Books are marvelous little universes I can get lost in for hours and hours. Here are four emotionally gripping books that I just couldn't put down, from the first page to the last. You'll want to read these on perfect fall days, cuddled under a warm blanket with a warm cup of coffee (or tea) within arm's reach.
Reading has been my most favorite thing to do since the third grade, when Ms. Tsakaris started reading books to our entire class and opened up a whole new world for me. The very first book she read to us was “Where The Red Fern Grows” by Wilson Rawls. OMG. That book had such an impact on our little 8-year old hearts! During the course of the story, we inevitably fell in love with the coon dogs and imagined WE were Billy, and the coon dogs were OUR dogs. We were 100% emotionally invested. As you can imagine, when the story ended, more than a few of us went home that day with tear-stained shirts. Here are four books you can read today that may leave YOU with a tear-stained shirt.
Why I Love Books
The coolest thing about reading is that it gives you access to an entirely different universe than the one you actually live in. Books can transport you pretty much anywhere…to outer space, or to the jungle, or even to worlds that don’t exist in our universe at all. You can be anyone or anything, living anywhere in any time. Books are the ultimate time travel machines.
Good Book vs Great Book
So what makes a good book? Good books gives you insight into the emotions the character is going through, blurring the lines between who you are and who they are.
For a suspended moment in time, you’re a spy fleeing the enemy, exhilarated by the cat-and-mouse intrigue. Or maybe you’re a newly-married wife, experiencing the romance of a secluded honeymoon. Or perhaps you’re a prison inmate, trying to survive in a harsh environment.
Regardless of the circumstances, a good book is good because it makes you FEEL the life of the character. That feeling is what keeps us turning the page.
What separates a good book from a GREAT book, though, is that while a good book makes you feel, a great book makes you question. It brings to light the holes in your relationships, the flaws in your own character, the longings in your life.
A great book acts as a mirror that gives you insight into yourself, encouraging you to take actions to repair any deficiencies or to become more grateful for all the good in your life. Whatever the insight, a great book inspires change.
4 Books Perfect For Fall
For me, the four books below are great books. They stay on my mind and whisper to me every so often, reminding me that life is uncertain and fragile. That every relationships serves a purpose, even if it’s temporary. These books also affirm that life is full of love, and if we look for it, we will find it, even if not in the way we initially expect it.
Book 1. We Were The Lucky Ones by Georgia Hunter
Speed randomly picked this book for me at Target. This book is about a Jewish family and their experiences during the Holocaust. It reads like fiction but is based on actual events that the author’s family went through during those years.
I just recently wrote about this book on my Facebook page, and highlighted a scene that still skips through my thoughts every so often. The scene is one where a mother and her daughter face almost certain death, and yet they escape it when almost everyone else dies.
That scene made me wonder what I would’ve done in her situation. Would I be brave enough to save my child, then to save myself? Or would I have given in to the circumstances and met death thinking nothing could’ve been done to avoid it, like so many of the other characters believed? This novel made me question my own level of grit and fortitude, and made me snuggle in and cuddle my family. Hard.
Book 2. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
This is another book set during the Holocaust, which follows several characters individually until the end, where their storylines converge. Each character struggles with doing their duty while trying to survive.
The most memorable scene for me is at the end, when a package is delivered to one of the main characters. Inside is an object that’s significant to the story. That final delivery of the object, to me, it just underscores my belief that the universe has a purpose and a guiding force behind it.
I really believe that there’s a reason for everything – Max has started saying this too, btw, which is super cute – and this theme was woven throughout the book. It was a bit heartbreaking, too, when you could feel the loneliness of the characters. Perfect for reading in bed or under a blanket.
Book 3. The Art of Dancing In The Rain by Garth Stein
I love, love, love this book! It tells the story of the relationship between a man and his dog, but through the dog’s perspective. As the man reaches each subsequent milestone in his life, the man’s relationship with his dog changes. Sometimes it’s sweet, sometimes it’s not.
What was so beautiful was that the dog’s love for his owner stayed true the entire time, to the very end. The dog was the ultimate witness to the man’s life. This book made me squeeze my puppies tight! I was left wondering which of my moments they witness during the day that seem insignificant to me at the time, but will end up being big moments in hindsight.
After finishing the book, I found myself looking deep into their little puppy eyes and telling them I love them. Even now, I feel like they’re little human souls witnessing my life and I want them to know they are wanted and they are loved and that no matter what, we are their people and they are ours.
Book 4. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
This book had me from the first few pages. The writing is different than most of the other books I tend to read – it was descriptive in a very seductive, sensual way.
It’s about a gorgeous man who ends up getting burned in a car accident, no longer beautiful or able to live his old life. He meets a woman who tells him stories about who they were to each other in the past. The book goes back and forth between the present and the past, so it was like there were multiple stories within one. If you believe in past lives, or wonder about it at all, you’ll love how this concept was presented throughout the story.
The woman was a bit mysterious, which I liked. I don’t think I ever really got to know her very well. But I fell in love with the guy a little, in the sense that I wanted him to feel love and be loved. His predicament had me wondering what would be left if everything was burned away and all that was left for me to give someone else was my soul – would I be lovable or wanted or feel worthy then? I’d like to become a person that would and could be.
What Books Do You Recommend?
So now that you know my recommendations for books you should read this fall, what books do you think I should read? Lately, I’ve been seeking books that leave my heart feeling something…more. I want whatever I read to get under my skin and leave it’s mark. If you have something that fits the bill, then help a girl out!
Leave me a comment below and I promise I’ll read it. And if I love it, I’ll make sure to include your pick in the next book review post!
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.” – Mason Cooley