What do a grumpy old man, a 16-year-old half-blind girl, two sisters in the middle of the war, a teenager in love with a man, and a poet have in common?
They represent the strong essences of 5 books that you can’t help but have in your hands in quarantine times.
1. A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman
Called “the perfect book”, by the San Francisco Chronicle, “A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman, is a book that has conquered the entire world in an irresistible way, full of humor and tenderness.
Ove is a grumpy old man – the grumpiest you can imagine – who leads a simple life, with strict rules, in love with his Saab car, and who deeply despises, of course, foreign brands. But the whole monotonous and carefully arranged universe of Ove is completely turned upside down, when, on a November morning, a young Iranian woman, as pregnant as possible, with her two little girls and her stupid husband, move near Ove’s house and flatten his mailbox with a trailer. The accident is the beginning of the most unpredictable, funny, and touching events – with an almost tailless cat and impossible friendships – that make Ove (re) feel the air of a life he considers long lost. In the end, you can’t help but fall in love with the grumpy old man.
“If there was the Most Enchanting Book of the Year award, this novel would win it without any problems.” – Booklist
“She just smiled, said that she loved books more than anything, and started telling him excitedly what each of the ones in her lap was about. And Ove realized that he wanted to hear her talking about the things she loved for the rest of his life.”
2. Mosquitoland by David Arnold
One of the best books of the year according to Amazon, Bustle, Booklist, Buzzfeed; “Mosquitoland”, by David Arnold, brings in the hands of the readers a memorable character.
Mim is not okay. She is a brilliant, semi-blind, mentally ill girl, whose family is falling quickly apart. Mim has to move to the other side of the country with her father and his new wife. When she finds out that her mother is ill, Mim is determined to cover the 1524 kilometers that separate them. But the road does not turn out to be easy. It’s a long way full of unforeseen moments and encounters, with various confrontations with different characters, her own demons, and sincere friendships.
“I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange.”
3. The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
A No. 1 New York Times and international bestseller, “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah is a book that captures the courage, passion and wild desire for love of two sisters in the heart-breaking circumstances of war.
France, 1939 – Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he must go to war, leaving her and their little girl Sophie prey to the large number of Nazi soldiers who will invade the quiet town. When a German captain sets up his headquarters in Vianne’s house, she is forced to make unbearable choices for her and her daughter to survive.
Isabelle, her sister, an 18-year-old rebellious girl, is looking for a purpose in her life, with all the passion and thoughtlessness of youth. When all the Parisians are hiding from the war, she meets Gaëtan, who sets in her soul a strong fire of hope that France can lead and will not back down from the fight with the Nazis. But when betrayal breaks them apart, the young woman joins the Resistance, facing moments that are hard to imagine.
The Nightingale is a book with a strong essence, which makes the readers fall in love, cry and, hope – with a brilliant intensity – at the same time with the two sisters.
“Men tell stories. Women get on with it. For us it was a shadow war. There were no parades for us when it was over, no medals or mentions in history books. We did what we had to during the war, and when it was over, we picked up the pieces and started our lives over.”
4. Call me by your name by André Aciman
“As much a story of a paradise found as it is of a paradise lost… Extraordinary.” – New York Times or “Brave, acute, elated, naked, brutal, tender, humane and beautiful”, as Nicole Krauss, the author of Forest Dark, called the book “Call me by your name”, by André Aciman.
If this book didn’t fall yet in your hands, then hurry to get it. Not to be missed from the library, this detailed and raw writing, with perfect shades of classic, presents a powerful romance blooming between seventeen-year-old Elio and his father’s house guest, Oliver. Unrelenting currents of obsession, fear and desire threaten to overwhelm the lovers. What grows from the depths of their souls is a romance that will mark them for a lifetime, because there is one thing they both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.
“We rip out so much of ourselves to be cured of things faster than we should that we go bankrupt by the age of thirty and have less to offer each time we start with someone new. But to feel nothing so as not to feel anything – what a waste!”
5. The Universe of Us by Lang Leav
Author of the best-selling “Lullabies” and “Love & Misadventure”, Lang Leav, puts in our hands a book perhaps less known, but by far with an incredible intensity of the words feel and live. “The universe of us” brings a subtle, high-level creation that encompasses you with every page.
Planets, stars, and constellations have inspired this book and together they manage to describe emotions such as love and loss, pain and healing, in carefully sculpted words, that will make you feel the first love again, the last one or all that was between – in a strongly profound manner.
“he and I collided like two
predestined stars and in that brief moment
I felt what it was like
to be immortal”