Monday 16 May 2022

Some of my favourite book themes

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I read widely - newly published books and older classics, female and male authors, historical and contemporary. I flit between easy reads and more complicated texts. However I find that I'm often drawn to the same themes, and here are some that I've been enjoying recently:

The inherited house renovation romance - A woman inherits a house from a distant or unknown relative, usually at a point in her life where she is going through a life change. The house has an idyllic  location in a small town, often by the sea. It's run down and old fashioned but still habitable. While sorting through the possessions left in the house she discovers hidden secrets and learns more about herself and her history. There's usually a romance involving a handsome local man who is helping with the building work or connected to the house in some way.

I've enjoyed lots of books with this theme, two very recent examples are The Candid Life of Meena Dave by Namrata Patel and The Vanishing Tide by Hilary Tailor (both Amazon First Reads and will be published on the 1st June 2022.) I also liked The Sea Gate by Jane Johnson.

Opening a bookshop (see also café, sweetshop) - A woman going through some sort of life change decides to move in a new direction and open up a bookshop or similar. She usually has some sort of help to get started, for example she inherits or is given a lot of books or other relevant supplies. She is greeted with distrust by the locals, including the inevitable eligible bachelor, but she wins everyone over and becomes part of the community. 

Some examples - The Bookshop on the Corner and The Bookshop on the Shore by Jenny Colgan.

The middle aged woman reinvention story - A mother to older teenagers realises that now her children have grown and no longer need her she has forgotten to live her own life and doesn't know where to start. Sometimes prompted by meeting an old flame. So she does something drastic - often upping and leaving her family, meeting new people and finding new interests.

From my recent reads - Worn Out Wife Seeks New Life by Carmen Reid, Ladder of Years and Back When We Were Grown Ups by Anne Tyler.

Time travel and repeated chances - There are many books with these themes, but I like stories where time travel is used as a device to see the same story from different viewpoints, or to see how something might have turned out differently.

Some older reads - The Time Traveller's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger and Life After Life by Kate Atkinson (both of which have recently been dramatised for television). Also Should We Stay or Should We Go by Lionel Shriver which explores various different results caused by one decision.

On a similar note, immortality or having a second chance to try something - for example How to Stop Time by Matt Haig, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab, Meet me In Another Life by Catriona Silvey.

Pile of books opened pages
Photo credit Gülfer ERGİN via Unsplash

These are just some of the books I've been enjoying. If you've read any books similar to those mentioned above then I would love to hear your recommendations!

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