Musings and Amusings

Eleanor & Park


This is the description on the inside cover of Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I loved reading this book. It is designated a Young Adult (YA) book, and the writing is concise and uncomplicated. But Eleanor’s and Park’s emotions and actions are universal as they try to find their niche in a confusing, sometimes inhospitable world.

When I look through my library of favorite books – the 5-star books I read again and again; the books I lug with me every time we move; the books I never lend because I can’t bear to lose them – I find many that could be succinctly described as “Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love.”

Not all are about romantic love. Love between a parent and a child, two siblings or two unlikely companions can be just as palpable and endearing as a romance.

Defining a “misfit” presumes we have an accepted definition for “normal”.  That’s a discussion for another day. The characters in these books affect me because of their circumstantial or social struggles.

Sometimes the misfits dominate the plot; sometimes the extraordinary love is what lies at the heart of the story.

Here, in no particular order, are my favorite “Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love” books:



  • God-Shaped Hole by Tiffanie DeBartolo
  • How to Kill a Rock Star by Tiffanie DeBartolo
  • The Flawless Skin of Ugly People by Doug Crandell
  • Love Is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
  • Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
  • I Know This Much Is True by Wally Lamb
  • Loving Frank by Nancy Horan
  • The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Next in my stack of to-read books that might end up in this category:

  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green



Am I missing any “must have” books in this section of my library?

Comments on: "“Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love.”" (51)

  1. Great mix there Sammy! I struggled to read the Time Travellers Wife, at the time (baby brain!) I just couldn’t keep up with all the zig-zaggy timelines, lol. Just put Love is Mix Tape on my wish list though, thanks! I’m into Sarah Addison Allen at the moment and she tends to have misfits running through her storylines. Often romantic ones but also seemingly incompatible women becoming buddies 🙂

    • Thanks, Lainey. Time Traveler’s Wife was a challenge, but I loved the story. i didn’t watch the movie because didn’t see how they could capture what was in my mind from the book. Thanks for recommendation for Sarah – i will seek her books . Hope you are doing well; i know you’ve been swamped with other “challenges” lately.

  2. I havnt read any of those but am scrapbooking this for reference once I get through my huge backlog of books to read and you really are a wonderful writer!!!

    • Justine – you’re so sweet. Thank you! I laugh because a couple days ago I counted the books I have “acquired” that I still need to read and it’s 25!!!! How did that happen ?!? Mostly blogger recommendations 🙂

  3. Two Misfits. One Extraordinary Love. I love the sound of this concept.

    • Isn’t it exquisite? There could be so many stories that fit the description (no pun intended). The older I get, the more I understand about my own difficulties to find my fit, and the more I appreciate these stories of love in all its iterations.

      • Exquisite? Absolutely! It captured my imagination. It has such an out-of-the-box appeal…….. 🙂
        Conjures all sorts of delightful possibilities. It could be the title of an eclectic short story collection amongst other things…

      • Michelle – they are begging to be written. By you 🙂

  4. I tend to stick to crime novels so haven’t read many on your list. Occasionally I try other genres so I have read the Time Traveller’s Wife which I agree was an amazing book. I have added your list to my ‘to-be-read-one-day’ list and I’ll let you know when I do read one. Thanks.

    • 🙂 oh, the ever-expanding “to read” list. I know it well ! I read a lot of crime novels also. Who are a couple of your favorite authors?

  5. Loved this post Sammy thank you. I’ve read a few on your list. Currently, I’m reading Hermann Hesse:The Glass Bead Game. The Fault in our Stars I believe is very good ..

    • Thank you, Susan. Will you see “The Fault in Our Stars” movie? I’ll decide once I read the book – sometimes book plots and characters are so expansive I can’t imagine movies being “weighty” enough.

      Thanks for HH recommendation. I will seek it!

  6. cardamone5 said:

    I am printing this list out, although I read I Know This Much Is True and loved it. I also read Wally Lamb’s more recent book (can’t recall the name) and loved that too. Chalk it up to I get most of my books from the library now, and thus can’t refer to them when my memory blanks like now. Right now I am reading Joyce Carol Oats (probably spelling her name wrong) Carthage. Not a love story. Mystery. She wrote We Were the Mulvaneys (again probably misspelled.) Both really good.

    • Thanks for the suggestions. I read wally Lamb’s recent and also can’t remember title :-). I’m terrible with remembering titles of books and movies. Will look up the Oates books.

  7. Hi Sammy – I too shall make use of this list. I’ve been meaning to ask for reading recommendations, so thanks!

    Since you enjoyed Extremely/Incredibly … you might like the work by the author’s wife, The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss. Another one, about a misfit and his relationship with his perceived antagonist is called… The Antagonist, by Lynn Coady

    • Thank you! I had no idea he was married to Nicole Krauss!! I LOVE her books. First read Man Walks Into a Room and then DEVOURED The History of Love. My copy is filled with my notes and scribblings as I have woven my way through the maze – such a treat, and that one is already on my list for re-reading this summer. I hesitate to recommend that one because nobody I know thought Extremely Loud was worth wading through. Glad to find another Krauss fan 🙂

      I will definitely obtain your other recommendation.

