the interplay with her sketches is a delight.

So, for example, in a few pages about Southern Lit, she includes a miniature painting of author Edward P. Jones and this text: Edward P. Jones composed The Known World in his head for 10 years, and then finally put it all to paper in just three months, in 2001, after being laid off from his day job at a tax journal. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2004. The book is pleasingly crammed with fascinating bits and bobs like that throughout.

Like this: There’s a bookstore in Baltimore where John Waters picks up his fan mail, for instance. Doesn’t that make you want to hang out in a bookstore in Baltimore?

page from Bibliophile
Detail, Bibliophile, Jane Mount

In addition to fun facts, this book also contains hundreds of recommendations for must-read books, must-see libraries, and must-visit bookstores. Because it was published in 2017, its list of notable dates is quite current. Classics like Anne of Green Gables are here, but so are George Saunders’ modern classic Lincoln in the Bardo and Erin Morgenstern’s beloved fantasy novel The Night Circus.

An inexpensive ebook version of this book is available; do not be fooled! You want the hardcover version so you can enjoy the illustrations and easily flip through the pages at your leisure.

A final note: You can buy Jane Mount’s paintings of books as prints, pins, phone cases, and other adorably useful things on the website Ideal Bookshelf.

page from Bibliophile
Detail, Bibliophile, Jane Mount
page from Bibliophile
Detail, Bibliophile, Jane Mount
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