Books have the magical ability to take us to far away places, introduce us to people we never would have met, take us on adventures we never would have taken, expose us to our darkest fears, open our minds to crazy new ideas, and show us just how happy life and love can be. Here are a few books that I loved and I hope you will enjoy too. I have broken them down by mood, because sometimes you need a book recommendation that fits your mood.
20 Book Recommendations According to Mood
If you feel like escaping your life:
What would your younger self think of who you are today? This book will get you thinking about who you are, where you’ve come from, and what you’ve lost along the way. What Alice Forgot is the perfect book for easy breezy reading, but unlike most chick-lit you’ll stop along the way to reassess your own life and what you’ve forgotten.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a different person? A, the main character, finds himself in a different person’s body living a different person’s life every day. He doesn’t mind very much, until he meets a girl named Rhiannon and falls in love with her while living a day of her boyfriend’s life. A beautiful and unique story, this short little book is a must-read.
If you’re feeling adventurous:
Maliha Masood is a 28-year-old who is already burned out thanks to her crazy work hours. She decides she needs some adventure in her life, so she packs her bags and buys a one-way ticket to the Middle East. From camping out in a Bedouin tent to haggling in bazaars to getting a Kurdish lesson in beauty, Maliha has the adventure of a lifetime and chronicles it all in this book for us to live vicariously through her. I can’t tell you how many adventure fantasies I added to my bucket list after reading about her journey.
It’s the year 1665 and everyone thinks the world is coming to an end. An antique merchant named Balthasar goes on a journey to search for a mysterious book that might bring salvation to the world. In the course of his odyssey, he makes many discoveries, two of the most important being love and hope. I always love Amin Maalouf’s writing but this is one of my favorites from him along with, In the Name of Identity, a non-fiction work.
If you’re feeling romantic:
In 1960, Jennifer Stirling wakes up from a coma and doesn’t remember anything. Not her husband and especially not the passionate letter she finds in her purse signed off with the mysterious “B”. Then in 2003, journalist Ellie Haworth finds the letter and is determined to find out what happened to the lovers. From missed chances to a life-long passion, this book is romantic on so many levels, but never once cheesy.
Even if you have seen the movie, you must read the book. The movie just doesn’t do it justice. Clare is in love with Henry, a man with time placement disorder who she meets when she is just 6 years old. Every time he comes into her life he is a different age and thinks their relationship is at a stage. This is the book to read if you need reminding that love can overcome all odds.
If you’re feeling hungry:
I’ve read this book dozens of times and it’s so beautifully written that I’m always sad when it’s over. Sirine is a first-generation Arab-American. Unmarried at thirty-nine, she works as a chef at a Lebanese restaurant. Her biggest passion in life is cooking and that passion dances across the page with Abu-Jaber’s beautiful descriptions of food. Oh my God, the descriptions will seriously make your mouth water and want to get to an Arabic restaurant stat! One day, she meets and falls in love with a handsome Arabic literature professor who is conflicted by his sense of homesickness. This story will tug at your heartstrings, especially if you’ve ever felt what’s like to miss something that doesn’t exist.
This culinary memoir shows us just how food and smell can evoke powerful memories. Part autobiography, part cookbook, Abu-Jaber describes her childhood growing up with two identities and a food obsessed father. She remembers incidents in her childhood by the food that was associated with that memory. Every chapter starts with a recipe and then that recipe is highlighted into the story. I love reading cookbooks as novels, but even if you don’t, I have a feeling you will find yourself spellbound by Abu-Jaber’s writing and savoring even her descriptions of the recipes.
If you’re feeling poetic:
A beautiful Burmese love story- part fairy-tale, part eastern mysticism. When Julia’s father, a successful New York lawyer, suddenly disappears, Julia sets out to find answers. Her journey takes her to a teahouse in a small mountain village of Burma where an old man tells her the story of a blind young boy; a boy he claims is her father. This beautiful tale will engage and entertain you, but also inspire you to slow down and pay attention to the littlest of details around you.