      • Devoured is a suitable term for Krauss’ work. I was sad when it ended. I do hope you enjoy Coady’s book. I’ve read everything of hers that was available to me. She won the 2013 Giller Prize for her collection of short stories.

      • I just finished reading The Antagonist reviews on Amazon and requested it frim my library. It looked good enough to prioritize in my summer list 🙂 thsnks so much – will let you know what I think!

      • I forgot to say a reason I prioritized The Antagonist is the review called it an epistolary. I love those fancy words 🙂

      • LOL – I didn’t know there was a word for that! “epistolary” Learned something new this morning, thanks! 😀

  8. I don’t usually reread books, but one of the books on my all-time favorite list is a Wally Lamb book. I loved “She’s Come Undone,” but I also enjoyed “I Know This Much Is True.” I think Lamb recently had a new book come out, but I haven’t read it.

    • Hi Carrie – I’m always interested when accomplished authors have several stellar books to see which becomes a reader’s favorite. I’ve read both She’s Come Undone and the new one. Thought they were both very well-written, but the subject matter in I Know This Much Is True was what struck me deeply. I can’t imagine carrying the burden of either twin.

      Will be curious to see what you think if/when you reade most recent one.

  9. While I recognize some of the titles, I haven’t read any of the books on your list. (But I’m taking note.)
    I hope you enjoy TFIOS.

    • 🙂 it’s like browsing in a candy store. I went to the library to pick up one book on reserve and came home with 8. The story of a bookworm’s life, eh?

    • Sorry, that 2nd comment should have gone to commenter above you (Carrie). My “reply to a reply” dorsn’t co-operate on my Ipad!!

  10. It was my least favorite of the three. You can leave it off your list because I bet you have others that are more compelling. A writer can’t possibly hit a homerun every time.

  11. I admit! For the time being I read too little! I’ve better soon pick up something catching from my shelves. And something else but “The dark tower”-serie by Stephen King. Those seven books I almost know by heart… Yes! My favorite!

  12. What a lovely stack of books you have! I’m always up for a recommendation, so thanks for all these. Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my favorites, as it twisted my mind up in the most wonderful ways.
    You’re going to love TFIOS! I hope you review it when you’re finished. 🙂
    (BTW, I just started some zentangling. I love it!! The bad news? My blog might be quiet for a bit while I draw patterns in black pen. 😉 )

    • :-). I know!! I tell myself to “write something” but right now I just want to look at the zentangle books from the library and doodle myself into zen-dom 🙂

      So glad you are enjoying it, too.

  13. Suzanne Ong said:

    I know you’re going to love The Fault in Our Stars 🙂

  14. I do not usually re-read books. I believe there are only two that I have ever re-read. Those are First Person Plural and Go Ask Alice. I am adding your list to my “Need to read list” and I’m pretty excited about that. My next read is Moonless (Maiden of Time) and then I plan to read Heaven is for real. I actually had planned to have Moonless read by now but since my month of my was absurd, I am behind as usual. Looking forward to adding your reads to my list. 🙂

  15. I’m reading Loving Frank right now! And Time Traveler’s Wife was amazing. I hasn’t to read the Fault in Our Stars– what with all the buzz about it– but I’m a big baby and I don’t want to cry!!! Anyway thanks for posting this, I love good (and trustworthy) book recommendations!

    • Meant to write I WANTED** to read Fault in Our Stars. Whoops!

      • I hope you are enjoying Loving Frank. It was a very different book, and sometimes difficult to understand their relationship, and his wife’s role. The writing was excellent and, even though it was hard for me to cindone their life choices, in the rnd I thought it was a great love story.

        I finished Fault in Our Stars last Night. I didn’t “love, love” it like my other favorites, but that’s often the case with books that are “all the rage”. I’m better with “hidden gems” where my expectations aren’t so high.

  16. I loved the Time Traveller’s Wife – great book.

    I do love the concept of “two misfits, one extraordinary love”, as you say it applies to so many stories and characters! It’s a good concept for writers to keep in mind.

    • Yes, that was a delicious book. Thanks for taking time to read my posts, Celine. XXOO

      • Well of course!! You are only one of my favourite bloggers!
        It is INCONCEIVABLE that I would not read them. In fact, it was rather poor of me to have been absent for so long. But I’m making up for lost time now 🙂 xx

      • 🙂 you know what they say “absence makes the heart grow fonder” LOL

      • You’re right! *packs suitcases for another holiday* t
        Toodles everyone, you’re all going to be super fond of me by the time summer is over! 😉

        Haha. Actually being away is nice, but so is being back, glad I’m not going away any time soon now.

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