Explore the richness of English expression with book idioms and their meanings in this article.

Are you enhancing your English reading skills? Books serve as incredible reservoirs of knowledge and inspiration. Unsurprisingly, the English language features intriguing idioms related to books. Discover such idioms in this article, so continue reading to grasp them all.

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Every trick in the book

This expression signifies “to exert maximum effort to attain a result or succeed in a particular endeavor.”

For example:

I’ve tried every trick in the book to get my students to do their homework.

The oldest trick in the book

This phrase refers to “a deceptive method that remains effective, despite being well-known, not novel, and having been employed multiple times by various individuals.”

For example:

Writing the answers on your arm before a test is the oldest trick in the book.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking…”– Haruki Murakami

In my book

This concluding book idiom in our compilation signifies “in my view” or “according to me.”

For example:

In my opinion, she is quite unkind.

Elvis was the best singer of his generation, in my book.


The initial term related to books is, naturally, “bookworm.” It refers to an individual who thoroughly enjoys reading books.

For example:

Emma is a total bookworm. She spends all her free time reading books.

Einstein was a bookworm. He loved to read.

Hit the books

This book idiom signifies “to study.” It doesn’t imply physically hitting books.

For example:

I should hit the books tonight.

Mary has to hit the books if she’s going to pass the exam.

 Don’t judge a book by its cover

This idiom implies that one should not assess the worth or value of something based solely on its external appearance.

For example:

Snails look too gross to eat but don’t judge a book by its cover.

To be in someone’s good books

This English book idiom suggests “to be favored or liked by someone.” If you are “in someone’s good books,” it indicates that they have a positive opinion of you. Conversely, being “in someone’s bad books” means they are currently displeased with you for some reason.

For example:

Monica is in the teacher’s good books.

Mulan was in the chef’s good books before she spoiled the main dish that evening.

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By the book

This idiom means “to follow the rules; not cheat.”

For example:

Police officers should do things by the book.

Their team doesn’t play in the book. They constantly cheat.

 To book

This idiom in English means “to reserve; to make a reservation; to make an appointment.”

For example:

I booked the meeting room for 4 p.m.

He booked a hotel room for the last weekend of the month.

Read someone like a book

This book idiom means “to know someone so well that you know their thoughts and feelings simply by looking at them.”

For example:

My best friend can read me like a book.

Open book / Closed book

The first expression means “someone who is very open or expressive with their thoughts and feelings.” The second expression means the opposite; it refers to someone is difficult to understand or who doesn’t talk about or otherwise gives no indication of their thoughts, feelings, opinions, etc.

For example:

You are an open book for me.

It’s hard to tell what he’s thinking. He’s a closed book.

Book idioms enhance the richness and nuance of the English language, providing an engaging and vivid means of expression. Whether you’re an avid reader or not, familiarizing yourself with book idioms is an excellent way to enhance your English language proficiency and impress others with your linguistic knowledge.

In this article, we’ve delved into some of the most widely used book idioms and their meanings. We trust that this exploration has contributed to expanding your understanding of the English language and refining your communication abilities.

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What is your English level?

Find out your A1 A2 B1 B2 C1 C2 level of English with our quick, free online test.