This is one of my all-time favorite books. It is a simple story, but with Khalil Gibran, nothing is simple. His beautiful, passionate, and though-provoking writing will leave you contemplating after every line. No matter how many times I’ve read it, I always leave with a different understanding. This isn’t one of Gibran’s easiest books to find and I will confess, I borrowed it from the library and never gave it back. If you can’t get your hands on it, you really can’t go wrong with any of Gibran’s works.
This is the third book I’ve listed that tells the story out of order, so I’m starting to realize I have tendency to go towards those types of stories. A unique story, this book tells the tale of a couple’s relationship as it goes through letters in the dictionary. Each entry is short, but packed with meaning.
If you’re feeling magical:
The circus appears without warning and leaves just as quietly as it arrives. It is called Le Cirque des Reves and it is only open at night. I am not one who likes the circus, not by any means. However, this is a circus unlike any other. This is a circus full of magic, excitement, and sensations for all five senses. If this is what circuses were like, I’d follow it from place to place. I really don’t want to explain the storyline of this book because I don’t want to ruin it. Just know that reading this book is a magical experience and one that you must have!
Let’s be honest, I was drawn to this book because my name was on the cover. It ended up being a wonderful story about two childhood friends who fall in love. Vaclav is a young magician and Lena is his beautiful assistant. Vaclav imagines their life to be a fairy-tale story, but life has other surprises in store.
What would you say if someone told you that not only do you have a soulmate but you will be reunited with that soulmate multiple times in multiple different lives? Dr. Brian Weiss, a formerly traditional psychiatrist, has embraced hypnosis therapy in which his clients remember their past lives in order to heal their current lives. Whatever your views on life after death, this book makes for a fascinating read and provokes some interesting discussion. Plus there is a sweet real-life love story, which is always an added bonus for me.
If you’re feeling mysterious:
Set in post-war Barcelona, ten-year-old David wakes up one day and realizes he cannot remember what his deceased mother looks like. In order to comfort him, his father, an antique book dealer, promises to show him a secret. David is then initiated into the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, a treasure trove of rare-books forgotten by the world. He falls in love with one of the books that he selects, but later finds that all the works by this author have been systematically destroyed and this is the last remaining copy. He goes on a mission to find out who has been doing this and why. If you’re a bibliophile like me, you’ll love this book-centered mystery.
Psychiatrist Andrew Marlow has two passions in life: his job and painting. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a painting and becomes his patient, he finds his life turned upside down. Armed with a package of mysterious letters, he becomes obsessed with figuring out the reason behind Robert’s attack and the secret that torments him. If you enjoyed Kostova’s previous novel, The Historian, you will love this one as well!
If you feel like learning something:
This book was hugely popular when it came out, but if you haven’t read it yet you definitely should. This book is all about the magic moment when an idea, a trend, or a behavior crosses over the line from something small to something that spreads like wildfire. It explains so much about social behavior, how things work, and how things become popular. So important for anyone starting their own business, someone with a new idea, or someone who is just interested in how ideas becomes a success.
David Allen is widely proclaimed as a time-management guru and a guru he really is. This is a book you’ll need to read with a pen and pack of post-its by your side. There are gems of information in almost every paragraph. Trust me. No matter how great you think your time-management skills are, you will learn something from this book. I am always recommending this book to everyone.
If you’re needing advice:
Kate White is my all-time favorite career and life expert. You might recognize her name as the former editor-in-chief of cosmopolitan, but she also has authored several successful career books. They are all amazing, but this is one of my favorites.
Formerly published under the title spouseanomics, this book gives marriage advice from an economic viewpoint. Trust me, this is the one time you will find economics to be far from boring. The advice is all very practical, realistic, and doable. Even if you aren’t married, it will help you learn a lot about successful relationships and partnerships.
What are your favorite books? I’m always looking for something new to read!
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