Time travel, second chances featured in book picks


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A young woman flips through the pages of a book while sitting in bed.

By Sarah Rose, Managing Editor

For readers, the new year brings the discovery of new authors and loveable stories. Here are four books to add to that 2023 reading list. 

“Alone With You In The Ether” by Olivie Blake

Independently published in 2020, Olivie Blake’s novel “Alone With You In The Ether” explores themes of mental health, the concept of time and human connection. The story takes place in Chicago and follows Regan, an artist, and Aldo, a doctoral student, who happen to meet one day in the Chicago Art Institute. Both characters are young adults struggling to make it on their own while dealing with mental and emotional issues. The story consists of beautiful writing and a character-driven plot, making Regan and Aldo complex individuals who are easy to relate to. “Alone With You In The Ether” is a must-read by everyone, especially by fans of Blake’s other novel “The Atlas Six.”

“The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern

“The Starless Sea” by Erin Morgenstern has captivated audiences since its release in 2019. The novel is best described as a book about books. The concept is quite unique: main character Zachary Rawlins, a graduate student, finds his way to a secret library hidden below the Earth’s surface that’s in danger of collapsing. Zachary soon learns that he didn’t find this realm by accident, and the protectors of the starless sea sought him out long ago when he was a young boy. Full of beauty, mystery and life’s purposes, “The Starless Sea” will make readers feel as if they’re slowly losing their minds as they explore a wondrous but strange world. 

“A Man Called Ove” by Fredrik Backman

This novel follows a not so loveable old man who just wants to be left alone. Meet Ove: a man who may come off as grumpy and rude, but who secretly has a soft heart. When new neighbors move into the neighborhood, Ove is forced to break out of the walls of grief he’s built around himself. Not only is this a story about an old man learning to live again, it’s also one that analyzes depression and grief. Swedish author Fredrik Backman writes the perfect novel for people who like new beginnings, unlikely friendships and witty one liners. 

“Before the Coffee Gets Cold” by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

In “Before the Coffee Gets Cold,” written by Toshikazu Kawaguchi, four individuals visit a cafe in Tokyo to get the chance of a lifetime – to travel back in time. But like everything else, there are rules when it comes to the science of time travel, and journeying back in time is no joyride. Filled with a soft, gentle setting, the story explores what it means to be offered a second chance and the risks you take to get it. This novel is short but sweet and can be read in full before your coffee gets cold.