10 Touching Books like Before the Coffee Gets Cold

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by Charlotte Hopkins


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Books like Before the Coffee Gets Cold by Toshikazu Kawaguchi are touching and heart-warming and focus on topics such as grief and regret and usually follow a character’s search for happiness.

Somewhere in a small alley in the city of Tokyo, hidden away is a café serving the best kind of coffee: the kind that can send you back in time. Customers who visit the café are given the opportunity to travel back in time to a moment in their past.

But for everything to go well, there are rules they must follow…

They must sit in a certain seat; they are not allowed to leave the café and they must return to the present moment before their coffee goes cold. A melancholy translated fictional piece about the heart and its desires, this is a wonderful story that every reader will enjoy.

If you have, however, already picked this delight up, you might be looking for something similar to delve into next. In that case, read on for my recommendations.

Before the Coffee Gets Cold: A Novel (Before the Coffee Gets Cold Series, 1)

10 Books like Before the Coffee Gets Cold

Convenience Store Woman, by Sayaka Murata

Convenience Store Woman is an enlightening novel about the pressure to conform and fit in amongst our peers that society enforces on us.

An English-language debut from Sayaka Murata, we follow thirty-six-year-old Keiko who has never felt like she found her place with the people around her, whether that was at school or in her family. But when she started working at Smile Mart when she turned eighteen, there was finally purpose in her life.

There, she is able to understand the social rules and cues enforced upon her by the store’s etiquette. She is finally happy.

But when people begin to insist, she must find a husband and get a proper career comes from every direction, she begins to crumble under the pressure.

Convenience Store Woman

Yellowface, by R.F. Kuang

Athena Liu is a genius, more specifically a literary genius but when she dies in an unexpected accident, she leaves behind an unpublished manuscript.

June Hayward takes the chance to steal this manuscript and publish it as her own work under the pen name of Juniper Son. And when she does, her success story is an overnight one.

But when evidence is revealed that could undo all her work and reveal the crimes she has committed, she isn’t quite sure what to do.

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A wonderful novel about what people do for success that touches upon important topics such as racism and cultural appropriation, Yellowface is a must-read book for lovers of Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

Yellowface: A Reese's Book Club Pick

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop, by Satoshi Yagisawa

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop is a translated novel that has captured readers’ hearts all over the world.

Hidden in a quiet corner of Tokyo, the Morisaki bookshop is home to hundreds of second-hand books.

Takako has never been much of a reader despite the bookshop having been in her family for three generations. It is her Uncle Satoru’s pride and joy.

When her boyfriend admits he is marrying someone else, Takako accepts her uncle’s offer to move in above the shop and hopes her time there will heal her heart.

Over the months both Takako and Satoru learn about the power of words and their healing properties and also how they can both help each other to learn about love and life.

Days at the Morisaki Bookshop: A Novel

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki, by Baek Se-hee

If you like translated fiction but want to veer away from the fictional side of things, then why not try picking up Baek Se-hee’s self-help memoir – I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokpokki?

This South Korean bestseller is an intimate look into the author’s journey with therapy and their mental health.

With verbatim dialogues with her therapist followed by self-reflective essays, this is not a book to miss if you liked Before the Coffee Gets Cold.

I Want to Die but I Want to Eat Tteokbokki: A Memoir

If Cats Disappeared from the World, by Genki Kawamura

Similar to Before the Coffee Gets Cold with his Japanese-inspired magical realism, If Cats Disappeared from the World will have all types of readers on the edge of their metaphorical seats.

Following our narrator who is distant from his family and lives on his own with only Cabbage – his cat – for company, he does not expect the terminal diagnosis that he receives from the doctors.

With only months to live, he begins to prepare for the end.

That is until the Devil turns up on his doorstep with an offer: for an extra day to live, he must make something in the world disappear.

The narrator then goes on an enlightening journey where he questions what makes life worth living in our modern age and how one determines that.

If Cats Disappeared from the World: A Novel

Cleopatra and Frankenstein, by Coco Mellors

Before the Coffee Gets Cold tells the story of how a singular moment in time can change everything, such as a meeting of two people.

This is an important topic in Mellors’ Cleopatra and Frankenstein which follows a young British girl named Cleo.

Cleo resides in New York looking to make a name for herself as a proper artist. Just when her visa is running out, she meets Frank who offers her a chance to stay in the city and start a career in the arts.

Frank is twenty years older but it doesn’t stop Cleo from marrying him and applying for a green card.

The book follows the pair through the highs and lows of marriage over the years and how one choice can irrevocably change one’s life.

Cleopatra and Frankenstein

The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig

What if limbo wasn’t a darkness or constant light with no one and nothing but yourself and other lost souls? What if the place between life and death was a library?

In this library, there are thousands upon thousands of books on shelves, and each offers the chance to dip your toes into a life you could have lived if you’d made different choices.

Nora Seed finds herself in the library and travelling through each of her possible timelines and the lives she missed out on, she learns about what makes life truly worth living and how to create a fulfilling life.

The Midnight Library is about the choices we make and what life really means to us, it is the perfect book to pick up next.

Have you already read this novel? Check out our list of books similar to The Midnight Library!

The Midnight Library: A GMA Book Club Pick (A Novel)

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue, by V. E. Schwab

The Invisible Life of Addie Larue is a wonderful and engrossing book that shows readers how one choice can impact your lives forever. This is all the more poignant for our protagonist Addie Larue who makes a Faustian pact to live forever in 1714 France.

Over the centuries, Addie meets all sorts of characters however over time, she realises she is cursed to be forgotten by those who meet her and to leave no trace behind on history or the people she loves.

Now living in the twenty-first century, Addie meets a man who miraculously remembers her name and suddenly, Addie has hope that she will finally be imprinted on our world after all.

Have you already read this novel? Check out our list of books to read after The Invisible Life of Addie Larue!

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

The Starless Sea, by Erin Morgenstern

In The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern, we meet Zachary Rawlins, a student at Vermouth University whose life seems incredibly ordinary until one day, when he picks out a book amongst the shelves of the library.

Flipping through the pages, first he thinks the stories are entertaining but when he realises one of the stories written on the pages is one taken straight from his own childhood, he understands there is something larger at play.

Delving into the book’s mystery and uncovering various clues, Zachary is led to an ancient library deep below the Earth’s surface where he meets all sorts of people. Some who want to protect the library and those who seek to destroy it.

Zachary must make his choice about who he will stand with. A beautiful and mysterious book, this will have readers speeding through the pages.

Have you already read this novel? Check out our list of books similar to The Starless Sea!

The Starless Sea: A Novel

Tales from the Café, by Toshikazu Kawaguchi

For those readers looking for more stories set within Kawaguchi’s compelling and unique universe, then why not pick up Tales from the Café, the second book in the series?

 This book tells four more stories of Cafe Funiculi Funicula’s patrons who take up the offer to travel back in time. Telling these stories, both reader and characters are forced to face the question: what would you do if you had the chance to go back in time?

The perfect book for readers not quite ready to leave Café Funiculi Funicula just yet.

Tales from the Cafe: A Novel (Before the Coffee Gets Cold Series, 2)

Books like these tell poignant and relatable stories about facing our own pasts (as well as our futures) and about the stories we tell via the actions we make. Hopefully, you found your next five-star read amongst these titles.

Are you looking for more books similar to Before the Coffee Gets Cold? Have any recommendations that didn’t make the list? Let us know in the comments!

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Charlotte is a writer for Books Like This One. She studied drama and writing for performance and enjoys reading romance, literary fiction and young adult novels. Some of her favourite authors include Donna Tartt and Leigh Bardugo. Read more from Charlotte

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