Have you ever had a book hangover? Have you ever read a book and then realized that nothing could possibly meet your expectations ever again? Sometimes the writing is amazing and it leaves you feeling in awe of the power of words. Sometimes it’s the story that takes your breath away. Every once in a while it’s both. I haven’t had a ton of book hangovers, which makes them amazing when they happen. Here are a few books that blew me away. (AKA – a collection of my favorite books ever)
All The Light We Cannot See is the first book that comes to mind – the story was incredible and the writing shook me. This is a WWII novel set in France, which ticks a lot of boxes for me out of the gate. Marie-Laure is a young girl who is blind and living with her single father in Paris. He works at the Museum of Natural History and is a doting and loving man. When Germans invade the city, they flee to a reclusive uncle outside of the city. Through a long lead up, Marie-Laure meets Werner, a young orphan with an aptitude for mechanics who became a Nazi due to his lack of options in life.
There was so much about this book that I loved. I still think about the scene where Marie-Laure opens a can of peaches – it was exquisite. And looking over my book lists, it seems as though it took me two weeks to even start another book after I finished this one — hangover indeed!
You had to know that I’d be including Jayber Crow in this list; no other book has stuck with me for such a long period of time. I read this last fall and I still think about my relationship with the natural world in a completely different way. I saw so much of my own oddness in Jayber and felt a little less alone – isn’t that the purpose of books?
I think I recommend A Gentleman in Moscow more than any other book. I describe it as Eloise for grownups… although, I recently read Eloise for the first time and can say that Count Rostov is nowhere near as bratty as she is. This is set in Moscow in the 1920s, just as the Bolsheviks take over. Count Rostov is sentenced to house arrest for writing a subversive poem; luckily, his home is the glamorous Metropol Hotel. I loved Count Rostov. I book-darted the heck out of this book because I found it full of thoughtful observations.
The Gilead Trilogy was more than I imagined. I was scared to start the first in the series because I thought it would be over my head and way too literary for me. I’m sure that it was, but I still managed to get a ton from all of the books in the trilogy. I loved how brilliantly Robinson took a deep dive into her characters in Gilead, Iowa and used them to show how our inner turmoil tends to be the same, no matter who we are. I plan to reread this series in 10 years or so – it begs to be revisited!
Salt to the Sea is a YA novel and the story is mind blowing. What happened to the German civilians when WWII ended? Where did they go? How did they survive? This novel attempts to tell a few of their stories and is based on a tragic episode that you might not have learned about. The cost of war is always too high.
The Goldfinch broke my heart and stitched it back up a bit crooked. I still haven’t seen the new movie because I’m scared that it will send me on an emotional roller coaster that I can’t quite handle right now. This novel is a behemoth, but totally worth it. It tells the story of a young boy, Theo, who’s mother dies in a terrorist attack in an art museum. We follow Theo throughout his troubled youth and young adulthood, all while he hides a valuable painting that he took during the chaos of the initial explosion in the museum. I kept thinking about how his mother would have felt if she saw the things Theo experienced after her death — and I was paralyzed by those thoughts. Oh! It’s so good!
Thank you to Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl for hosting this fun topic. I can’t wait to visit the other blogs in this linkup to find new books to add to my TBR.
And how about you? Have you ever had a book hangover? Which books caused it? And have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And of course — I’m always open to book recommendations!