5 Books I Instantly Fell in Love With

Brilliant prose, memorable characters, a warm afterglow

5 Books I Instantly Fell in Love With
Photo by Ylanite Koppens on Pexels

Brilliant prose, memorable characters, a warm afterglow

Despite all the lousy news 2020 has brought, it has been a blessing in terms of my reading journey.

I have read 53 books so far, and most of them were amazing. What’s even better: I came across some fantastic books that I instantly fell in love with.

These books are so good; I would be doing an injustice to the reading community if I don’t share them with more people.

This article is the literary equivalent of me screaming from the rooftops about these five books you should drop everything else and read.

They will entertain and enthral, and leave you with a warm afterglow you will cherish for several days after the last page is turned.

(Note: The links mentioned in this article are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase these books through these links, it will help me earn a small amount of money — at no extra cost to you. Thanks!)

5. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Genre: Horror

Image: Goodreads

Coraline is the story of a little girl who goes on an adventure, with her nemesis being an evil witch. The book follows all tropes of a ‘child vs witch’ stories, though written superbly. This is an excellent short spooky book, nevertheless.

Those who are familiar with Neil Gaiman’s writing will be aware of the raw honesty he puts into his tales, and this one is no different. The parent-child bond, explored with such delicate mastery, leaves the reader with a smile on their faces.

“The sky was a little more sky. The world, a little more world.”

Why you should read it

So heartwarming, this tiny little book left me with a heart full of happiness. The audiobook, performed by the author himself, is a masterpiece, complete with songs, music, and spine-chilling voiceovers — making it an extraordinary experience worth the three hours spent in listening.

4. Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Genre: Biographical fiction

Image: Goodreads

This is the story of a fictional rock band of the 1980s comprised of lead singers Daisy Jones and Billy Dunne, and five other musicians.

The narration of this book is unlike any I’ve seen before. The storytelling follows a unique pattern in the form of interviews or recollections from the seven band members and one other person (the wife of the lead singer Billy Dunne).

The narrator of the book is a biographer who visits each band member, and through a string of recollections from each of them, tries to put together the story of how the talented singer Daisy Jones met the band “The Six”, how they ended up forming a separate, more famous band, and what led to their eventual break-up.

“Knowing you’re good can only take you so far. At some point, you need someone else to see it, too. Appreciation from people you admire changes how you see yourself.”

Why you should read it

The characters in this book are compelling. Each one of them has a well-depicted back-story, which makes the reader empathise better with the decisions they make.

There is a strong feminist message in the prose, and the female characters manage to stand their ground. The love shown in this book is gritty and real. It is not something that just happens to you, but something that you have work for, something that you have to fight every day to keep intact.

The book is very atmospheric — the author manages to take the reader to the music scene of the 80s, with their tour buses, rock concerts with packed stadiums and the drugs and alcohol of the after-concert parties.

3. Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Genre: Young Adult/LGBTQ romance

Image: Goodreads

Aristotle Mendoza and Dante Quintana are two Mexican-American teenagers growing up in El Paso, Texas during the 1980s. They are trying to find their way in the world. But before they do that, they need to find their way to each other.

Aristotle (Ari, to his friends) is a self-doubting silent guy, who has learned from experience to bottle his feelings up. Dante, on the other hand, is an expressive, fair-skinned boy who meets Ari at the pool one afternoon and asks him if he should teach him swimming. Dante reads poetry and loves painting. He makes Ari laugh and fills his world with colours, and before they know it, the two become the best of friends.

“Sometimes, you do things and you do them not because you’re thinking but because you’re feeling. Because you’re feeling too much. And you can’t always control the things you do when you’re feeling too much.”

Why you should read it

I recently wrote an entire post gushing about how beautiful this book is. But, if you are still not convinced, let me summarise in two lines.

You can call Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe a love story. But in its heart, it’s the story of being a misunderstood teenager and the struggle of dealing with a world so hell-bent on ostracising what it considers as “different”. It’s a book you MUST read, for it will leave you with tears of happiness and goosebumps all over your skin.

2. City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty

Genre: Medieval fantasy

Image: Goodreads

Nahri is a con woman of unsurpassed talent, hustling for a living on the streets of 18th century Cairo. Ali is the second son of King Ghassan of Daevabad — a djinn who doesn’t hesitate to give up all he has to bring equality between the djinn and shafit (half-bloods, or children of djinn with humans). Their paths cross when Nahri unknowingly summons Dara, a daeva who saves her from ghouls in Cairo and takes her to Daevabad.

This book has a little of everything — palace politics, ancient djinn and their blood rivalry, a chosen-one character arc, badass female warriors/magicians, and a love triangle that is delightful and heart-breaking at the same time.

“Greatness takes time, Banu Nahida. Often the mightiest things have the humblest beginnings.”

Why you should read it

The City of Brass is both smart and very entertaining. The richness of the world Chakraborty has created gives added heft to a beautiful story. The writing is so vivid and descriptive, you can almost smell the incense and would want to keep a damp cloth at hand to wipe the desert sand from your brow. This is a wonderful, engaging, and fun read I recommend to all lovers of adult fantasy.

1. Wolfsong by T. J. Klune

Genre: Fantasy fiction

Image: Goodreads

Fifteen-year-old Ox Mattheson had an abusive father who damaged young Ox’s sense of self-esteem and instilled in him the feeling that no matter where he goes and what he achieves, he will never be enough. It’s a burden Ox believes he would have to carry on his shoulders all his life.

And then, he meets Joe Bennett and his life changes forever. What Ox didn’t know was that Joe Bennet is a werewolf, destined to be the future Alpha and lead the Bennett pack — the most powerful family of werewolves in the whole of North America.

The Bennetts bring colour into Ox’s life, and they paint the book in shades of orange, violet, blue, and green, green, green.

“You don’t get to decide what you’re worth because you obviously don’t know. You don’t get to decide that anymore because you have no f*cking idea that you’re worth everything.”

Why you should read it

I wrote a post saying this was the best fiction book I read in 2020 and I stand by the statement. Even if you are not a fan of fantasy fiction, you should read this book for the heartwarming story it tells.

Read it for the family and pack values the Bennetts inspire, for how willing they are to sacrifice their lives, so their loved ones remain safe, and how they think of nothing else but family, love, brother, pack when they face danger.

Read it for the edge-of-the-seat excitement of the battle scenes — all the blood and gore and the immense strength of will each character shows.

But most of all, read this book for Ox and Joe. Read it for the pure, unadulterated love they share and how their bond grows and evolves as they age.

More by Anangsha Alammyan in Books Are Our Superpower:

6 Standalone Fantasy Novels for Times You Can’t Commit
Reading fantasy doesn’t have to be hard work
10 Uplifting Books To Brighten Your Day
The best feel-good books to make you happy and relaxed
7 Contemporary Women-Centric Novels You Shouldn’t Miss
Books with strong female leads penned by women from all over the world

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