BTT: Special Interests

Today’s Booking through Thursday question asks:

There are certain types of books that I more or less assume all readers read. (Novels, for example.)But then there are books that only YOU read. What niche books do YOU read?

There was a time in the not-so-distant past that my niche books focused on baking – and in particular, muffins. My husband was a branch manager of a local bank and he asked me to make muffins each Saturday for the loyal patrons. I would make mini-muffins (you know, the 2-bite morsel) and typically make 3 different varieties of muffins – 3 dozen each. As you can imagine, I went through muffin recipes rather quickly and so needed several resources at my disposal. I have not made muffins for years, but old habits die hard. Each time I go into a bookstore and see a muffin book, I initially think “I don’t have that one; I need to buy it.”

My youngest daughter is now following in my footsteps. She also loves to bake and is now finding her niche in cupcake cookbooks. She just recently bought this one and has made two of the decorative cupcakes in one week: sunflowers and butterflies. Watching her bake, decorate and create brings back some fond memories.

Currently I would say that my unique book collection centers around the academics of reading: books about books if you will. The first time I was introduced to this category of books was about 4 years ago when I was teaching British Literature for the first time and I was scared stiff (I truly felt as though I did not know what I was doing). I noticed the book, How to Read Literature Like a Professor on the end-cap of a local bookstore and picked it up while waiting in line. Once I got to the cash register I knew I had to buy it. I learned so much about HOW to read literature – and that it is not as scary or unattainable as I had once thought (and, like most things in life, the more you do it, the easier it becomes). This lead me to want to read more and more books about the process of reading and analyzing literature. Some of my favorites include: Reading Like a Writer by Francine Prose; The 7 Basic Plots by Christopher Booker ; and How to Read a Book by Mortimer Adler. For teaching purposes, I have truly enjoyed the The Well-Educated Mind by Susan Wise Bauer; and Mini Lessons for Literature Circles by Harvey Daniels and Nancy Steineke.


  • JoAnn

    I just love the Hello Cupcake cover. Cookbooks make up the bulk of my niche collection. I can't believe I forgot to mention all my books about books and writing! There should be an addendum on my post – oh, well…

  • Anonymous

    All those books about reading look good to me; I've had Adler's How to Read a Book on my wish list for years now.

  • Kaye

    Seven Basic Plots sounds good. Hope you're having a great week. My scrapbooking contest opened today and I know you like cozies and scrapbooking ~ I hope you get a chance to come over and enter.

  • Max Weismann

    We are a not-for-profit educational organization, founded by Mortimer Adler and we have recently made an exciting discovery–three years after writing the wonderfully expanded third edition of How to Read a Book, Mortimer Adler and Charles Van Doren made a series of thirteen 14-minute videos, lively discussing the art of reading. The videos were produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica. For reasons unknown, sometime after their original publication, these videos were lost.

    Three hours with Mortimer Adler on one DVD. A must for libraries and classroom teaching the art of reading.

    I cannot over exaggerate how instructive these programs are–we are so sure that you will agree, if you are not completely satisfied, we will refund your donation.

    Please go here to see a clip and learn more:


  • Vasilly

    You named some of the books I enjoyed reading lately Reading Like a Writer and The Well-Trained Mind. I checked out the Bauer book a few months ago from the library. I have to return it, so I decided to just buy it already. Have you read The Reading Zone by Nancie Atwell or The Rights of the Reader by Daniel Pennac? I think you would enjoy both as a reader and as a teacher.

  • Bonnie

    I enjoy cookbooks as well and need to use them more! That is sweet that your daughter is following in your footsteps with the cupcakes. They are beautiful…the butterflies look like works of art.

    I've seen a few of the books you mentioned and have been tempted to pick up How to read literature like a professor. I'm glad to hear that you recommend them.

  • Moo

    Interesting post. One of my niches is books about books but I haven't read much about reading, more about writing, book collecting and libraries. I have added your suggestions to my wish list. Thanks.

  • Rebecca :)

    Oooh, that is a good one. Books about books. I love books about books and also writing. They are fascinating! Who knew that reading a book about reading books would be interesting in the least?

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