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Cover for The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife
Audrey Niffenegger
An old-fashioned love story tucked inside a mind-bending time travel adventure, Niffenegger's runaway bestseller gives a glimpse of what it might be like to know your beloved long before you met them and long after you could hope to still be by their side.
Why We Love It
Clare is a beautiful and ambitious young art student. Henry is a sexy librarian with a penchant for sex, drugs, and rock n' roll. Henry thinks they're meeting for the first time, but Clare knows Henry well. She's been in love with him for over a decade, since she was a small girl and Henry first appeared, naked and dazed, on her family's Michigan estate.

Sound confusing? The amazing thing is that, on the page, it never is. All you have to do is buy that Henry suffers from "chrono-displacement disorder", which means that at any moment he can he can be transported from the present to the past or future. We shuttle between every age of these charming characters, watching them fall in love, watching them struggle to build a stable family, watching them deal with staggering loss. And through it all, bounced through time and from tragedy to bliss and back, we remain as grounded as though we were reading the simplest of plotlines. Because we are.

Somehow through all the extraordinary pyrotechnics of a tale told out of time, what Niffenegger has really done is breathe fresh life into the oldest story in the world, the story of boy meets girl.

Cover for Galapagos
Kurt Vonnegut
It's a million years in the future and human beings have finally evolved out of their awkward stage, leaving behind their impractical big brains in favor of sleek, streamlined skulls well-suited to fishing. The companionable ghost of an ex-marine tells us the story of how we got here.
Why We Love It
Like all Vonnegut books, this one is wildly funny, sneekily poignant, and forces us to look around us with the eyes of someone who has only just stumbled onto planet earth. But unlike most Vonnegut books, this one is also bursting with hope and love for humanity - perhaps not in all its instantiations, but at least in its totality.

Narrated by the ghost of the son of the world's most influential science-fiction writer, the recurring Vonnegut character Kilgore Trout, Galapagos tells the story of the "the Nature Cruise of the Century" upon which the future of humanity turns out to rest. Like The Time-Traveler's Wife this is a thought experiment turned into a page-turner, and the experiment here goes something like this: is there any way humanity can evolve so that both people and the planet they inhabit might have a future to look forward to? The resulting pages are a strangely uplifting and invigorating, "Yes."