This is a unique reading list – these books were all written by librarians and most of them were recommended to us by librarians. If any profession is well qualified to write books then librarians truly fit the bill.
Librarians are loyal customers of AbeBooks and we tend to listen when they speak. But it was interesting to see so many librarians recommend Casanova’s autobiography – were they trying to tell us something? This famous Italian adventurer and lover was a librarian in the household of the German nobleman Count Waldstein. The authors on this list range from the top dogs at the Library of Congress to folks who have worked at the national libraries of Argentina, France and Sweden, and people who have checked books in and out at public and school libraries.
We decided to exclude Chairman Mao and his Little Red Book. This one-time librarian at Peking University is perhaps the most widely read of all librarians who wrote but it was under extraordinary circumstances (although it is now thought the book was ghostwritten). Our featured book (pictured at left) is Hemlock and After by Angus Wilson, illustrated by Ronald Searle, and was a bestseller in 1952. Wilson was a librarian in the British Museum.
Star Man’s Son
A post-apocalyptic tale from 1952 – Norton was a librarian in Cleveland and the Library of Congress.
Books in My Baggage
Lawrence C. Powell
Clark Powell was a librarian at UCLA and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library.
Larkin was a librarian at the University of Hull. Jill is a novel about life in Oxford during WWII.
A Winter’s Love
L’Engle was a volunteer librarian in New York. A scarce novel about a troubled marriage.
This modernist poet, noted for her wit, worked in the New York Public Library in the 1920s.
Higher Power of Lucky
Patron won a Newbery Award for this children’s book. She worked at the Los Angeles Public Library.
A novel about conflict in small town 1930s America – Berger was a librarian and journalist.
The Wild Old Wicked Man
MacLeish, Librarian of Congress from 1939-1944, was also a playwright, journalist, lawyer & statesman.
The Giant’s House
Written by a former public librarian, this novel (about a librarian) was a National Book Award nominee.
The Mouse & the Motorcycle
Cleary worked as a children’s librarian in Yakima, Washington, before writing children’s books.
Anthony J. Brown
Brown was a former librarian from the State Library of South Australia.
Dr Brodie’s Report
Jorge Luis Borges
Borges was a director of Argentina’s National Public Library. This is a collection of 11 short stories.
Strindberg worked for eight years as an assistant librarian at Sweden’s National Library.
Out Stealing Horses
An ex-librarian & a bookseller, Petterson’s novel was one of the NY Times’ books of the year in 2007.
Story of the Eye
Histoire de L’Oeil is a controversial novel from 1928. Bataille was an archivist at France’s National Library.
Juarroz was head of Bibliotechnology & Informational Science at the University of Buenos Aires.
The Legate’s Daughter
Breem was a legal manuscripts librarian in London – this novel is a Roman kidnap adventure.
Story of My Life
This great lover was a librarian in Count Waldstein’s household where he wrote his autobiography.
Chewing the Scenery
Davina worked for London’s Westminster Libraries and still volunteers at St James’s Library.