As the old age advice goes “write what you know”. Therefore it is no surprise that there is an abundance of books about writers. Pretty self-explanatory, eh? These books intrigue me, both as a reader and aspiring writer. I did get a little carried away adding books to this list but there were just so many great ones. Suspiciously a lot of stories about romance writers losing faith in love, and stolen manuscripts. Enjoy!
🎹 25+ Books about Music | aka if you liked daisy jones and the six, you might like these books
🎬 15+ Books About Actresses | aka if you liked evelyn hugo, you might like these books
Happily Ever Afters by Elise Bryant
young adult • romance writer • writing program • writer’s block
Sixteen-year-old Tessa Johnson has never felt like the protagonist in her own life. She’s rarely seen herself reflected in the pages of the romance novels she loves. The only place she’s a true leading lady is in her own writing—in the swoony love stories she shares only with Caroline, her best friend and #1 devoted reader.
When Tessa is accepted into the creative writing program of a prestigious art school, she’s excited to finally let her stories shine. But when she goes to her first workshop, the words are just…gone. Fortunately, Caroline has a solution: Tessa just needs to find some inspiration in a real-life love story of her own. And she’s ready with a list of romance novel-inspired steps to a happily ever after. Nico, the brooding artist who looks like he walked out of one of Tessa’s stories, is cast as the perfect Prince Charming.
But as Tessa checks each item off Caroline’s list, she gets further and further away from herself. She risks losing everything she cares about—including the surprising bond she develops with sweet Sam, who lives across the street. She’s well on her way to having her own real-life love story, but is it the one she wants, after all?
Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
young adult • autistic rep • finding yourself through writing
Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does.
Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoenixBird — her name is Rebecca — could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to meet her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.
By acclaimed writer Nora Raleigh Baskin, this is the breathtaking depiction of an autistic boy’s struggles—and a story for anyone who has ever worried about fitting in.
The Love Match by Priyanka Taslim
young adult • love triangle • fake dating • family focus
Zahra Khan is basically Bangladeshi royalty, but being a princess doesn’t pay the bills in Paterson, New Jersey. While Zahra’s plans for financial security this summer involve working long hours at Chai Ho and saving up for college writing courses, Amma is convinced that all Zahra needs is a “good match,” Jane Austen style.
Enter Harun Emon, who’s wealthy, devastatingly handsome, and…aloof. As soon as Zahra meets him, she knows it’s a bad match. It’s nothing like the connection she has with Nayim Aktar, the new dishwasher at the tea shop, who just gets Zahra in a way no one has before. So, when Zahra finds out that Harun is just as uninterested in this match as she is, they decide to slowly sabotage their parents’ plans. And for once in Zahra’s life, she can have her rossomalai and eat it too: “dating” Harun and keeping Amma happy while catching real feelings for Nayim.
But life—and boys—can be more complicated than Zahra realizes. With her feelings all mixed up, Zahra discovers that sometimes being a good Bengali kid can be a royal pain.
Things That Grow by Meredith Goldstein
young adult • family orientated • grief
After her grandmother dies, a girl travels to different gardens to scatter her ashes, learning about life, love, and how to laugh again along the way.
When Lori’s Dorothy Parker–loving grandmother dies, Lori’s world is turned upside down. Grandma Sheryl was everything to Lori—and not just because Sheryl raised Lori when Lori’s mom got a job out of town. Now Lori’s mom is insisting on moving her away from her beloved Boston right before senior year. Desperate to stay for as long as possible, Lori insists on honouring her grandmother’s last request before she moves: to scatter Sheryl’s ashes near things that grow.
Along with her uncle Seth and Chris, best friend and love-of-her-life crush, Lori sets off on a road trip to visit her grandmother’s favourite gardens. Dodging forest bathers, scandalized volunteers, and angry homeowners, they come to terms with the shape of life after Grandma Sheryl. Saying goodbye isn’t easy, but Lori might just find a way to move forward surrounded by the people she loves.
Less by Andrew Sean Greer
adult • 50-year-old protagonist • travel • romance
PROBLEM: You are a failed novelist about to turn fifty. A wedding invitation arrives in the mail: your boyfriend of the past nine years now engaged to someone else. You can’t say yes–it would all be too awkward–and you can’t say no–it would look like defeat. On your desk are a series of half-baked literary invitations you’ve received from around the world.
QUESTION: How do you arrange to skip town?
ANSWER: You accept them all.
If you are Arthur Less.
Thus begins an around-the-world-in-eighty-days fantasia that will take Arthur Less to Mexico, Italy, Germany, Morocco, India and Japan and put thousands of miles between him and the problems he refuses to face. What could possibly go wrong?
Well: Arthur will almost fall in love in Paris, almost fall to his death in Berlin, barely escape to a Moroccan ski chalet from a Sahara sandstorm, accidentally book himself as the (only) writer-in-residence at a Christian Retreat Center in Southern India, and arrive in Japan too late for the cherry blossoms. In between: science fiction fans, crazed academics, emergency rooms, starlets, doctors, exes and, on a desert island in the Arabian Sea, the last person on Earth he wants to see. Somewhere in there: he will turn fifty. The second phase of life, as he thinks of it, falling behind him like the second phase of a rocket. There will be his first love. And there will be his last.
