The best books on ‘oh wow’ story ideas with characters you fall in love with

Paul Indigo Author Of Love Deleted
By Paul Indigo

Who am I?

I’m a storyteller who loves ‘oh my gosh’ ideas. Something that, the moment I hear about it, it captivates me. I also love characters who are deeply heart-warming and pleasurable to be around. For me, delving into the intimacy of a character’s mind and their shifting relationships with others is a pleasure. This is why I’m so attracted to contemporary domestic family issues or love stories with living, breathing characters. By pairing it with a puzzling or shocking wow of an idea to investigate, I can explore my character’s unique world and set it at odds with something that threatens that existence.

I wrote...

Love Deleted

By Paul Indigo,

Book cover of Love Deleted

What is my book about?

This is an impossible love story… Cooper came home unexpectedly early that day. The day her world collapsed and saw things she shouldn’t have. Now Cooper is running away, a broken heart out of control after an earth-shattering scene. Then Cooper discovers the website. Speaks to the doctors. Can they give her the treatment she desperately wants? Yes. They can surgically erase her love for her husband Jethro.

Only this perfect solution sets off a devastating chain of events not only for Jethro and Cooper. But also for their teenage son Daniel. A life-shattering moment. A rash decision. An easy solution. This isn’t just a love story. Not when a heart isn’t just broken, it is irreversibly silenced.

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The books I picked & why

The Time Traveler's Wife

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Book cover of The Time Traveler's Wife

Why did I love this book?

This book captivated me the moment I heard the idea.

The concept that a man could have time-code errors in his genetic code that throws him randomly into different periods of his life fascinated me. Pairing it with a heart-warming love story where the couple meet when Henry is 36 years and Clare, five and their struggles with his condition is the icing on the cake.

This is an eloquently-written love story that involves you immediately, together with an idea that’s thoughtful and original. Despite the hopelessness of his condition, it ends so upliftingly well. It’s a story I’ve returned to time and again.

By Audrey Niffenegger,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Time Traveler's Wife as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a series on HBO starring Rose Leslie and Theo James!

The iconic time travel love story and mega-bestselling first novel from Audrey Niffenegger is "a soaring celebration of the victory of love over time" (Chicago Tribune).

Henry DeTamble is a dashing, adventurous librarian who is at the mercy of his random time time-traveling abilities. Clare Abshire is an artist whose life moves through a natural sequential course. This is the celebrated and timeless tale of their love. Henry and Clare's passionate affair is built and endures across a sea of time and captures them in an impossibly romantic trap…

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The Shooting Script

By Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Rob Feld

Book cover of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: The Shooting Script

Why did I love this book?

Yes, this is the published shooting script of the film.

When I read the premise of this story, I knew it would be special. I remember the author stating he got the idea of someone receiving a postcard through the post with the words "You have been deleted from X’s memory. Do not attempt to contact her" and how it intrigued him. From that idea, the entire idea of deleting the memory of a romantic relationship gone wrong, unfolded.

I love story ideas that stop me from breathing. The film (and script) is lovely, yet holds a twist or two up its sleeve. It is, underneath the science, a tragicomic love story. Genius.

By Charlie Kaufman, Michel Gondry, Rob Feld

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this illuminating script book, Charlie Kaufman, the Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter of Being John Malkovich and Adaptation, shares the logistical challenges of writing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in a fascinating interview.

Kaufman also provides commentary on stills from the movie, revealing remarkable details about the editing process, set construction, and shooting techniques that were used to tell this unconventional story.

In the film, Joel ( Jim Carrey) is stunned to discover that his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) has had her memories of their tumultuous relationship erased. Out of desperation, he contacts the inventor of the process, Dr. Howard…

My Sister's Keeper

By Jodi Picoult,

Book cover of My Sister's Keeper

Why did I love this book?

This book kept me awake for days! A 13-year-old Kate, birthed to be the bone marrow donor for her older sister’s leukemia, has gone through countless painful medical procedures her whole life so her sister can survive. Then Kate decides to sue her parents for the rights to her own body.

The moral and ethical dilemmas in this novel are astronomical. Such a profound and moving decision that impacts everyone. Kate loves her family. And they, too, her. Yet her choice to forego future medical procedures that will eventually kill her sister is heartbreaking. 

An emotionally shocking yet riveting story, especially as it stems from a 13-year-old girl’s decision. Just wow.

By Jodi Picoult,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked My Sister's Keeper as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sara and Brian Fitzgerald's life with their young son and their two-year-old daughter, Kate, is forever altered when they learn that Kate has leukemia. The parents' only hope is to conceive another child, specifically intended to save Kate's life. For some, such genetic engineering would raise both moral and ethical questions; for the Fitzgeralds, Sara in particular, there is no choice but to do whatever it takes to keep Kate alive. And what it takes is Anna. Kate (Sofia Vassilieva) and Anna (Abigail Breslin) share a bond closer than most sisters: though Kate is older, she relies on her little…

The Da Vinci Code

By Dan Brown,

Book cover of The Da Vinci Code

Why did I love this book?

Revelations about the Holy Grail is a truly big idea. I love fascinating facts, so that this was written by a teacher is evident in the way the story unfolds.

We learn surprising information (or theories written as fact about Christianity) interwoven into this tale which makes it riveting. Also, we’re energised by the fast pace, delighted by the treasure hunt, and caught up in the Q&As that unfold as we learn what the Grail actually is and what it means. 

The mini-lectures woven in add an extra dimension to a story that makes it meaty, nourishing us with knowledge while at the same time entertaining us. A fabulous example of sleight-of-hand storytelling that keeps those pages turning.

By Dan Brown,

Why should I read it?

9 authors picked The Da Vinci Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Harvard professor Robert Langdon receives an urgent late-night phone call while on business in Paris: the elderly curator of the Louvre has been brutally murdered inside the museum. Alongside the body, police have found a series of baffling codes.

As Langdon and a gifted French cryptologist, Sophie Neveu, begin to sort through the bizarre riddles, they are stunned to find a trail that leads to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci - and suggests the answer to a mystery that stretches deep into the vault of history.

Unless Langdon and Neveu can decipher the labyrinthine code and quickly assemble the…

We Are Satellites

By Sarah Pinsker,

Book cover of We Are Satellites

Why did I love this book?

This is an uplifting family drama about technology that could – and possibly is (if we think about AI and smartphones) – already happening.

It’s a social comment about a brain surgery that improves the functions of thinking. The implant proves so popular, it begins to bias society to favour those who have the implant and sideline those who don’t. The story is told from the viewpoints of a lesbian couple and their two children, demonstrating how easily divided we can be, enough to threaten the breakdown of society. 

It’s a wonderful story with very real characters, commenting on mega technology and exploitative commercial enterprise yet is also at its heart, about the importance of the family unit.

By Sarah Pinsker,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked We Are Satellites as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From award-winning author Sarah Pinsker comes a novel about one family and the technology that divides them.

Get one - or get left behind.

Val and Julie just want what's best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when David comes home from school begging for a new brain implant to help with his studies, they're torn. Julie grew up poor and knows what it's like to be the only kid in school without the new technology, but Val is terrified by the risks and the implications.

Soon, everyone at Julie's work has the implant and she's struggling to keep…

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in time travel, slice of life, and magic-supernatural?

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