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I love books. I love reading them, smelling them, stacking them up in my house until they threaten to topple over and crush me in my sleep. So when I was challenged to come up with a list of books that start with the letters of my name, JENNIFER, I was positively giddy.
J – “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte https://amzn.to/3Thy6A1
Oh, Jane. You poor, plain, little governess. You faced so many obstacles, but you never lost your sense of self. I read this book for the first time when I was just a girl, and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since. Jane taught me that it’s okay to be different, to be strong, to hold out for what I want, and to never compromise my values.
E – “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck https://amzn.to/41XmFkN
What can I say about “East of Eden” that hasn’t already been said? This epic masterpiece tells the story of two families in California’s Salinas Valley, and the way their lives intersect and intertwine over the course of several generations. Steinbeck’s prose is stunning, and the themes of good and evil, love and hate, and free will vs. destiny are explored in a way that is both timeless and relevant.
N – “Normal People” by Sally Rooney https://amzn.to/3l2nzvy
Ah, “Normal People.” This book is like a gut punch in the best possible way. It’s the story of Marianne and Connell, two young people from the same small town in Ireland who are drawn to each other despite their vastly different backgrounds. Rooney’s writing is spare and elegant, and the way she captures the nuances of human emotion is nothing short of breathtaking.
N – “The Nightingale” by Kristin Hannah https://amzn.to/3Jtnj2l
I’m not gonna lie, “The Nightingale” destroyed me. This WWII-era novel tells the story of two sisters in Nazi-occupied France who must navigate their way through unimaginable horrors. It’s a heartbreaking but ultimately uplifting story of love, sacrifice, and the resilience of the human spirit. I sobbed my way through the last 50 pages, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I – “I Capture the Castle” by Dodie Smith https://amzn.to/3ZS8Yld
“I Capture the Castle” is a delightful little book that I stumbled upon years ago and have revisited many times since. It’s the story of Cassandra Mortmain, a 17-year-old girl living in a crumbling English castle with her eccentric family. The book is a coming-of-age tale, a romance, and a meditation on the power of the written word all rolled into one. It’s charming, funny, and utterly delightful.
F – “Fates and Furies” by Lauren Groff https://amzn.to/420xO4o
If you like your novels a little bit twisty and a whole lot literary, then “Fates and Furies” is the book for you. It’s the story of Lotto and Mathilde, a couple who seem to have the perfect marriage on the surface, but who harbor secrets and resentments that threaten to tear them apart. Groff’s writing is gorgeous, and the structure of the book is incredibly clever. I loved it.
E – “Educated” by Tara Westover https://amzn.to/41QlMKG
“Educated” is one of those books that will stick with you long after you’ve turned the last page. It’s the memoir of Tara Westover, a woman who grew up in rural Idaho with a father who was convinced that the government was out to get him. Despite a lack of formal education, Westover was determined to make something of herself, and the book chronicles her journey from a sheltered life to the halls of Cambridge University. It’s a powerful, inspiring, and at times difficult read.
R – “The Road” by Cormac McCarthy https://amzn.to/3l0QOiw
“The Road” is not a happy book. It’s bleak, it’s terrifying, and it’s heartbreaking. But it’s also a masterpiece. McCarthy’s spare prose is perfectly suited to the post-apocalyptic landscape he’s created, and the story of a father and son trying to survive in a world that has been destroyed is both harrowing and deeply moving.
And there you have it, folks! My ultimate list of books that start with the letters of my name, JENNIFER. Whether you’re in the mood for a classic romance, a modern-day epic, a heart-wrenching memoir, or a dystopian nightmare, I’ve got you covered. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some reading to do.
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