Read Between The Lines by Rachel Lacey
adult • bookstore owner/ writer romance • you’ve got mail vibes
Books are Rosie Taft’s life. And ever since she took over her mother’s beloved Manhattan bookstore, they’ve become her home too. The only thing missing is her own real-life romance like the ones she loves to read about, and Rosie has an idea of who she might like to sweep her off her feet. She’s struck up a flirty online friendship with lesbian romance author Brie, and what could be more romantic than falling in love with her favourite author?
Jane Breslin works hard to keep her professional and personal lives neatly separated. By day, she works for the family property development business. By night, she puts her steamier side on paper under her pen name: Brie. Jane hasn’t had much luck with her own love life, but her online connection with a loyal reader makes Jane wonder if she could be the one.
When Rosie learns that her bookstore’s lease has been terminated by Jane’s family’s business, romance moves to the back burner. Even though they’re at odds, there’s no denying the sparks that fly every time they’re together. When their online identities are revealed, will Jane be able to write her way to a happy ending, or is Rosie’s heart a closed book?
The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston
adult • no longer believes in love • grief • ghost love interest
Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.
When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.
For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlour, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.
Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlour’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.
Romance is most certainly dead… but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
adult • summer • writer’s block • opposites attract
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romances. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighbouring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
Seven Days in June by Tia Williams
adult • emotional read • second chance romance • two writers
Brooklynite Eva Mercy is a single mom and bestselling erotica writer, who is feeling pressed from all sides. Shane Hall is a reclusive, enigmatic, award-winning literary author who, to everyone’s surprise, shows up in New York.
When Shane and Eva meet unexpectedly at a literary event, sparks fly, raising not only their past buried traumas but the eyebrows of New York’s Black literati. What no one knows is that twenty years earlier, teenage Eva and Shane spent one crazy, torrid week madly in love. They may be pretending that everything is fine now, but they can’t deny their chemistry – or the fact that they’ve been secretly writing to each other in their books ever since.
Over the next seven days in the middle of a steamy Brooklyn summer, Eva and Shane reconnect, but Eva’s not sure how she can trust the man who broke her heart, and she needs to get him out of New York so that her life can return to normal. But before Shane disappears again, there are a few questions she needs answered…
With its keen observations of Black life and the condition of modern motherhood, as well as the consequences of motherless-ness, Seven Days in June is by turns humorous, warm and deeply sensual.
Meet Me In The Margins by Melissa Ferguson
adult • editor/writer main character • discusses hate on the romance genre • secret notes
Savannah Cade’s dreams are coming true. The Claire Donovan, editor-in-chief of the most successful romance imprint in the country, has requested to see the manuscript Savannah’s been secretly writing while working as an editor herself—except at her publishing house, the philosophy is only highbrow works are worth printing and commercial fiction, particularly romance, should be reserved for the lowest level of Dante’s inferno. But when Savannah drops her manuscript during a staff meeting and nearly exposes herself to the whole company—including William Pennington, new publisher and son of the romance-despising CEO herself—she races to hide her manuscript in the secret turret room of the old Victorian office.
When she returns, she’s dismayed to discover that someone has not only been in her hidden nook but has written notes in the margins—quite critical ones. But when Claire’s own reaction turns out to be nearly identical to the scribbled remarks, and worse, Claire announces that Savannah has six weeks to resubmit before she retires, Savannah finds herself forced to seek the help of the shadowy editor after all.
As their notes back and forth start to fill up the pages, however, Savannah finds him not just becoming pivotal to her work but her life. There’s no doubt about it. She’s falling for her mystery editor. If she only knew who he was.
Rewrite The Rules by Kay Cove
adult • secret writer • no relationships male character • friends with benefits
Adler Haley writes great sex…just not under her name. And certainly not about her experiences—or lack thereof. There’s no safer place to express herself than behind the obscurity of ghostwriting romance novels. By day, Adler’s perfectly content to blend in at her boring nine-to-five as an executive assistant. At least until she meets Joel—her new boss who has her wondering if love at first sight is more than just fiction.
Joel Lewis is convinced that relationships bring out the bad in people. And marriage? The worst. Ask his parents. His siblings. And his ex-girlfriend. Needing a fresh start, Joel trades the Big Apple to take the helm at a struggling venture capitalist firm in Denver. After meeting his new assistant, he has to work overtime to fight his feelings and adhere to the no-relationships policy he’s instated for his life.
Armed with The F-Buddy Rules for Survival, a clever set of guidelines designed to keep their friendship fun and fun only, Adler and Joel find themselves whisked into the most entertaining ‘situationship’ of their lives. But it’s not long before Adler discovers a major issue with the rules—they weren’t meant to protect her from falling in love. They were only ever meant to keep Joel from finding out.
One Hot Italian Summer by Karina Hale
adult • grief • writer’s block • set in Tuscany • single father
After the death of her best friend and writing partner, Grace Harper is struggling both with grief, and with her next novel, the first one she’ll have to write alone.
Fortunately, her new powerhouse agent, the formidable Jana Lee, has a solution for her. She can stay at her villa in Tuscany for a month, soak in the sunshine, relax, and find her confidence again. After all, Jana has a lot riding on Grace’s next book, and the last thing she wants is for her reputation as a “super-agent” to be tarnished.
At first, the villa is a dream come true for Grace – that is until Claudio Romano shows up one day with his ten-year-old son, Vanni, in tow. Turns out, this is Claudio’s house, and Claudio happens to be her agent’s ex-husband from long ago. Thanks to their annual father-and-son bonding trip being cancelled, Claudio and Vanni are here to stay.
So is Grace.
