This month since we are talking about self-care, I decided to write reviews on some of my all-time favorite books. Self-care can be doing many different things for yourself and one of the ways I take care of myself is to read novels that inspire me and make me feel all the feels. These are novels that made me laugh, cry and if not completely escape my own life – at least made me forget my own troubles and immerse myself into these characters lives and stories. They made me feel GOOD and what is more self-caring than that?
The first novel is “This is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Topper (Dutton, August 2009). This story centers around Judd Foxman, who while still reeling from the affair between his wife and his boss, finds out his father has died. His fathers dying wish was for have his family sit shiva together for seven days after the funeral. The Foxman family is the epitome of dysfunctional and haven’t all been together in years. This may sound like the beginning of a terribly sad story but it is actually a hysterically funny and emotionally raw novel about love, marriage, family and the ties that bind us together, whether we like it or not. There were parts of this book where I laughed out loud and others that had me ugly crying and I don’t know if I’ve ever enjoyed a book quite as much as I did this one.
The second book I’ve chosen is “Love Walked In” by Marisa de los Santos (Penguin Group December 2006). When Cary Grant lookalike, Martin walks into the cafe where Cornelia works, sparks definitely fly. But what Cornelia doesn’t know is that Martin isn’t the love of her life just the catalyst for what will be. This story has beautifully written characters and so many heartfelt surprises. It feels real, gives hope and makes the reader realize that love really is all around you. I loved this novel so much that even though I first read it over 10 years ago, I still think about it and recommend it. Another great thing – there is a sequel (Belong to Me, HarperCollins, 2008), and it is just as wonderful.
The third book I chose is “One Day” by David Nicholls (Hodder & Stoughton, 2009). This brilliant novel is about Emma and Dexter, who meet for the first time on the night of their college graduation. The next day they will move away to start their lives in separate places and yet somehow, this one night binds them together forever. One of many things I enjoy about this book is that we hear about the characters lives on the same day, July 15th, year after year. It’s an interesting concept and even though we only see this one day, it gives us all the information we need to understand these people and to see the amazing friendship and love between them. Yes, it’s a love story but it’s not a fairytale. It’s about the dreams we have in our youth that don’t work out and about finding new dreams and passions as we grow older. I simply adore this book. I got completely and hopelessly lost inside of it. And really, what more can you ask of a book?
So these are some of my absolute favorites. I have many more but these are three that I’ve never forgotten about, think about still and that I’ve loaned out of my personal library the most. Two have been made into movies, but I promise (as almost always), the books are so much better, funnier and extremely more emotionally engaging.