Sunday Salon 37: Freezer Books

Posted 13 February, 2011 by Trish in Reading Nook / 46 Comments


Good morning! We’ve had a beautiful weekend here in Dallas and thank goodness after the bitter cold we had earlier in the week. Hope you’re all keeping warm wherever you are. On a walk yesterday I noticed the Bradford Pears are starting to bud–I can’t wait for those blossoms to pop!

Freezer Books

Last week my sister was reading Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close and she mentioned how the book was starting to give her really heavy boots (a term from the book). I asked her if she wanted to put the book in the freezer, but she didn’t understand why I would ask her that.

I reminded her of the Friends episode (link to episode script) where Joey and Rachel put Little Women in the freezer during a particularly sad part of the book. It’s been years since I’ve seen this particular episode but when I very first met Lisa from Books.Lists.Life she was reading A Thousand Splendid Suns and mentioned she needed to put the book in the freezer. Since then I’ve thought about this several times as I’ve wanted to put this book or that in the freezer, hoping to avoid the inevitable but knowing it can’t really happen.

Truth is I’m a sucker for freezer books. Although I hate when something might not go the way I’d like for it to in a book, the emotional attachment I have to certain books or characters is what keeps me reading. I love a book that will make me pause for a second, hug the book, and maybe even shed some tears. One where I can’t bear to turn the pages but knowing I must come to the end. It might be exhausting to read only freezer books, but I wish I encountered them more often.

Some of my favorite freezer books–where I have reviews I’ve linked to them.  Obviously I cannot tell you why they are freezer books for fear of spoiling, but it isn’t always the obvious reason.

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowling

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathon Safran Foer

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The God of Small Things – Arundhati Roy

The Bone People – Keri Hulme

Remains of the Day – Kazou Ishiguro

The Book Thief – Mark Zusak

Sunday’s Questions:
Have you ever wanted to put a book in the proverbial freezer because of your emotional attachment? Which books have struck a particularly emotional chord with you? What books might you consider “freezer books”?

Looking Back to Last Week
-Last Sunday I asked you how public you make your blogging habits or if you keep it more private amongst those you know in your personal lives. I was hoping to catch the opinion of some non-book bloggers, but there was some great comments!
-Tuesday was Jousting with Joyce and my thoughts on Part I of Ulysses.
-I shared my blah thoughts on True Grit the book and movie remake
-For Weekend Cooking I shared these delicious Buckeye Delights. They’re too good!

Looking Forward to Next Week
I’m hoping for a special Valentine’s Day post for tomorrow–one where I share the memory of my first Valentine’s Day with Scott. My sister chastised me last week for not having a Wordless Wednesday post, so I’ll either do a WW or a random post as I had another sonogram yesterday. This was just for fun, but we did confirm that Little Miss is in fact a baby girl. Whew! Other than that, I’m not sure. I’m avoiding having to take a blogging break but I have a feeling it’s inevitable with the amount of Continuing Education hours I need to get by the end of the month for my insurance license renewal coming up. I’ll be glad when all of that is behind me for a while!

Happy Sunday!!

46 Responses to “Sunday Salon 37: Freezer Books”

  1. I’ve only seen like 3 episodes of Friends and that one is one of them. I still talk about putting books in the freezer. :D Jason asked Laurence the other day if he wanted to put Johnny Tremain in the freezer because he came out crying about how it was getting really sad. Laurence looked at him like he was crazy. :D Morrigan also recently read Little Women and when it got close to that particular part, we started telling Morrigan it was okay to put the book in the freezer. :D He had no idea of course.

  2. I’ve never seen this episode of Friends, so I don’t get the joke :) But I do love books that really wrap you in and have a big emotional impact. I haven’t read one in while, but agree with lots of the ones on your list!

  3. Freezer books! Great topic for a Sunday. I can’t really think of any recent ones. Maybe that means I’m reading the wrong stuff?

