It seems I may have inadvertently overloaded a bookshelf in one of my houses, and now I can't open the bookshelf's inventory or read any of the books on it. Is this a well-known bug? Is there a good workaround for it?
Yeah I think this is a bug brought on by the new patch that a lot of people are experiencing. I found this that explains how it happens but unfortunately the only way to fix it is to load a save from before either of these situations (I've bolded the one which seems to match your case):
PC users might be able to fix this using the console but I'm not really experienced with it.
Hope that helps :)