With the three of them sharing the same house, Grace’s writing plans are thrown out the window. But even if she’s not pounding the keyboard, she’s still finding beauty and inspiration… in none other than Claudio. He’s unlike any man Grace has met before. He’s smart, charming, and wickedly sexy, plus a great father to Vanni. He’d be the perfect summer fling – if only he wasn’t completely off-limits.
But as the hot Italian summer wears on, Grace and Claudio are destined to succumb to the heat, no matter how hard they try to resist each other. One steamy encounter with Claudio could affect Grace’s chances of starting her career over.
Or he could be exactly what she needs.
Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami
adult • translated fiction • set in Tokyo • family centred • themes of beauty
On a hot summer’s day in a poor suburb of Tokyo, we meet three women: thirty-year-old Natsuko, her older sister Makiko, and Makiko’s teenage daughter Midoriko. Makiko, an ageing hostess despairing the loss of her looks, has travelled to Tokyo in search of breast enhancement surgery. She’s accompanied by Midoriko, who has recently stopped speaking, finding herself unable to deal with her own changing body and her mother’s self-obsession. Her silence dominates Natsuko’s rundown apartment, providing a catalyst for each woman to grapple with their own anxieties and their relationships with one another.
Eight years later, we meet Natsuko again. She is now a writer and find herself on a journey back to her native city, returning to memories of that summer and her family’s past as she faces her own uncertain future.
Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date by Ashely Herring-Blake
adult • one night stand • local theatre • fake dating • writer’s block
A fake relationship with a one-night stand is anything but an act in this witty and heartfelt new romantic comedy by Ashley Herring Blake.
Everyone around Iris Kelly is in love. Her best friends are all coupled up, her siblings have partners that are perfect for them, her parents are still in marital bliss. And she’s happy for all of them, truly. So what if she usually cries in her Lyft on the way home. So what if she misses her friends, who are so busy with their own wonderful love lives, they don’t really notice Iris is spiralling. At least she has a brand-new career writing romance novels (yes, she realizes the irony of it). She is now working on her second book but has one problem: she is completely out of ideas after having spent all of her romantic energy on her debut.
Perfectly happy to ignore her problems as per usual, Iris goes to a bar in Portland and meets a sexy stranger, Stefania, and a night of dancing and making out turns into the worst one-night stand Iris has had in her life (vomit and crying are regretfully involved). To get her mind off everything and overcome her writer’s block, Iris tries out for a local play, but comes face-to-face with Stefania—or, Stevie, her real name. When Stevie desperately asks Iris to play along as her girlfriend, Iris is shocked, but goes along with it because maybe this fake relationship will actually get her creative juices flowing and she can get her book written. As the two women play the part of a couple, they turn into a constant state of hot-and-bothered and soon it just comes down to who will make the real first move…
Writers & Lovers by Lily King
adult • complex love triangle • grief • struggling writer
Funny and heart-breaking, Writers & Lovers by Lily King is the bitingly clever story of Casey, a young writer who has lost her direction in life, until two men step into her world and offer her two very different futures.
Recently out of a devastating love affair and mourning the loss of her beloved mum, Casey is lost. The novel she has been writing for six years isn’t going anywhere, her debt is soaring, and at thirty-one, with all her friends getting married and having kids, she feels too old for things to be this way.
Then she meets Silas. He is kind, handsome, interested. But only a few weeks later, Oscar – older, fascinating, troubled – walks into her life, his two boys in tow. Suddenly Casey finds herself at the point of a love triangle, torn between two very different relationships that promise two very different futures. And she’s still got to write that book . . .
The Year We Turned Forty by Liz Fenton & Lisa Steinke
adult • forty-year-old plus protagonists • three POVs • a chance to change the past
If you could repeat one year of your life, what would you do differently? This heartwarming and hilarious novel from the authors of The Status of All Things and Your Perfect Life features three best friends who get the chance to return to the year they turned forty—the year that altered all of their lives, in ways big and small—and also get the opportunity to change their future.
Jessie loves her son Lucas more than anything, but it tears her up inside that he was conceived in an affair that ended her marriage to a man she still loves, a man who just told her he’s getting remarried. This time around, she’s determined to bury the secret of Lucas’ paternity and repair the fissures that sent her wandering the first time.
Gabriela regrets that she wasted her most fertile years in hot pursuit of a publishing career. Yes, she’s one of the biggest authors in the world, but maybe what she really wanted to create was a family. With a chance to do it again, she’s focused on convincing her husband, Colin, to give her the baby she desires.
Claire is the only one who has made peace with her past: her twenty-two-year-old daughter, Emily, is finally on track after the turmoil of adolescence, and she’s recently gotten engaged, with the two-carat diamond on her finger to prove it. But if she’s being honest, Claire still fantasizes about her own missed opportunities: a chance to bond with her mother before it was too late, and the possibility of preventing her daughter from years of anguish. Plus, there’s the man who got away—the man who may have been her one true love.
But it doesn’t take long for all three women to learn that re-living a life and making different decisions only leads to new problems and consequences—and that the mistakes they made may, in fact, have been the best choices of all…
The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
adult • dual POV • friends to enemies (?) to lovers • written by real-life couple
They were cowriting literary darlings until they hit a plot hole that turned their lives upside down.
Three years ago, Katrina Freeling and Nathan Van Huysen were the brightest literary stars on the horizon, their co-written books topping bestseller lists. But on the heels of their greatest success, they ended their partnership on bad terms, for reasons neither would divulge to the public. They haven’t spoken since, and never planned to, except they have one final book due on contract.
