This Wednesday I’ve decided to give you a nice, warm list for when you have dainty snowflakes slowly drifting down outside that window and you’re bundled up all cozy with your warm drink. And hey, even if there’s no snow where you live – you can always imagine it! What I am going for here with this list is a feel of warmth, encouragement and positive emotion, even if it comes through hardship.
A Little Sweetness, A Little Suspense
- more cake
- …so the book is primarily dedicated to cake
- magic (cake magic..?)
All of this goes with cocoa and a warm blanket for me. Granted, the main heroine suffers more than enjoys herself in her journey through this story, but it’s well worth it, in my eyes. It’s written beautifully, and it keeps its mystery throughout pretty much all of the book, as the main characters suffer from amnesia, so you don’t really get to find out what happens, before… you do. Which is… Right at the end. I’ve heard of people struggling with this bit, but I didn’t – to me, this book was an intricately woven canvas of emotions, all colorful, and all imbued with taste, particularly expressed through different kinds of confectioneries the main character concocts. And the frosting on top? Hints of fairytales are interspersed through the story, all connected through magic and… cake. What’s not to love?
An Awkward Romance, A Lot Of Laughs
So you might be a aware that I almost don’t read romance, but this? This is a smart, witty and very funny romcom. And if you have had to deal with difficult and perhaps quite obstinate people? You’ll be able to relate. Don Tillman is a professor who is awkward at best, and he wants to find a wife. Thus begins his ridiculous quest which ends up completely unexpectedly for him (although maybe less so for us). The book teaches you that being different is okay (I mean, different in personality as well as different psychological build), but it matters whether you’re different and self-righteous, or different, and yet open to who others are, accepting of them. The book might be a little patronizing towards the main character, but it’s light, hilarious and it will warm your heart. I always remember this read with a smile, and I can never understand why I don’t read these kinds of books more often.
A Cozy Graveyard? Only When It’s Gaiman.
Alright, so maybe cozy is not quite the word, but this is essentially a Junglebook retelling (shocking, I know! Don’t laugh at me that I figured this only after someone told me flat out.) So this is basically a story of a boy growing up, told in that middle-grade kind of way that Neil Gaiman is so good at. Magic, mystery, danger and affection. And even though the characters faced a lot of peril, there was a certain warmth and coziness involved. You’ll end up loving all the characters, I promise! This is the first book of Neil Gaiman’s I’ve read, and I haven’t been able to wean myself off of his stuff ever since.
Warm Light From A Soul In A Lantern
Lantern was unbelievably sweet! A short novella for an evening, and the way I read it last year was precisely the way prescribed by this list. An innocent love story for middle graders as well as teens, and generally just a tale of souls finding one another, and of good work being done in the night. However, it will keep you on your toes, short as it is, because you’ll keep guessing what, who and why… Who’s the good guy, who is not?
Look Back To Childhood Magic… And Maths
I think most of you will have heard of The Wrinkle in Time, especially as the movie is coming out soon! For those of you who haven’t read it yet, it would be the perfect time to do so. This book might be written in a less linear and traditional way, with maybe some loopholes I’ll admit, but I still love it beyond any doubt! And that’s mostly for the messages it carries. The book talks about being different, about loving one another and the whole universe, and ultimately – about the magic of the world, every little particle, every little mote. It will also appeal to the geek in you – it features gifted kids who see the world quite differently and have different core virtues than your traditional middle graders, and so have a hard time fitting in. The magic of maths and science is presented wonderfully, as well as the need to defend and nurture who you are, be your own person – regardless of the fact whether society embraces you or not.
Sweet Bean Paste And Sweet Friendship
You might remember this book, because I’ve blogged about it quite recently. It’s a truly uplifting and endearing story about the unlikely friendship between a misfit who couldn’t care less and an old lady who has lived a life of hardship and so honed and perfected her character. The book addresses important and difficult topics of illness, separation, loss and loneliness, as well as inspiring you through the strength of the characters, their will to live and never give up, and… well, cake. We can never stray too far from cake. This book might go as a #2 right after Magic Bitter, Magic Sweet in terms of cake use, and it could be a great companion for your cocoa cravings.
Some Oriental Urban Fantasy
I read this one a while ago, years and years – and yet, I still remember it quite often. I can’t guarantee about the representation of Asian characters in this book because of the same reason, but if you take it with a grain of salt, I am sure you will enjoy it. It focuses on a sisterhood of sorts of women from all levels of society – rich as well as poor, of humble descent as well as nobility. It spans a long time and has a lot of fantasy elements, cause while it starts out in ancient China, it ends up in pretty much fantasy territory. What I liked in this book was the amount of detail, intricacy, other-cultureness (…that a word..?) and, of course, the bonds between the souls of the women. I know I couldn’t pry my nose from inside of that hefty book before I was done! Another interesting detail was that it was this book that introduced me to the fact that women had their own writing system in ancient China (as they were not allowed to study to read ‘men’s writings’.)
A Modern-Day Take On Pride And Prejudice
This book is soooo good with cocoa. It’s like watching a sitcom, but also reading it. I don’t know how to explain! If you know the story of the Bennet sisters, you will not be surprised with the plot, as it follows more or less the same line, but what I liked was how past-day social situations were translated into modern day equivalents! I will not list them out for you, cause spoilers, but some of them were quite accurate, and others? Downright funny. I liked the characters as well, and Lizzie’s family? You’ll hate them so much you’ll love them (…how does that even work..?) I must warn you though, approach this one only when you’ve let some time pass after your last reading of P&P because you might dislike certain facets of this retelling (I’ve heard that from a couple of my friends). Or if you are a loyal fan of the original, just keep in mind that this is a retelling, and it will change certain parts of the Austen story. Other than that, grab your cocoa and enjoy!
Have you read the books on this list? Do you have any other cocoa&blanket recommendations for me? Please recommend me some, if you do!
I’m Evelina and I blog about books that made an impression on me. I love middle grade, women’s, scifi and some literary too.