The Books Within

Have you ever wished you could read a book that was only created within the context of another book, movie, or TV show? Personally, I would love to read Hogwarts: A History so I can be as smart as Hermione, or get lost in Leo Gursky’s The History of Love from Nicole Krauss’ real novel of the same name. And is it possible to pre-order Castle‘s next thriller?

Mostly, I think nothing would make me happier than seeing the children’s pop-up detective book, Little Gumshoe, by the brilliant Emerson Cod (from the dearly departed Pushing Daisies) in bookstores.

There are many more that I’m not mentioning, so you tell me – what fake novel would you love to read in real life?

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20 thoughts on “The Books Within

  1. Hi I am new to this blog I just felt really compelled to comment on this topic … I would love to read books by Kilgore Trout … as far as I can remember every protagonist in Kurt Vonnegut's novels had some moment of discovery or inspiration after reading books these books … I wonder if I would find them at the nearest adult store? hmmmm….

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  2. That's it. I must buy this Castle book. Thanks everyone!

    Heather – thanks for sending that link! How did I forget about Philip Roth's alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman!?

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  3. I'm trying to think of all the good ones. Michael Chabon's Summerland has a book that is called How to Catch Lightning and Smoke that sounded really cool. The Princess Bride of course, would be wonderful (or even the “long awaited sequel” – Buttercup's Baby. I'm not sure if that was also a hoax. Sigh).

    But here is an interesting link that goes in perfectly with your post. It's called “The Invisible Library” and even though it's incomplete, it has so many more “invisible books than I expected. I love the ideas of books within books.

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  4. I bought the first CASTLE novel, although I haven't read it yet. I would DEFINITELY read LITTLE GUMSHOE. That whole idea in PUSHING DAISIES cracked me up: the sarcastic, world-weary detective who loved pop-up books and created his own! And there are a lot of books inside the HARRY POTTER novels that I would love to read.

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  5. Sarah-

    I researched the Castle book, which means that I googled it. It turns out that Heat Wave is a real book. Here's what wikipedia says:

    “As a promotion for the show, “Richard Castle's” (ghost-written) book Heat Wave was released in hardcover by Hyperion on 29 September 2009 and debuted at #26 on the New York Times bestseller list.[10] In its 4th week on the list, Heat Wave broke into the top 10 as #6.[11] The novel also features a fictionalized version of the already fictional Richard Castle, aptly named “Jameson Rook,” (the first name derived from the Irish whiskey, while the last name comes from the chess piece Rook which is also known as the Castle) who enters into a partnership with Heat that mirrors Castle's working relationship with Beckett.”

    Kind of surreal. But I must get the book.

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  6. i once read a book called Sophie's World. It was fiction but heavily influenced by certain philosophical theory's. at one point the main character picks up a book titled Sophie's World. It begins just as the actual novel does. The main characters mind is blown because it includes things that would not have happened while it was going through publication. Also things about herself she's never told. She questions her own existence as future event coincide with a book already in print.

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  7. A.S. Byatt, wound a number of unreal book into Babel Tower, as well as referencing a host of others that are real. But the one that really sticks with me is the fantasy the main character's roommate is writing for her daughter: about an abandoned prince you can talk to animals. I'll always wonder how that story would have ended.

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  8. Lydia – You just blew my mind by saying The Princess Bride isn't real! I've read the book by William Goldman, which he dubbed “The Good Parts” so I STILL believed there was a real one floating around out there by S. Morgenstern.

    Connie – If you find a real Castle book, send me info!

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  9. I'd love to read Hogwarts: A History. And on Saturday I saw my librarian reading something that looked exactly like a Castle book. I was going to ask her about it, but she was trying to hide it. Hmm. I need to investigate.

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  10. I want to read the real Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy – the digital book they show on the movie. Of course, I haven't read the book yet, so I'm not sure if it's described differently in there. I bet get on top of that!

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  11. I want to read the original Princess Bride as it was discussed in the book. But of course it's totally a made-up book. When I was a kid, I even sent a letter to that darn publisher listed in the book and nothing happened!

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  12. One nice thing about Stephen King is that sometimes you actually can read the fake novel within the real novel. “Misery” comes to mind. Also possibly “The Dark Half.”

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