Facing crossroads in their personal and professional lives, they’re forced to reunite. The last thing they ever thought they’d do again is hole up in the tiny Florida town where they wrote their previous book, trying to finish a new manuscript quickly and painlessly. Working through the reasons they’ve hated each other for the past three years isn’t easy, especially not while writing a romantic novel.
While passion and prose push them closer together in the Florida heat, Katrina and Nathan will learn that relationships, like writing, sometimes take a few rough drafts before they get it right.
A Novel Obsession by Caitlin Barasch
adult • struggling writer • obsession with partner’s ex • manipulation & secrets
Twenty-four-year-old bookseller and New Yorker Naomi Ackerman, desperate to write a novel, struggles to find the right story to tell. When, after years of disastrous Tinder dates, she meets Caleb—a perfectly nice guy with a Welsh accent and a unique patience for all of her quirks—she feels she’s finally stumbled onto a time-honoured subject: love. But then Caleb’s ex-girlfriend, Rosemary, enters the scene.
When Naomi learns that Rosemary is not safely tucked away overseas as she’d assumed but in fact lives in New York and works in the literary world, she is fundamentally threatened and intrigued in equal measure. On paper, Rosemary sounds like a better version of Naomi—but if they both fell for the same man, they must have something more essential in common.
Determined to figure out how their stories intertwine, Naomi’s casual Instagram stalking morphs into a full-blown friendship under false pretenses. She can’t seem to get herself to quit Rosemary, in whom she discovers an unexpected confidant—and she can’t stop writing about her either, having now found a more interesting subject for her nascent novel. As her lies and half-truths spiral out of her control, and fact and fiction become increasingly difficult to separate, Naomi manipulates the most important people in her life—her family, her friends, Caleb, Rosemary, and, perhaps most devastatingly, herself—in pursuit of her craft. Ultimately, she’s forced to decide who and what she’s willing to sacrifice to write them all the perfect ending.
Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromley
adult • wedding • second chance romance • author/bookstagrammer
Kara Sullivan’s life is full of love—albeit fictional. As a bestselling romance novelist and influential bookstagrammer, she’s fine with getting her happily-ever-after fix between the covers of a book.
But right now? Not only is Kara’s best friend getting married next week—which means big wedding stress—but the deadline for her next novel is looming, and she hasn’t written a single word. The last thing she needs is for her infuriating first love, Ryan Thompson, to suddenly appear in the wedding party. But Ryan’s unexpected arrival sparks a creative awakening in Kara that inspires the steamy historical romance she desperately needs to deliver.
With her wedding duties intensifying, her deadline getting closer by the second and her bills not paying themselves, Kara knows there’s only one way for her to finish her book and to give her characters the ever-after they deserve. But can she embrace the unlikely, ruggedly handsome muse—who pushes every one of her buttons—to save the wedding, her career and, just maybe, write her own happy ending?
The Last Book Party by Karen Dukess
adult • 1980s • aspiring writer • elite party, attendees dress as literary characters • finding your voice
A propulsive tale of ambition and romance, set in the publishing world of 1980’s New York and the timeless beaches of Cape Cod.
In the summer of 1987, 25-year-old Eve Rosen is an aspiring writer languishing in a low-level assistant job, unable to shake the shadow of growing up with her brilliant brother. With her professional ambitions floundering, Eve jumps at the chance to attend an early summer gathering at the Cape Cod home of famed New Yorker writer Henry Grey and his poet wife, Tillie. Dazzled by the guests and her burgeoning crush on the hosts’ artistic son, Eve lands a new job as Henry Grey’s research assistant and an invitation to Henry and Tillie’s exclusive and famed “Book Party”— where attendees dress as literary characters. But by the night of the party, Eve discovers uncomfortable truths about her summer entanglements and understands that the literary world she so desperately wanted to be a part of is not at all what it seems.
A page-turning, coming-of-age story, written with a lyrical sense of place and a profound appreciation for the sustaining power of books, The Last Book Party shows what happens when youth and experience collide and what it takes to find your own voice.
Miss Iceland by Auður Ava Ólafsdóttir
adult • 1960s • set in Iceland (more writers, more books published and more books read, per head, than anywhere else in the world) • friendship • being a woman in a man’s world
Iceland in the 1960s. Hekla is a budding female novelist who was born in the remote district of Dalir. After packing her few belongings, including James Joyces’s Ulysses and a Remington typewriter, she heads for Reykjavik with a manuscript buried in her bags. There, she intends to become a writer. Sharing an apartment with her childhood and queer friend Jón John, Hekla comes to learn that she will have to stand alone in a small male-dominated community that would rather see her win a pageant than be a professional artist. As the two friends find themselves increasingly on the outside, their bond shapes and strengthens them artistically in the most moving of ways.
The Paris Bookseller by Kerri Maher
adult • 1920s • bookstore owner & writer friendship • banned books • set in Paris
When bookish young American Sylvia Beach opens Shakespeare and Company on a quiet street in Paris in 1919, she has no idea that she and her new bookstore will change the course of literature itself.
Shakespeare and Company is more than a bookstore and lending library: Many of the prominent writers of the Lost Generation, like Ernest Hemingway, consider it a second home. It’s where some of the most important literary friendships of the twentieth century are forged–none more so than the one between Irish writer James Joyce and Sylvia herself. When Joyce’s controversial novel Ulysses is banned, Beach takes a massive risk and publishes it under the auspices of Shakespeare and Company.
