Welcome to my first book club recap, where I share five book recommendations in each post. I enjoy historical fiction the most. At the same time, I like to keep things interesting by adding other genres into the mix. Some are newer, while others are oldies but goodies.
1. Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes
After an accident leaves Will in a wheelchair with minimal ability to move, he loses his independence and purpose in life. Louisa, who's a bit lost herself at the moment, is hired to be his companion and help him embrace his new life. First impressions have them reluctant at the idea of friendship, but as they begin to peel back the layers of who they are, their guards come down, and a love story unfolds.
I decided to read this book after a friend mentioned it was worth reading. I had already seen the film, which I enjoyed, and wanted to give it a go after hearing how good it was. Like most books made into movies, there is much more to the characters and the storyline that's not in the motion picture. It was intriguing to get the perspective of different characters and what they thought of Will and Louisa, both individually and together.
This book is the first of a trilogy. As I appreciated the development of Will's influence on Louisa's character to reach her full potential and get outside of the box she had created for herself, I'm interested to read the next one, After You.
2. The Nightingale, by Kristin Hannah
This novel begins in France in 1939 and tells the story of two sisters, Vianne and Isabelle, who couldn't be more different, and how they react to the trials and turmoil caused as the Nazis invade France. As a result of the times, both women go into survival mode and contribute to the war efforts in ways that the other wouldn't see as an option.
The sisters have a strained relationship with each other and their father. As the story progresses, you learn about all their facets and level of caring for each other that they don't always know how to express in a way the other can fully receive. The complexity and layers of the characters were the determining factors for me choosing this book as my must-read in this roundup.
The Nightingale is the second novel I've read by Kristin Hannah, and I thoroughly enjoy how she ends her stories. There's a surprise you don't see coming, but it remains true to the characters and who you've come to know them as.
3. All Joy and No Fun, by Jennifer Senior
This author follows and observes the different family dynamics of children who have re-invented their parents' lives. While this book isn't specific in addressing the challenges of parenting, it provokes thought on how the role of children has changed in society over time and how parents can determine the part they play in the family dynamic.
As a non-parent, this was a good read for an outside perspective on expectations parents set on themselves and considerations for when you're ready to take this "joyful" life step.
4. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet , by Jamie Ford
This coming-of-age story told in a split narrative depicts a young Chinese boy, Henry, growing up during World War II. He tries to navigate balancing his personal feelings with societal and familial expectations. The story also flashes forward to an adult Henry, as he tries to find out what happened to his Japanese friend, Keiko, and her family all those years ago.
This story gives an experience of many emotions as you feel happy following the budding young love story and sad as complications of the turbulent times and family obligations take these two characters on different paths.
5. The 5 Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
This book is a blueprint on how we express and receive love individually. It shares insight on understanding and communicating with someone based on their needs.
Josh and I were given a copy of this book as an engagement present. It was educational in putting behaviors together, helping us understand why we each react the way we do to gestures while equipping us with knowledge on the best way to show our love and appreciation towards each other.
If you're like me and feel like you could be almost all of the languages, take this quiz on the book's website to know which best fits you.
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Which one of these picks sounds the most interesting to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time,
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