Not all of us want, or can afford, a night filled with lustful advances cleverly disguised as romance. So for those of us who are spending the night alone, why not fill your evening with a book? I stole this idea from the Confessions of a Homebody blog. She listed 10 of her favorite romantic novels. I would like to take this idea a step further. We’re not all in the mood for romance on V-Day (though many of us certainly are). Thus, I present: THE LIST OF BOOKS I MIGHT POSSIBLY WANT TO READ ON VALENTINE’S DAY, DEPENDING ON MY MOOD*:
- If I want to read a book with a too-cutesy ending that makes me throw up in my mouth a little bit:
Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman
This book is magical (literally, and figuratively). I love the way that the novel highlights the importance of family and love. I also really like the feeling that the writing gives me – that little shiver, like I am reading a fairy tale story. The only problem, as I mentioned before, is that the ending is a bit too cutesy.
- If I want to be reminded that there are women infinitely more crazy than I am:
There are many different versions of this myth, but Euripides picked one of the more disturbing ones. He examines what, exactly, would inspire a woman to kill her own children. Not a pretty story; you will never believe a man who tells you you’re acting crazy again.
- If I want to read a snarky novel with an awesome hero:
Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
Of course, Pride and Prejudice is also always a good novel. Yet I have an especial fondness for Northanger Abbey. I love the sarcastic, snarky tone as Austen makes fun of the very popular gothic literature prevalent at the time. And seriously? Henry Tilney might be my favorite of Austen’s leading men. Handsome, charming, and a good guy? Yes, please.
- If I am feeling abused/neglected (whether those feelings are valid or not – I will feel how I want to, dammit!):
Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan (and not merely due to my girth – I was a Dessen fan before my baby boy was born), and this novel is beautiful, as well as sad. It explores a girl’s relationship with her boyfriend, which begins in that sweet, magical way so many of our relationships do, but devolves into one full of abuse. Reading this realistic portrayal makes it hard for me to continue a self-pity party.
- If I want to read a romance where one of the love interests dies:
Looking for Alaska by John Green
So far, my favorite of the novels by John Green that I have read. Looking for Alaska is a smart read with a young male protagonist who is completely smitten. The love is realistic, and the novel does not end with the death. We all occasionally want to gasp with horror when one of our favorite characters dies, but it is nice to also read through the handling of that grief.
- If I want to read a story about obsession:
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Yes, I could read Twilight again, if I want to feel like gouging my eyes out with toothpicks. Or I could read Nabakov, whose writing is fantastic, whose unreliable narrator makes me think, and who is very good at writing very creepy characters & situations. Anyone who thinks Lolita seduced Humbert Humbert is not reading this novel carefully enough. (And even if she did get a little flirty, which is hard to gauge due to the unreliable narrator previously mentioned, she’s TWELVE, and he is over 2 decades older than her. Twilight fans are exempted from understanding this argument, since they approve of a relationship between a teenager and a man over 100. Ew.)
- If I want to read a story filled with atmosphere:
Rebecca duMaurier’s Rebecca.
I can’t find my copy (Oh no!), which is why there is no picture – a trip to the bookstore is obviously in order.
This novel almost seems like a romance. In reality, though, this marriage is exceedingly unhealthy, particularly when you take into account (SPOILER following) that the narrator is married to a murderer. But he loves her – at least, he says he does. Yay?
- If I am in the mood for a YA book, and it’s inevitable love triangle:
The Hunter by L.J. Smith
As a teen, I read every one of L.J. Smith’s books I could get my hands on (and am, subsequently, still awaiting the conclusion of her “Nightworld” series Strange Fate). The “Forbidden Game” trilogy is one of my favorites. The first book starts right in the action, both of the love interests are dreamy, and the book is a short, quick read.
These books are the ones I will probably feel most inclined to read on February 14th. What are yours?
*Think if I write in all caps frequently enough, Kanye West will want to sing on of my blog posts?