But the success and notoriety of publishing the most infamous and influential book of the century comes with steep costs. The future of her beloved store itself is threatened when Ulysses‘ success brings other publishers to woo Joyce away. Her most cherished relationships are put to the test as Paris is plunged deeper into the Depression and many expatriate friends return to America. As she faces painful personal and financial crises, Sylvia–a woman who has made it her mission to honour the life-changing impact of books–must decide what Shakespeare and Company truly means to her.
A Ladder to the Sky by John Boyne
adult • 1980s • ambitious main character willing to steal stories • deceit & manipulation
Maurice Swift is handsome, charming, and hungry for fame. The one thing he doesn’t have is talent—but he’s not about to let a detail like that stand in his way. After all, a would-be writer can find stories anywhere. They don’t need to be his own.
Working as a waiter in a West Berlin hotel in 1988, Maurice engineers the perfect opportunity: a chance encounter with celebrated novelist Erich Ackermann. He quickly ingratiates himself with the powerful – but desperately lonely – older man, teasing out of Erich a terrible, long-held secret about his activities during the war. Perfect material for Maurice’s first novel.
Once Maurice has had a taste of literary fame, he knows he can stop at nothing in pursuit of that high. Moving from the Amalfi Coast, where he matches wits with Gore Vidal, to Manhattan and London, Maurice hones his talent for deceit and manipulation, preying on the talented and vulnerable in his cold-blooded climb to the top. But the higher he climbs, the further he has to fall. . .
Bunny by Mona Awad
adult • loneliness • twist ending • whimsical writing • obsession
✒️ Reading Hyped Dark Academia Books | I’M SORRY FOR WHAT’S ABOUT TO HAPPEN 💀
Samantha Heather Mackey couldn’t be more of an outsider in her small, highly selective MFA program at New England’s Warren University. A scholarship student who prefers the company of her dark imagination to that of most people, she is utterly repelled by the rest of her fiction writing cohort–a clique of unbearably twee rich girls who call each other “Bunny,” and seem to move and speak as one.
But everything changes when Samantha receives an invitation to the Bunnies’ fabled “Smut Salon,” and finds herself inexplicably drawn to their front door–ditching her only friend, Ava, in the process. As Samantha plunges deeper and deeper into the Bunnies’ sinister yet saccharine world, beginning to take part in the ritualistic off-campus “Workshop” where they conjure their monstrous creations, the edges of reality begin to blur. Soon, her friendships with Ava and the Bunnies will be brought into deadly collision.
The spellbinding new novel from one of our most fearless chroniclers of the female experience, Bunny is a down-the-rabbit-hole tale of loneliness and belonging, friendship and desire, and the fantastic and terrible power of the imagination.
Misery by Stephen King
adult • famous writer & movie • trapped main character
He’s a famous writer. She’s his number-one fan.
Misery Chastain is dead. Paul Sheldon has just killed her – with relief, with joy. Misery has made him rich; she was the heroine of a string of bestsellers. And now he wants to get on to some real writing.
That’s when the car accident happens, and he wakes up in pain in a strange bed. But it isn’t a hospital. Annie Wilkes has pulled him from the wreck, brought him to her remote mountain home, splinted and set his mangled legs.
The good news is that Annie was a nurse and has pain-killing drugs. The bad news is that she has long been Paul’s Number One Fan. And when she finds out what Paul had done to Misery, she doesn’t like it. She doesn’t like it at all.
Paul Sheldon used to write for a living. Now he’s writing to stay alive.
All My Colors by David Quantick
adult • 1970s • unlikable main character • steals a book only he knows exists • a price to pay
It is March 1979 in DeKalb Illinois. Todd Milstead is a wannabe writer, a serial adulterer, and a jerk, only tolerated by his friends because he throws the best parties with the best booze. During one particular party, Todd is showing off his perfect recall, quoting poetry and literature word for word plucked from his eidetic memory. When he begins quoting from a book no one else seems to know, a novel called All My Colors, Todd is incredulous. He can quote it from cover to cover and yet it doesn’t seem to exist.
With a looming divorce and mounting financial worries, Todd finally tries to write a novel, with the vague idea of making money from his talent. The only problem is he can’t write. But the book – All My Colors – is there in his head. Todd makes a decision: he will “write” this book that nobody but him can remember. After all, if nobody’s heard of it, how can he get into trouble?
As the dire consequences of his actions come home to both Todd and his long-suffering friends, it becomes clear that there is a high – and painful – price to pay for his crime.
Yellowface by R. F. Kuang
adult • stealing someone else’s work • problems in the publishing industry • secrets
Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars: same year at Yale, same debut year in publishing. But Athena’s a cross-genre literary darling, and June didn’t even get a paperback release. Nobody wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks.
So when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese labourers to the British and French war efforts during World War I.
So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song–complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree.
But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.
Other People’s Clothes by Calla Henkel
adult • dark humour • grief • set in Berlin • female friendships • a writer is writing the main characters’ lives
A propulsive debut with a wicked sense of humour in which two American ex-pats obsessed with the Amanda Knox trial find themselves at the nexus of murder and celebrity in glittering late-aughts Berlin.
