Relatable characters are always a key ingredient to writing a successful book. If you’re an avid reader and lover of books, these 12 picks will have you immersed in the lives of characters who share your passion for all things literature.

Love and Other Foreign Words by Erin McCahan

The only people who truly understand Josie are her best friend Stu and her sister Kate. When Kate gets engaged to a man Josie feels is wrong for her, she’ll do anything she can to break up the union to keep her sister for herself. And in trying to understand her own boyfriend’s affections, dealing with her sister, and nurturing her silent best friend, Josie is in for a struggle like never before.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much by Allison Hoover Bartlett

In this book touted as The True Story of a Thief, a Detective, and a World of Literary Obsession, journalist Allison Hoover Bartlett follows the lives of John Gilkey and the detective who helped to capture the rare-book thief. Suspenseful, insightful and humorous, Bartlett writes about a man who puts everything on the line to steal precious books.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George

Monsieur Perdu prescribes book therapy for his customers from his floating bookstore on the Seine. Healing people through literature is his specialty but he can’t seem to heal his own broken heart. An unopened letter from his lost love and a quest to find her takes readers on a literary adventure.

The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler

Five women and one man in California’s central valley have one thing in common: they love Jane Austen and her work. Regularly meeting to discuss the author’s books, these six will find their love lives become conflicted as they dive into the world of Jane Austen romances.

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Enduring a childhood of abandonment, assault and prejudice, Maya Angelou finds the courage to love herself through the kindness of others and through the words of authors who inspire her. This bestselling book was Maya Angelou’s debut memoir and will touch all those who read.

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie

Two city boys are forced to move to a remote village where they will find an intriguing surprise in the form of the tailor’s daughter and her collection of banned books. As flirtation ensues with the young girl and the books transport them to new worlds, the boys realize that their relocation may have been for the best.

The Book of Speculation by Erika Swyler

Simon is a young librarian living alone after the death of his parents and the departure of his sister. When he receives an old book filled with mysteries proclaiming a family curse, Simon must unravel the secrets in order to save his sister before the curse strikes again.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin

This novel will remind you why you love reading. A.J. Fikry is the owner of a failing bookstore who loses all optimism when his cherished collection of Edgar Allan Poe poems is stolen. When a mysterious package arrives with his name on it, it’ll offer him the opportunity to start over again.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is equipped with impressive powers she never knew she had and when the wrong person pushes her to her limits, she’ll find the courage to fight back. This story about a young and brave bookworm is a classic all readers will enjoy.

Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi

Azar Nafisi writes the story of how she introduced a new world of literature and free speech to seven chosen female students. Reading forbidden Western classics together, the women are encouraged to speak their minds during a volatile time in their lives. This memoir is an uplifting story about the resilience of women and the power of words.

Mr. Penumbras 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan

It doesn’t take Clay Jannon – Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore’s newest employee – very long to realize it’s no ordinary bookstore. The clientele doesn’t make purchases like he had expected, so he begins to analyze their peculiar behavior. When he takes his findings to Mr. Penumbra, he’ll learn secrets that extend far beyond the bookstore’s walls.