  4. I love this theme. As soon as I saw your title, I wondered whether it was a reference to Friends. I think Joey had to put The Shining in the freezer every time he read it. :-)

    The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns were kind of like that for me. So was Sophie’s Choice (both the book and movie).

  5. Love the term ‘freezer book’! Don’t think I’ve had one recently, but I was sorry to reach the end of Excellent Women.

  6. I will have to ponder that one…I know what you mean, though. Maybe White Oleander is a book like that. I’ve actually only read the book once, but whenever I see the movie, I keep hoping things will turn out better….

    Then there’s Gone with the Wind…maybe Scarlett will make better choices next time I read it!

    I’ll have to search for some “freezer books” on my stacks.

    Here’s my SUNDAY SALON

  7. *Amanda – Haha! I love that you guys are talking about freezer books with your kids. I don’t remember Johnny Tremain being sad (not my favorite book I had to read), but Little Women is definitely one to stick in the freezer!

    *Kim – I think putting the book in the freezer is just an attempt to avoid the inevitable. Maybe like out of sight out of mind?

    *Stephanie – Yes, that’s how the joke got started–with Joey putting The Shining in the freezer when he’d get scared. ;) Ha! I haven’t read Sophie’s Choice but have it on the shelf and thought of it when I was writing this post.

    *JoAnn – Off to look up Excellent Women! Haven’t heard of it.

    *Laurel-Rain Snow – Oh that Scarlett. I’m not sure she’ll ever learn. ;) Great example, though!

  8. I love this! Not loving True Grit but mentioning Friends in such a super way is redeeming.

    I think The Things They Carried and maybe Sam are two recent ones I’d call freezer books. There is another one that I about cried on the subway while reading, but for some reason it is escaping me!

  9. The Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close book is on my books that I’ll be reading here in the next month, so I’ll have to see if it needs to be put in the freezer. Just from looking at it, it appears it will be…but probably out of frustration, I’m guessing. :) I can’t really think of books I’d want to put in the freezer, because usually that would mean to me that I didn’t want to read them. I can think of ones that I’d like to put in a hole six feet under and never have return, but not ones to put in the freezer.

  10. I never watched Friends so I wouldn’t have gotten the freezer reference. I’m getting ready to start Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys and I’m crying already, so I imagine it will be a freezer book for me.

  11. I tend to think of scary books when the term “freezer books” comes up. I hadn’t really thought about sad books. I do read a lot of sad books though–or books where sad things happen. I love when a book makes me feel deeply.

    • Dixie

      I agree. As a teenager, I read “The Shining” (where were my parents?) and it scared me so badly, I put it in the freezer.

  12. I miss watching Friends! This was such a great episode and as soon as I saw the title to your post I thought to myself, “What? Trish is reading something scary??” Because of The Shining of course :) But I can think of a couple of books including The Book Thief that would be freezer books for me. And of course if I was ever brave enough to read The Shining it would be a freezer book as well (but the movie and book freak me out) so that will probably never happen :) Have a great week!

  13. Ack! How did I miss that episode of Friends?!!! I often encounter freezer books! But what’s really funny is, I don’t know if you read “Beat the Reaper” by Josh Bazell, but the freezer moment takes place IN THE FREEZER!

  14. *Lisa – Just realized I missed your comment earlier. Sorry. :( Was hoping to get new freezer book suggestions but you guys are unhelpful! :P kidding.

    *Topher – I admit to being a sucker for books that cry so I’m interested about the one on the subway! Haven’t heard of Sam but will look it up.

    *Unfinished – It’s not a frustrating book, really, but it’s sneaky. My mom’s reading EL&IC right now and actually started it over because she felt lost. I told her just to keep going that everything will fit together but she didn’t listen ;) (and I’ve wanted to bury a few books myself…).

    *Bermuda – Never watched Friends?! :) Will definitely look up Between Shades of Gray–thanks!

    *Lit Feline – I guess I should make a note that freezer books from this episode started off as something scary. ;) If you have any *great* sad book titles, I’d love to hear them–like you I love to feel deeply. Wish more books did so.