Hoping to escape the pain of the recent murder of her best friend, art student Zoe Beech finds herself studying abroad in the bohemian capital of Europe–Berlin. Zoe, rudderless, relies on the arrangements of fellow exchange student Hailey Mader, who idolizes Warhol and Britney Spears and wants nothing more than to be an art star. On Craigslist, Hailey unknowingly stumbles on an apartment sublet posted by a well-known thriller writer. Feeling as though they’ve won the lottery, the women move into the high-ceilinged pre-war flat. Soon they realize that their landlady, Beatrice, who is supposed to be on a residency in Vienna, is watching them–and her next book appears to be based on their lives. Taking stock of their mundane routines–Law and Order binges and nightly nachos–Hailey insists they become people worthy of a novel. As the year unravels and events spiral out of control, they begin to wonder whose story they are living, and how will it end?
Other People’s Clothes is brilliant on the sometimes dangerous intensity of female friendships, on millennial life in the city, and the lengths people will go to in order to eradicate emotional pain.
Who Is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews
adult • aspiring writer • assistant to a famed writer who later goes missing
Florence Darrow wants to be a writer. Correction: Florence Darrow IS going to be a writer. Fired from her first job in publishing, she jumps at the chance to be assistant to the celebrated Maud Dixon, the anonymous bestselling novelist. The arrangement comes with conditions – high secrecy, living in an isolated house in the countryside. Before long, the two of them are on a research trip to Morocco, to inspire the much-promised second novel. Beach walks, red sunsets and long, whisky-filled evening discussions…win-win, surely? Until Florence wakes up in a hospital, having narrowly survived a car crash.
How did it happen – and where is Maud Dixon, who was in the car with her? Florence feels she may have been played, but wait, if Maud is no longer around, maybe Florence can make her mark as a writer after all…
The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
adult • struggling writer • remote retreat • writing challenge • trapped when people start dying
A book deal to die for.
Five attendees are selected for a month-long writing retreat at the remote estate of Roza Vallo, the controversial high priestess of feminist horror. Alex, a struggling writer, is thrilled.
Upon arrival, they discover they must complete an entire novel from scratch, and the best one will receive a seven-figure publishing deal. Alex’s long-extinguished dream now seems within reach.
But then the women begin to die.
Trapped, terrified yet still desperately writing, it is clear there is more than a publishing deal at stake at Blackbriar Estate. Alex must confront her own demons – and finish her novel – to save herself.
This unhinged, propulsive, claustrophobic closed-door thriller will pull you in and spit you out…
The Memory Police by Yōko Ogawa
adult • translated fiction • sci-fi influences • struggling writer • themes of remembrance
On an unnamed island off an unnamed coast, objects are disappearing: first hats, then ribbons, birds, roses—until things become much more serious. Most of the island’s inhabitants are oblivious to these changes, while those few imbued with the power to recall the lost objects live in fear of the draconian Memory Police, who are committed to ensuring that what has disappeared remains forgotten.
When a young woman who is struggling to maintain her career as a novelist discovers that her editor is in danger from the Memory Police, she concocts a plan to hide him beneath her floorboards. As fear and loss close in around them, they cling to her writing as the last way of preserving the past.
A surreal, provocative fable about the power of memory and the trauma of loss, The Memory Police is a stunning new work from one of the most exciting contemporary authors writing in any language.
The Villa by Rachel Hawkins
adult • dual timeline • inspired by events around Mary Shelley writing Frankenstein • writer’s block • 1970s rockstars
As kids, Emily and Chess were inseparable. But by their 30s, their bond has been strained by the demands of their adult lives. So when Chess suggests a girls trip to Italy, Emily jumps at the chance to reconnect with her best friend.
Villa Aestas in Orvieto is a high-end holiday home now, but in 1974, it was known as Villa Rosato, and rented for the summer by a notorious rock star, Noel Gordon. In an attempt to reignite his creative spark, Noel invites up-and-coming musician, Pierce Sheldon to join him, as well as Pierce’s girlfriend, Mari, and her stepsister, Lara. But he also sets in motion a chain of events that leads to Mari writing one of the greatest horror novels of all time, Lara composing a platinum album––and ends in Pierce’s brutal murder.
As Emily digs into the villa’s complicated history, she begins to think there might be more to the story of that fateful summer in 1974. That perhaps Pierce’s murder wasn’t just a tale of sex, drugs, and rock & roll gone wrong, but that something more sinister might have occurred––and that there might be clues hidden in the now-iconic works that Mari and Lara left behind.
Yet the closer that Emily gets to the truth, the more tension she feels developing between her and Chess. As secrets from the past come to light, equally dangerous betrayals from the present also emerge––and it begins to look like the villa will claim another victim before the summer ends.
Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano
adult • dark humour • struggling writer • mistaken for a contract killer
✒️ Funny Thriller and Mystery Books 🔪🩸
Finlay Donovan is killing it…except, she’s really not. A stressed-out single mom of two and struggling novelist, Finlay’s life is in chaos: The new book she promised her literary agent isn’t written; her ex-husband fired the nanny without telling her; and this morning she had to send her four-year-old to school with hair duct-taped to her head after an incident with scissors.
When Finlay is overheard discussing the plot of her new suspense novel with her agent over lunch, she’s mistaken for a contract killer and inadvertently accepts an offer to dispose of a problem husband in order to make ends meet. She soon discovers that crime in real life is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart, as she becomes tangled in a real-life murder investigation.
Fast-paced, deliciously witty, and wholeheartedly authentic in depicting the frustrations and triumphs of motherhood in all its messiness, hilarity, and heartfelt moments, Finlay Donovan Is Killing It is the first in a brilliant new series from award-winning Elle Cosimano.
