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Bicycles on Books: A Rather Random Round-Up

by Beth Cranford

Fun fact: May is National Bike Month in the USA, with May 17 – May 23 being Bike to Work Week, and May 30 – June 5 is National Bike Week in the UK. Another fun fact: I work from home so biking to work isn’t really an option for me. Unless I want to attempt getting from my bedroom to my living room (where my desk is) on a bike that’s covered in at 15 years worth of muck and mud. One last fun fact: I haven’t ridden my bike in about four months. Before that, it was probably at least six months since I’d ridden, and so on going back to early 2009 when I actually *gasp* rode regularly with my husband. I could do jumps and all kinds of stuff. But alas, no longer.

Which is why, instead of celebrating these bicycle-related events with a jaunt ten meters from bed to desk, I instead decided to look for books with bicycles on the cover. It was fun, slightly surprising, and the end result is a list of books that I’ve decided we all need on our TBR…. Enjoy!

This book might not technically be classed as romance but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have romance at its heart. In fact, this true story is about a PK, a street artist and “untouchable” from East India, whose encounter with a Swedish woman looking for a portrait led him on a bicycle journey across continents to be reunited the woman he loves. What’s more romantic — and epic — than that?

Not quite convinced? Here’s a couple of reviews that piqued my interest:

“As an Indian married to a Scandinavian (Dane), this book covers a lot of the problems/concerns my wife and I had to address in order to have a happy marriage. It is gritty and realistic and well worth reading.”

—————

“I really hope they make a movie out of the story. It is truly exceptional, beautiful, educational and so romantic.”

Kiss and Repeat by Heather Truett

Due for release on May 25 — next week — this YA romance features a hero with Tourette’s who discovers that kissing girls quietens his tics — and launches a very scientific experiment to discover more. It’s hard to tell right now exactly what to expect from Kiss and Repeat but honestly, just the fact of its existence made me happy. As did this review, which I found when trying to learn more about the book:

“This book is a thoughtful take on falling in love for the first time through the complex lens of neurodivergence. Truett gives us a cast of well-rounded characters to complement her endearing narrator. Stephen Luckie has the witty self-awareness of a John Green protagonist, so it’s easy to root for him, even when he’s kissing all the wrong girls!”

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

I’m the first to admit that YA is not typically my jam, but a book about a woman — young or old — finding herself, finding new meaning in her life, learning about who she is and who she can be is most definitely something that makes me want to one-click. This New York Times bestseller might be nearly a dozen years old, but does good writing and romance ever get old? I think not. Plus, the more recent reviews are still raving about it . . .


“The perfect summer beach read with a little of everything- sweet, fun, romantic, and thought-provoking. I highly recommend reading it!”

—————

“Sarah Dessen is an amazing storyteller. Complex but relatable characters. Sweet storylines. It makes me wish I had another shot at being a teen and in love.”

Oh, and Netflix is making it into a movie.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Another one that’s been around for several years, The Rosie Project makes the list not because it’s a New York Times bestseller, or because the author is a fellow Aussie, or even because it has nearly 20k reviews with a 4.5 average. Nope, it’s all about the bike, folks. Okay, and the fact that I’ve been told for years by friends who’ve loved this one that I need to read it. A smart but not socially savvy scientist designs a survey to help him find the perfect wife — only to find that sometimes perfect and perfect for me are two very different things. Smiling just thinking about it!

Also, this review spoke to my heart as a person who loves to loan books, but also needs to own them:

“It is a wonderfully funny and poignant novel. I loaned it to a friend to read, who enjoyed it so much that she loaned it to another friend. Realizing that I would never get it back, I ordered it again because I wanted make it part of my personal collection and read it again.”

Look how adorable this cover is! It’s definitely eye-catching, which is why I clicked on it to learn more. And the more I learned just whet my appetite all the more. Bryony is the last single friend, and the guy she’s crushed on for years has just tied the knot. Jackson is in the post stage of his cycling career and looking for something new. At first, it’s nothing more than a one night stand . . . until work throws them — and a tandem bike — together. A quick scan of the reviews tells me two things: 1) there’s “too much sex,” which for some readers is a call to one-click action, and for others is a major turn-off, so take that as you will; and 2) that it’s a light-hearted, fun read. Here are a couple that caught my eye!

“An entertaining, light-hearted and funny story, with a lot of chemistry. Yay to Jane Linfoot!!!”

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“…so much more than just a hot romance as the author analyses their underlying emotional issues just as well as she describes the raw lust and passion that draws them to each other. There is plenty of humour too.”

The Bike Lesson by Stan and Jan Berenstain

First, sorry for the lighting. Second, did I whip this out because I was sure it was Berenstein and not Berenstain a few years back? Yes, yes, I did. And third, it was $2.50 when it was bought apparently. Which I assume was the mid-eighties.

Fine, fine, this one — like the first one — isn’t romance, but you can’t fault me for including it. One of my fondest memories of childhood is my mum reading this to me, and I still randomly quote it all the time, with this being my absolute favorite:

“Wow! What a lesson!

That looks hard,

going downhill

through a chicken yard.”


I actually still have my worn and battered original copy of The Bike Lesson (and Old Hat, New Hat but I’ll save that for the day I do a “hats” posts), and read it to both of my kids when they were small. *Sigh* Good books leave lasting memories, don’t they?

About Beth

Beth Cranford was born and raised in Australia, but followed her heart (and her husband) to the United States in her late 20s. As the mother of two kids, she’s learned that you can turn anything into a song and that slime does not belong in carpeted areas (or polite society). You can most often find her with her Kindle in hand, listening to Taylor Swift on repeat, or spending way too many hours playing Animal Crossing.

Follow her @BethCranford on B+M Bites.

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