    *Samantha – LOL–yes, scary books, too. I believe that’s how the whole thing got started on that episode, with The Shining. I’d love to hear what books you’d put in the freezer!

    *Rhapsody – LOL! I need to get my hands on Beat the Reaper! Too funny that the freezer moment takes place IN the freezer. It’s a pretty funny episode–I especially like when Joey thinks Jo is a man and Laurie a woman. ;)

  15. I had never heard this term before – but I like it and think I will begin to use it in my own book review vocabulary :)

    The one book that I put in the freezer – and where it still remains – is Marley and Me. I simply cannot bring myself to read the end of the book for Marley is too much like my own yellow labs.

  16. I didn’t even remember is was that book they put in the freezer, lol! I thought it was The Shining, haha.. is that the one that Rachel was reading b/c Joey wanted her to?

    Anyway, I think I should read The God of Small Things since you were so right about EL&IC!

  17. I read this post about an hour ago, and I’ve been trying to think of my list of freezer books. Don’t know why it’s so hard! The only one I can come up with is The Historian…that is more of The Shining type instead of Little Women type of freezer book…I love that your post included a Friends reference! I think that most days out of every week, at least one thing happens that reminds me of a Friends episode. I don’t know why The Historian was so scary to me…maybe because I’m a giant scaredy cat?? :)

  18. Trish I absolutely adore you! I love that you not only remember that episode but made a post w/ theme about it. Hahahaha. I loved that show.

  19. I love the term “Freezer Books”, hehe. And I’m stumped here for a moment for I couldn’t think of one book off my mind right now.

    Can’t wait to read your Valentine’s Day post! Happy Valentine’s!! :D

  20. Oh, I totally love when a book can make me cry, but I definitely get what you’re saying about the freezer. There’s some books where you see it coming a mile away, and you can’t help wanting to delay the inevitable because the author made you care about the characters soooo much. Two spring immediately to mind – After You’d Gone by Maggie O’Farrell and Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger. Total freezer books.

  21. *Molly – Oh, Marley and Me is a perfect example of a freezer book–I’ve never been able to bring myself to read it!

    *Topher – It’s been so long since I’ve read She’s Come Undone that I don’t really remember the details. Maybe I need to re-read it!

    *Jillian – Oh I know–I remember finishing the book at 2 am and just sobbing in bed.

    *Jenny – It started off with The Shining–Joey put it in the freezer when it scared him, but then he and Rachel put Little Women in when Beth was dying. I hope you like God of Small Things–unfortunately it is one that’s gotten mixed reviews.

    *Laura – I wanted so badly to include a clip from the show but couldn’t find this particular one. Would have been great! ;) I don’t read many scary books but I’d want to put them in the freezer, too!

    *christina – I’m always a little surprised when people say they never watched Friends! Such a great show.

    *Deb Nance – I remember being so upset at the end of GWTW and feeling like I had spent so much time on an unsatisfactory ending. ;)

    *Melody – Actually, I almost put My Sister’s Keeper on the list! That’s one that I had to put down for a bit knowing the ending had to be bad.

    *Megan – I haven’t read After You’d Gone or Last Days of Summer but I’ll be on the look out for both of them! I love books that can evoke such strong emotions!

  22. Ash

    I find it depressing how many people have not seen Friends?!?! I’ve seen every episode over 30 times. You’d be hard pressed to find a bigger fan than me. The Time Traveler’s Wife is definitely a freezer book!

  23. M

    I love the “freezer book” episode of Friends! I always think about that when I’m getting too emotionally attached to a book.

    Unfortunately, I can’t think of any examples off the top of my head now, but maybe I’ll come back here and share one the next time it happens.

  24. Nan

    I loved that episode of Friends. It was so dear. Joey occasionally showed that sweet, childlike side to him. As many times as I’ve read Little Women, I’m always so sure she will be alright after that first spell when you think she’s gonna die and doesn’t.

