Those of you with kids know, getting a minute to read is a Big Deal. I've been making an effort lately to turn off my phone at night and read things made out of paper. I know, it's revolutionary stuff. Because spare time is so precious to me, I hate to waste is on books that are anything but wonderful. Here are a few that I wholeheartedly recommend.
The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. The journey of Victoria Jones, a foster kid who has been bounced from home to home, unwanted and untrusted, abruptly shifts when she is thrust out on her own upon her eighteenth birthday. Without resources, she sleeps in the park with one eye open, habitually wary of everyone. Her only source of joy is flowers and the lost Victorian code that assigned secret meanings to different blooms. When she gets a job harnessing this passion with a sympathetic florist, she comes face-to-face with someone from her past, opening up some old wounds from her childhood. Victoria must learn to trust and love herself as well as other people in order to form human relationships, and it is almost impossible for her to overcome the walls that she has built up around herself.
This truly beautiful book captured me. The world of someone who has nothing on which to fall back is pretty squirm-inducing for me, living as I do in a cocoon of loving family and friends. Particularly touching to me was the main character's dealings with (spoiler alert!) breastfeeding while crippled with overwhelming postpartum depression. This book is about forgiveness of others and forgiveness of yourself, and I really loved it.
Trigger warning: if you are currently experiencing postpartum depression, I would encourage you to set this one aside for a while. When you are ready to read it, it will knock your socks off.
Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. This is another gripping and powerful emotional journey. Louisa is a young woman who lives within the small world of her hometown. She takes a job as caretaker for Will, a former glamorous playboy, now paraplegic following an accident. He is rude and sullen, deep in a depression that Louisa becomes desperate to help him lift. Her attempts to convince him that life is worth living become tangled with her own developing feelings, and they find themselves in an insolvable dilemma.
The prose in this novel is so raw, it first feels like a fluff piece, but the wonderfully flawed characters really pull you in and the story is anything but ordinary. This book is really one of the best I've read and I urge you to pick it up. As soon as I finished it I began devouring Moyes' other books, and I've since read Ship of Brides and One Plus One. They are both solid books, but Me Before You is far and beyond the shining star of Moyes' work that I have so far read. You will cry and you will probably yell at the characters a bit. Then you'll thank me.
Trigger warning: the book alludes to some vague memories of a gang rape.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. This wonderful RomCom is the type where you kind of know where the characters are going to end up but you delight in discovering how they get there.
Don is a genetics professor with asperger's who has never had any interest in romance. Upon discovering that, statistically, marriage will increase his changes of happiness and longevity, he comes to the logical conclusion that he must seek out a wife, and produces a logical (and somewhat offensive) algorithm for weeding out women with undesirable characteristics. Along comes Rosie, a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants type who, of course, possesses every one of Don's rule-outs, but to whom he keeps finding himself drawn. She teaches him to find worth in the experiences whose worth is not measurable, and their bumpy romance is delightful
I'm always looking for recommendations. Friends, what are you reading???