Everyone has their different things that make them melt. In friendships, in love, and in books.
Those moments when eyes meet words and hearts race, when hands touch rough edges and stomachs flutter, when smiles are shared and eyes close. That feeling of unadulterated joy and contentedness just floods over all of your senses and you feel at peace, secure, cared for, and wanted.
For me, I’ve never really sat down and given it any thought before.
What makes me lose my balance out of happy distraction? Why do I fall into silence as I stare at the ones I love? What causes me to simply close my eyes and smile at the thought of it?
- Breaking the rules.
I’m talking about the “bad” books. The ones that many people look at and are appalled by how horribly they break all the writing rules.
There are authors who continually break the unspoken rules of description, overloading their works with adjectives and adverbs. Yet somehow, it’s done so well, that it doesn’t distract from the stories. Instead, it just brings more fun and unique notes to the stories. There are even times that they break the unspoken rules of fiction by consistently breaking the fourth wall in their works.
Some of my favourites are A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams.
- Having strong female characters.
I don’t mean the girls and women who are just given all traditionally masculine characteristics. I want the truly realistic women who are depicted in a way that show their true personal strengths. The women who have gained physical strength but who are compassionate and show their emotions. The women who are empathetic and compassionate even when everything they’ve experienced would cause many people to be the exact opposite. The women who are cool under pressure and able to make decisions when everyone else would panic. The women who allow their emotions to fuel their actions and desires to do good. Those who fight for what they believe in. Those who care for their loved ones and support their families.
Some of my favourites are Anne Frank (The Diary of a Young Girl), Esther Grace Earl (This Star Won’t Go Out), Addie Baum from The Boston Girl, Éowyn from The Lord of the Rings, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, Sarat Chestnut from American War, and Luna Lovegood, Ginny Weasley, and Hermione Granger from Harry Potter.
- A gorgeous or intriguing cover.
I love the trend of more minimalistic covers that has been growing more and more over the last couple years. Even if I haven’t read the books, these types of covers definitely attract my attention.
Here are some of my favourites (that I have and haven’t read):
- Breaking stereotypes.
There are many books that have been bringing more diversity to the board, both in authors as well as characters. I adore this, and I’ve been itching lately to read some more diverse novels lately, especially since I’ve read so few thus far. These books can easily break the stereotypes that are laid out by societies for various genders, nationalities, ethnicities, and religions.
One of my all time favourites is The Boston Girl, and I’m definitely looking for more recommendations. Some others that I like are American Born Chinese, Shadow Spinner, The Outsiders, and The Sisters Chase.
- Breaking stigmas.
This can sometimes go hand in hand with breaking stereotypes, but it is a bit different. These books are the ones that delve into illnesses, disabilities, disorders and the like. I have a myriad of health problems, both physical and mental, many of which are chronic conditions, and I’m also aware that nearly everyone else does too, though not all to the same degree. I love being able to read about characters with similar issues to me, and I also adore being able to read books from the perspectives of those with issues that are different from mine. It’s an easy way to learn about others, how they view the world, and your own prejudices, just like the books that break stereotypes.
Some of my favourites are The Hunger Games, Proof, This Star Won’t Go Out, Billy and Me, The Lighting Thief, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, and my friend’s unpublished Origami Swan.
- Having a voice that matches the characters’ personalities, upbringings, and environments.
Matching a character’s voice to their backstory and current self is definitely a bit more difficult to do than it sounds, and I’ve grown to truly appreciate the effort that it can take accomplish this. It’s more of an issue with first-person point of view. I’ve noticed many books that have a first-person point of view that don’t have a voice that seems to match the character(s). Because of this, I’ve found just how important it is for me that how the character thinks, speaks, and acts lines up with how/where the character was raised, what’s happened in their life, who they want to become, and what their environment is. All of these things shape how a character interacts with and thinks about the world around them, and it’s important to take it all into factor when writing, and therefore in reading.
Some of my favourites are American War, Article Three, Angus Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging, Pygmalion, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, and Vivatera.
- Willingly speaking out about controversial topics.
I’ve noticed that this is something that seems to be becoming far more popular and, ironically, controversial. But the people who have grown tired of the status quo and want to inspire others to help change the world or to just try and help people see another point of view are stepping out and speaking up for what they believe in. It’s a difficult thing to do, no matter who you are, and I couldn’t imagine the world without this type of people existing.
Some of my favourites are American War, Enchantress from the Stars, The Outsiders, The Lottery, Last of the Memory Keepers, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, The Time Machine, and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
What about you? What are the bookish things that make you swoon?
What are some good recommendations for books that fit these categories?
Let me know in the comments below!
Literary References: A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket; Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency by Douglas Adams; The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Grace Earl; The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant; The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien; The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins; American War by Omar El Akkad; The Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling; the soon-to-be-published Our Homesick Songs by Emma Hooper; On the Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher; The Red Prince by Charlie Roscoe; Billy and Me by Giovanna Fletcher; The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas; American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang; Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher; The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton; and The Sisters Chase by Sarah Healy; Proof by David Auburn; The Lighting Thief by Rick Riordan; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon; the unpublished Origami Swan by Azelyn Klein; Article Three by Anna Jakobsson Lund; Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison; Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw; The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain; Vivatera by Candace J. Thomas; Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl; The Lottery by Shirley Jackson; Last of the Memory Keepers by Azelyn; To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; The Time Machine by H. G. Wells