I was sixteen and sick in bed when Mom bought me The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult. I loved it. There was something easy, but intense about it. Despite my feverish state, I couldn’t put it down.
I quickly moved on to more of her books. I loved them all, I noticed a common thread. She addresses pressing issues, she focuses a lot on relationships; she forces the reader to consider multiple viewpoints.
This week’s TTT with The Broke and the Bookish addresses those times when you feel like you’re spending too much time with one friend, so to speak: Top Ten Books if you liked Author X. In this case, Top Ten books you’d like if you enjoyed Jodi Picoult.
1. The Smell of Apples (originally in Afrikaans, Die Reuk van Appels) by Mark Behr – this South African novel focuses on a young adolescent’s family life during Apartheid South Africa. Often shocking, always tangible.
2. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender – a girl who can taste the feelings of the cook? It sounds like a fantasy, but is everything but, and Picoult sang its praises. The manner in which Bender analyses interpersonal relationships is phenomenal.
3. The Help by Kathryn Stockett – not as mysterious as most of Picoult’s work, but the golden thread of humanity runs through this one, too.
4. Angel Falls by Kristin Hannah – a tale of family, loss and romance set in a small town. Add injury and a prolonged coma for a real toast burner (kudos to the person who knows what that means!).
5. Breathing Space (originally in Afrikaans, Wegkomkans) by Marita van der Vyver – tells the tense story of a handful of friends meeting regularly at a beach house despite their ideological differences. A mix of politics, romance, sexuality, coming of age and family.
6. It’s Me, Anna (originally in Afrikaans, Dis Ek, Anna) by Elbie Lotter – A young girl, violated by her stepfather from a young age, shares her story.
7. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – a teenager girl’s strange suicide note in the form of thirteen audio recordings. Suspenseful and shocking. A fair warning that this can be a trigger for currently struggling individuals.
8. The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux – What would you do if you could go back in time, to any time, to change your choices? Would you change them? What would you change? Three women who meet on their fortieth birthday are soon to find out. I thought this would be a sappy Mills&Boon, but really, it was everything but.
9. One Tuesday Morning by Karen Kingsbury – It’s religious angle might change your experience of it, but this one is by no means a Bible-bashing novel. It tells the story of a firefighter who is found in the rubble of the Twin Towers, but remembers nothing of his previous life. It offers lovely insight into family life. It becomes a little predictable about halfway through, but not unpleasantly so.
10. Testimony by Anita Shreve – a videotaped scandal breaks at a New England boarding school. The novel tracks the influence on lives young and old, repercussions beyond one’s wildest imaginations. A story intricately woven.