Happy Book Lovers Day
It's National Book Lovers Day on Monday August 9th, and that's sparked off conversation here at the Book Nook about which books we love the most.
Obviously we're biased, but there really is nothing like a good book. Simply by looking at words on a page you can be transported to another world, another time and place; you can live the lives of people who in reality you might never meet. You can laugh, you can be moved to tears, and you can even have your worldview changed, your life enhanced and your horizons broadened, all without moving from your favourite spot on the sofa.
It's really pretty magical when you think about it.
With that in mind, take a look at our selection below. Each Book Nook member of staff has written a short review of their favourite book and what it is they love so much about it. Have you read them? What's your favourite book? Why not pop into the shop and let us know - because if there's one thing we love almost as much as reading books, it's talking about them too!
Julia - Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Written in 1985, Love in The Time of Cholera is an epic love story that chronicles a love triangle over several decades. I first read this as a teenager, and it is one of those tattered paperback books sitting on my bookshelf, that I have gone back to time and time again.
Set in the 1870s in an unnamed Caribbean coastal town, the protagonist, Florentino Ariza, is Fermina Daza’s first love, but her father disapproves of this illegitimate, impoverished Telegraph Operator and takes her away to the countryside. When she returns, Fermina marries a rich and successful doctor, leaving Florentino heartbroken.
Florentino spends half a century jumping from one affair to another, hoping that one of the 622 women he sleeps with will mend his broken heart. After over fifty years of loving her, when Fermina’s husband dies, Florentino confesses his love to her once again and they finally consummate their love.
Although Florentino is an unlikeable and pathetic antihero, whose behaviour is often deplorable (the book features rape and sex with an underage girl, so I would include a trigger warning before reading it), he is also somehow quite an endearing character whose pursuit of Florentina and his devotion to her is incredibly romantic, if not obsessive to the point of stalkerish!
García Márquez skilfully and colourfully interweaves narratives of his characters from across time in a post-colonial South American country, and although the book is mostly conversational in style it has such beautiful imagery, detail, and description of the complicated relationships between sex, age, society, art, death, and love.
Heidi - Killing Commendatore by Haruki Murakami
Rife with poetic language and lavish description, Murakami's Killing Commendatore is an incredible meditation on art, relationships, and how we mirror each other. The unidentified 36-year-old protagonist and narrator is a divorcee portrait painter living in the home of a now-retired acclaimed artist. We see the world through this character as he attempts to paint his elusive neighbour Menshiki, rediscover himself after his divorce, and interact with the abandoned art within his house.
More central to this book is the relationship between people and art. Our narrator is constantly debating whether his portraits can completely capture who a person is, what the point of an artist is, and how different people interact with art. There's a certain, usually ineffable, magic to the art that makes us really feel something. This is a magic that Murakami manages to (quite literally) bring to life.
Much of the text of Killing Commendatore feels hallucinatory. The way Murakami uses language and metaphors to create the book is brilliant and reads incredibly clearly despite its complexity. The work manages to both comment on and be an example of the interaction of the abstract with the concrete, which is a vast part of what makes it so brilliant. The novel itself mirrors the dilemma of the characters: how much of what we enjoy about art is created by the consumer?
What makes Killing Commendatore a personal favourite of mine is its adaptability. Each time I’ve read it, I’ve had an altogether different experience: I’m sure no two readers can interpret the text the same. The bridge between metaphors and reality develops a book that — like the painting it takes its title from — can be felt differently by every person.
John - Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
I love thrillers and I love literary fiction, and for me no writer combines the two to such superb effect than Daphne Du Maurier does here in Rebecca.
Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again… Right from the off, with one of the most famous opening lines in fiction, the story is compelling, and rich in atmosphere and foreboding.
We never learn the name of the protagonist, and in some ways she's quite passive for a main character, but that suits the story perfectly, as she's up against dark and brooding forces that for much of the narrative are well beyond her control.
Swept off her feet in Monte Carlo by the rich and dashing Maxim De Winter and quickly married, the heroine is taken back to Manderley, De Winter's mansion on the Cornish coast. There she discovers that the memory of De Winter's former wife, Rebecca, haunts both him and her new home with unsettling power.
Just who was Rebecca really? And why, even after death, does she maintain such a hold over Maxim and Manderley?
The quality of the writing is superb. Manderley's housekeeper, Mrs Danvers, has surely got to be one of the great fictional characters, certainly one of the best and most memorable antagonists. Manderley is vividly brought to life, and Du Maurier is a master at creating an atmosphere of suspense and creeping dread.
The first half of the story builds brilliantly, and then begins to go through the gears, until for the final third it is as fast-paced as any thriller, with satisfying twists and turns aplenty.
What a book!
Ashleigh - The Tiger's Curse Saga by Colleen Houck
If you like adventure and curses, this is an amazing recommendation! Tiger's Curse is the start of a series that won’t let you put it down until you’ve finished the last book of the saga.
'We approached the cage. The tiger, who had been dozing, lifted its head and watched me curiously with bright blue eyes. Those eyes. They were mesmerizing. They stared right into me, almost as if the tiger was examining my soul.'
Kelsey is going to work at Circus Maurizio for two weeks during her summer break, before she heads off to university. She is shown around by Mr Davis and takes an instant liking to the tiger, Dhiren (Ren for short). A few days later, Mr. Kadam shows up (under the guise of being sent by a mysterious animal collector) and he tells Kelsey that the tiger will be transported back to India; he asks Kelsey to join him in India, so Ren can settle in with someone he trusts.
Kelsey finds out Ren is no ordinary tiger, but an Indian Prince, cursed centuries ago and captured by the circus; yet he can be human for 24 minutes a day until the curse is broken.
In India they travel to Ren's home, and find Ren’s brother, Kishan, who they convince to try and help them break the curse. Kelsey and Ren then travel into the jungle to seek out the Goddess Durga. Mr. Kadam was given a part of the Damon Amulet by Ren so that he wouldn't age and he has been helping him throughout the centuries to find a way to become human again. With the guidance of Durga, Kelsey, Ren, Kishan and Mr. Kadam start the quest to try and break the curse.
Throughout the series, the characters face difficulties, heartbreak and adventure. Journey with them through their struggles and triumphs, and you will love this series!
Like what you see? Here’s how to order:
You can order any of the books above from The Book Nook. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, drop us a social media message or call us on 01920 467 597 during our opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 9:30am to 4:30pm and Sunday 10:30am to 2:30pm.
Orders can either be collected during our opening hours or they can be delivered directly to your home (additional postage and packaging charge applies).
If you’d prefer to browse and shop online, please consider using our affiliate Bookshop.org page or by clicking on the links above to specific titles.
Please note, whilst a small percentage of the book sales from Bookshop.org are donated to The Book Nook, we are two independent businesses. The Book Nook are not involved with the ordering or delivery of your Bookshop.org purchase. We’d therefore encourage you to order directly from us where possible!
What books do you love most?
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