  25. I just found your blog thanks to Kim’s link to it. What a great find! So thanks to Kim and to you!

    As for freezer books, I agree with The Book Thief and The God of Small Things, but I just finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao and didn’t feel that same attachment. Everyone told me I’d love it, so now I feel even more like I missed the boat. I teach a couple of short stories that definitely could use some time in the freezer. “In the Gloaming” by Alice Elliot Dark and “The Farmer’s Children” by Elizabeth Bishop are two that come readily to mind.

  26. I vaguely remember that episode. Great concept though. I have a freezer book right now, Someone Else’s Garden. It is very sad for me, and I can only read it in spurts. I will finish it though, unlike The Jungle, which would be a permanent deep freeze book for me. I’ll never finish that one.

    GReat list of books to try though. Thanks Trish :)

  27. I just read The Love we Share without Knowing. I would definitely consider that a “freezer book”. So emotional and deep feeling. I know you loved 13 Reasons Why. Would you add that to the list?

  28. *Ash – LOL–you are quite the Friends fan!! I haven’t seen the episodes that many times but did enjoy watching. Still miss it sometimes…

    *M – Yes! If you think of any freezer books, come back and share! I’m always looking for a good emotional pull.

    *Nan – Wasn’t Joey sweet–though it still gets me that he was so freaked out by Jo being a girl and Laurie a guy. Ha!

    *Sara C – Thanks for popping by! Oscar Wao is one of those that I don’t know who I would recommend it to–we read it for book club and I definitely liked it more than any of the others. I’ll have to look into the short stories you mention!

    *Jenny Girl – The Jungle by Upton Sinclair? Is it because of the material? I don’t know much about it other than the gruesome cover. I haven’t heard of Someone Else’s Garden but will look it up!

    *Michelle – I don’t know The Love we Share Without Knowing–need to look for it! Regarding 13 Reasons Why–I wouldn’t consider it a freezer book. I liked 13 Reasons Why but didn’t love it–it was very compelling but it didn’t strike me quite as emotionally as some of the others.

  29. I had completely forgotten about that Friends episode!

    If I had to do it all over again, I’d put The Time Traveler’s Wife in the freezer…and never take it out!

  30. Oscar Wao and The Book Thief are definitely freezer books for me. So is Toni Morrison’s Beloved. It’s not often that a book makes you put it in that category and when I read one, I love it.

  31. Oh yes, definitely becuase of the material. Sorry but I like my meat, so I don’t want to know the details of how it gets to my plate. Plus the cruel way immigrants and workers were treated. Ugh it was super sad.

    As for Someone Else’s Garden when I finish it 6 months from now, I would be more than happy to give it to you. It takes place in India, and is very remininescent (sp?) of Slumdog Millionaire. The characters and their situations are worse than the movie. My heart just goes out to them and it makes so sad :(
    Hence the deep freezer.

  32. Rae

    Of COURSE I remember the freezer episode, but I’m a Friends freak. :)
    I can’t think of any freezer books of my own though….hm, something to think about.

  33. I have read a ton of books that I grow really attached to, and I find myself slowing down with reading it to have it last as long as possible. You named a couple that I would consider ‘Freezer Books’.

  34. I can’t think of any freezer books for me. I did just finish Remains of the Day last week and I see what you mean. How heartbreaking!

  35. I somehow didn’t see this post last week, so I had to come read, since I just saw this episode!

    You picked some excellent freezer books. I would add The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. There were many, many times that I had to set it aside when I first read it.

  36. I so loved that Friends episode. The freezer book that came instantly to mind for me was ROOM by Emma Donoghue. I checked it out of the librarey twice before I actually began reading it and then couldn’t stop. Another book that had a freeze quality to it was Sarah’s Key. I both wanted to scream through it and put it down.

    And BTW, good to virtually meet another Dallasite!

  37. I love this idea, the freezer book, I read some books that you would most definitely put in the freezer. The ship of brides, by Jojo Moyes had a few parts in there I would have like to put in the freezer. What a great post. thanks.