There are SO many books I wish I’d written – from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY to HARRY POTTER to A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY to PRACTICAL MAGIC to A HANDMAID’S TALE to THE HUNGER GAMES to my most recent read, STATION ELEVEN to…you get the idea. It has nothing to do with bestseller status (though that would be nice) and everything to do with how those books made me feel when I read them – they opened my eyes to different worlds, people, experiences … and proved the power of a great story in the right hands.
But like Amy, I’m also glad I didn’t write the books above because then I wouldn’t have had the experience of reading them for the first time. Which is also true for these three books – books I will forever carry a torch for:
Oh, this book. SIGH. Though it did take me a few chapters to get into the rhythm of the narrative – which swings back and forth between past, present, and future – once I had the hang of the time shifts I fell hard. It is a love story between a man, Henry, who has a genetic condition that causes him to time travel, and a woman, Clare, who must live each day as it comes, sometimes with Henry and sometimes without him. It broke my heart, this book, but I have read it again and again because the depth of these characters and the love they have for one another is breathtaking.
This was my first introduction to magical realism, and I continue to love this style of fiction – which many try to master but few do as well as Esquivel. This is a story about unrealized romantic love, but it’s also a foodie’s love story. Written in 1989 and told in monthly installments – with each chapter starting with a recipe — the story follows Tita, the youngest of three daughters born to a tyrannical ranch owner mother who forces her to follow tradition, giving up a true love to look after her mother. Tita’s sadness, fear, longing, and loss are all reflected in her cooking and the dishes she makes, which result in bittersweet consequences. It’s a beautifully written book, set in turn-of-the-century Mexico, and a must read for those who love magic and food.
By the time I read ME BEFORE YOU there was already quite a bit of hype, so I went in with big expectations – usually a surefire way for me to end up disappointed by the last page. But not with this book – I was crying so hard by the end my 6-year-old daughter plopped a tissue box beside me and shushed me while she patted my back. The story of Lou – a young woman trying to find her way, without much success – and Will – a previously charismatic man who lived life to the fullest before an accident rendered him quadriplegic, at times does feel predictable … but don’t let that stop you. Yes, I knew exactly where Moyes was taking me as I flipped the pages, but that only made me turn those pages faster. A love story you hope has a happy ending but fear won’t, this book destroyed me in the best possible way, and left me thinking about the characters long after I finished the book.
Tell me – what are the books you’ve fallen hard for? I love to add to my list!
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