The Woman in the Library by Sulari Gentill
adult • trapped in a library • four strangers • one murderer
In every person’s story, there is something to hide…
The ornate reading room at the Boston Public Library is quiet, until the tranquility is shattered by a woman’s terrified scream. Security guards take charge immediately, instructing everyone inside to stay put until the threat is identified and contained. While they wait for the all-clear, four strangers, who’d happened to sit at the same table, pass the time in conversation and friendships are struck. Each has his or her own reasons for being in the reading room that morning—it just happens that one is a murderer.
Award-winning author Sulari Gentill delivers a sharply thrilling read with The Woman in the Library, an unexpectedly twisty literary adventure that examines the complicated nature of friendship and shows us that words can be the most treacherous weapons of all.
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz
adult • struggling (once successful) writer • steals someone else’s story • someone knows the truth • cryptic messages
Jacob Finch Bonner was once a promising young novelist with a respectably published first book. Today, he’s teaching in a third-rate MFA program and struggling to maintain what’s left of his self-respect; he hasn’t written—let alone published—anything decent in years. When Evan Parker, his most arrogant student, announces he doesn’t need Jake’s help because the plot of his book in progress is a sure thing, Jake is prepared to dismiss the boast as typical amateur narcissism. But then . . . he hears the plot.
Jake returns to the downward trajectory of his own career and braces himself for the supernova publication of Evan Parker’s first novel: but it never comes. When he discovers that his former student has died, presumably without ever completing his book, Jake does what any self-respecting writer would do with a story like that—a story that absolutely needs to be told.
In a few short years, all of Evan Parker’s predictions have come true, but Jake is the author enjoying the wave. He is wealthy, famous, praised and read all over the world. But at the height of his glorious new life, an e-mail arrives, the first salvo in a terrifying, anonymous campaign: You are a thief, it says.
As Jake struggles to understand his antagonist and hide the truth from his readers and his publishers, he begins to learn more about his late student, and what he discovers both amazes and terrifies him. Who was Evan Parker, and how did he get the idea for his “sure thing” of a novel? What is the real story behind the plot, and who stole it from whom?
Off The Record by Camryn Garrett
young adult • aspiring writer • writing a celebrity profile • on tour • #MeToo movement
Ever since seventeen-year-old Josie Wright can remember, writing has been her identity, the thing that grounds her when everything else is a garbage fire. So when she wins a contest to write a celebrity profile for Deep Focus magazine, she’s equal parts excited and scared, but also ready. She’s got this.
Soon Josie is jetting off on a multi-city tour, rubbing elbows with sparkly celebrities, frenetic handlers, stone-faced producers, and eccentric stylists. She even finds herself catching feelings for the subject of her profile, dazzling young newcomer Marius Canet. Josie’s world is expanding so rapidly, she doesn’t know whether she’s flying or falling. But when a young actress lets her in on a terrible secret, the answer is clear: she’s in over her head.
One woman’s account leads to another and another. Josie wants to expose the man responsible, but she’s reluctant to speak up, unsure if this is her story to tell. What if she lets down the women who have entrusted her with their stories? What if this ends her writing career before it even begins? There are so many reasons not to go ahead, but if Josie doesn’t step up, who will?
From the author of Full Disclosure, this is a moving testament to the #MeToo movement, and all the ways women stand up for each other.
The Herd by Andrea Bartz
adult • aspiring writer • woman-only group • someone goes missing
The name of the elite, women-only coworking space stretches across the wall behind the check-in desk: THE HERD, the H-E-R always in purple. In-the-know New Yorkers crawl over each other to apply for membership to this community that prides itself on mentorship and empowerment. Among the hopefuls is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest after a stint of book research blew up in her face. Luckily, Katie has an in, thanks to her sister Hana, an original Herder and the best friend of Eleanor Walsh, its charismatic founder.
As head of PR, Hana is working around the clock in preparation for a huge announcement from Eleanor—one that would change the trajectory of The Herd forever.
Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suggest foul play, everyone is a suspect.
Queenie by Candice Carty Williams
adult • messy main character • friendships • bad relationships
Queenie Jenkins is a twenty-five-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither. She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle-class peers. After a messy break-up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
Funny You Should Ask by Elissa Sussman
adult • interview with celebrity crush • dual timeline
Then. Twenty-something writer Chani Horowitz is stuck. While her former MFA classmates are nabbing book deals, she’s in the trenches writing puff pieces. Then she’s hired to write a profile of movie star Gabe Parker. The Gabe Parker–her forever celebrity crush, the object of her fantasies, the background photo on her phone–who’s also just been cast as the new James Bond. It’s terrifying and thrilling all at once… yet if she can keep her cool and nail the piece, it could be a huge win. Gabe will get good press, and her career will skyrocket. But what comes next proves to be life-changing in ways Chani never saw coming, as the interview turns into a whirlwind weekend that has the tabloids buzzing.
Now. Ten years later, after a brutal divorce and a heavy dose of therapy, Chani is back in Los Angeles, laser-focused on one thing: her work. But she’s still spent the better part of the last decade getting asked about her deeply personal Gabe Parker profile at every turn. No matter what new essay collection or viral editorial she’s promoting, it always comes back to Gabe. So when his PR team requests that they reunite for a second interview, she wants to say no. She wants to pretend that she’s forgotten about the time they spent together, years ago. But the truth is that those seventy-two hours are still crystal clear, etched in her memory. And so… he says yes.
Chani knows that facing Gabe again also means facing feelings she’s tried so hard to push away. Alternating between their first meeting and their reunion a decade later, this deliciously irresistible novel will have you hanging on until the last word.
