Inspiring Reads: For Love and Life

Must read books: for the romantic or anti-romantic.

I'm not a very romantic person. In my dark way, I find the best love stories are the ones with a heavy dose of reality or something tragic preventing the love story from really getting started. Case in point: I read Wuthering Heights when I was twelve, and it shaped me forever.

I suppose grouping Love and Life together in this way is my way of saying "these are the stories I find romantic either because they really are romantic, or because they are so goshdarned sad that I can't help but feel love is involved somewhere."

So there you have it. This category is for all the books that either give me the warm and fuzzies, or remind me that I have a heart at all by breaking it a little.

Inspiring Reads: 
Books For Love & Life

Despite being a die-hard Can Lit fan, this is by far my favourite book. I discovered the book for $4 in a bargain bin on campus and only knew to scoop it because it had been recommended by a friend. If you want to read a book that is worth calling in sick to work or bailing on your friends, this is it. I sat in absolute silence for an hour with my eyes closed and head whirring when I closed this one. And if you know me, you know silence is not a typical reaction in any scenario. Simultaneously mysterious, romantic, and just plain beautifully written... this book is a game changer.

I've re-read this book about four times, and am a little more swept away each time. First of all, Margaret Atwood writing an almost-love-story is a bit mindblowing. Secondly, how many novels can embody depression/war era romance, the joys of getting old, and a love affair among aliens all in one package? If you're a fan of language that will make your heart drop, or a story that haunts you, this is a must read.

3. Atonement, Ian McEwan (fiction)

This is one of those stories that makes you stop every once in awhile and stare at the ceiling before turning the next page. A whirlwind of perspectives in the context of age, gender, and era, this book is a kaleidoscope of heartbreak, confusion, and love. If you've seen the movie, be surprised to hear that reading the book won't feel redundant. In fact, I don't personally think the book was put to shame when translated to film. They both hold their heads up high.

This is a story not only about love and loss, but also about taking a swing at life's punches. Like the rest of the books on this list, this is a long read. But it's worth it. And, like the others, you feel conflicted about all of the characters--which, to me, is a great accomplishment by the author. Prepare to be disturbed, conflicted, enamoured and captivated all at the same time.

I love this book for its ability to connect relationships across generations, and for the distinct sense of feeling relevant to the past as much as the present. We are the stories of how we came to exist--we existed before conception, as the path that got us there. It's a truly beautiful story of a dysfunctional family, illness, and the truest of all loves between a parent and child. If you want to feel like you have a perfectly normal family, you may get that from this book.

Do your favourite love stories have happy endings?? Or are you like me, and prefer a little heartache thrown into the mix? I'd love to hear all about it in the comments!


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  1. Great list!! Hmmm...more books for my list on my Nook. I was terribly heart-broken when I was 13 years old and it still hurts to this day. I moved on, but I like happy ending in the books that I read.
    Thanks for sharing! I like how you explain what the books are about so well, Carole.


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