A restless young journalist with big dreams interviews a Hollywood heartthrob–and, ten years later, it’s clear that their time together meant more than meets the eye in this sexy, engrossing adult debut novel.
The God of Good Looks by Breanne Mc Ivor
adult • aspiring writer • set in Trinidad •diary entries • dual POV • class themes
Bianca Bridge has always dreamt of becoming a writer. But Trinidadian society can be unforgiving, and having an affair with a married government official is a sure-fire way to ruin your prospects. So when Obadiah Cortland, a notoriously tyrannical entrepreneur in the island’s beauty scene, offers her a job, Bianca accepts, realizing that working on his magazine is the closest to her dreams she’ll get.
As Bianca begins to embrace her power and creative voice, she starts to suspect Obadiah is not the elite tyrant he seems. She’s right. Born in one of the poorest parts of Trinidad, Obadiah has clawed partway up society’s ladder and built his company around his meticulously crafted persona. Now, he’s not about to let anyone, especially Bianca, see past his façade.
When Bianca’s ex-lover threatens everything she’s rebuilt, jeopardizing all she’s come to love about her new life, she’s surprised to find support from the most unlikely ally and, finally, draws the strength to fight back like her mother taught her.
Sharp-witted and fiercely fun, The God of Good Looks alternates between Bianca’s diary entries and Obadiah’s first-person narrative to portray modern Trinidad’s rigid class barriers and the fraught impact of beauty commodification in a patriarchal society. Boisterous, moving, and full of meaty, universally relatable questions, Mc Ivor’s sparkling debut is an open-hearted, awakening tale about prejudice and pride, the masks we wear, and what we can become if we dare to take them off.
15 thoughts on “40+ Books About Writers | romance, historical & mystery books”
Beach read was so good!! I love all these recs! Great post 😊
LikeLiked by 1 person
I’m glad you enjoyed Beach Read, it looks like the perfect summer read!
Thank you, hope you discover some great books 📚✨❤️
LikeLiked by 1 person
OH MY GOSH SOPHIE THIS LIST IS OFFICIALLY EVERYTHING?? i’ve been on a world-wide search for books featuring writers and/or readers FOR AS LONG BACK AS FOREVER so this is. SLIGHT ABSOLUTE PERFECTION AND I LOVE IT?? also must make it my life mission to read every single book off of this list as soon as possible BECAUSE WRITERS. i’ve only ever encountered woman in the library before and EH THAT ONE WAS SLIGHTLY TERRIBLE but so so excited for the rest of these THANK YOU FOR THE LIST
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ahh… THANK YOU ANOUSHKA 🥰💗 I am sooo happy this list could be helpful and provide all those books about writers dreams! It is definitely a theme I am intrigued to explore, I want to hear about writers crying about writing!!
I wish you luck 🍀 on your life mission to read all these books and you MUST tell me all your thoughts on them when you do!! 🥰
I’m sorry the woman in the library was a disappointment though. Why must books do this to us?!? Hope you enjoy the rest ❤️❤️
Ooooh, I just know I’m going to keep returning to this list for many years to come! 🤗🥰🤗 Books about writers are some of my absolute favorites – I guess they’re the perfect mixture of relatable, inspirational, and awkward introvertedness? 😁 – so this is the perfect compilation!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Ahh.. I am sooo glad this list appeals to you and hopefully provided plenty of recommendations! 🥰 I love reading about writers too~~ both their passion and personality types. I love your list of attributes, introverts just get me 😂
I hope you enjoy any books you decide to check out ❤️❤️
LikeLiked by 1 person
Great post! I love when the main character is a writer or otherwise creative 🥰 Just read The Dead Romantics and it was fantastic, I loved that it was about a ghostwriter who can actually see ghosts 👻 Beach Read was also fantastic, especially with both characters switching genres to break their writer’s block!
I’m SO hyped for Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date, as I love the series and I’m excited to read more about Iris 💕
LikeLiked by 1 person
Thank you so much Caro 💗 Having a creative main character is a wonderful experience, I love seeing their passion and how they fit it into their lives.
I am so glad you enjoyed The Dead Romantics, I’ve heard a lot of great things and I love the sound of ghosts too 👻
Ohh.. The authors switching genres in Beach Read does sound fun!!
Ahh.. Hope you love Iris Kelly. It is a series I am eager to start and Iris seems a great addition to it 😍
LikeLiked by 1 person
I love this list SO much, definitely bookmarking it to refer to it later. I love reading about writers so much, I find it so much fun! I loved loved loved The Roughest Draft. On my TBR, I have Yellowface, which I’ve heard AMAZING things about… and now I’m going to add way more, thanks to you ahah, thank you!! xx
LikeLiked by 1 person
Aw.. I’m so happy you loved this list Marie, I did think it would appeal to fellow writers 🥰
It is great to read about writers; the passion and personalities.
It is lovely to see you praise The Roughest Draft because the plot sounds great, but I hadn’t heard too much about it.
I’ve heard amazing things about Yellowface too, I think it even talks about the beast that is Twitter (eek)!
Haha hope you enjoy any you decide to pick up! ❤️ Thank you for your lovely comment!
LikeLiked by 1 person
Yes, I hoped to see here Stephen King and I did. His book The Shining is also about a writer.
LikeLiked by 1 person
He has done a couple with writer main characters I think, Misery seems an iconic one. I didn’t realise the shining had one too, I should really watch the movie one of these days!
LikeLiked by 1 person