I would be remiss if I started February without a listing of my top picks for Valentines month reading. Whether you’re dressing in pink angora and hoping there’s a ring in a tiny box hidden in his sock drawer*, or you’re telling everyone who will listen that Valentines day is just a “made up holiday to fill a drop in chocolate sales between Christmas and Easter”**, I bet you’ll find a book on this list that you’ll enjoy.
Best Pet-Love Love story: Marley & Me (John Grogan)
My cat is a jerk.
She bites people, and she tries to wake me up at 7am on Saturdays (she feels strongly that the weekends are no excuse to deviate from mealtime scheduling). If I close the bedroom door to sleep, she bashes it open with her chubby little body. She very well may be the worlds worst cat. But I love her like crazy. She’s my best friend. Anyone else out there with an animal best friend will love this classic pet-love story. John Grogan chronicles his 13 years with Marley the golden retriever, whom he describes as the “worlds worst dog”
Best “I-Hate-You-Wait-No-I-Actually-Love-You” Love story: Pride and Prejudice.
A Jane Austin classic, this witty love story about the hate-turning-to-love banter between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy was the first “thin line between love and
image: hate”. Elizabeth Bennet is the only Bennet sister not looking for a husband, so when a couple of eligible gentlemen move into town, she takes little notice. But soon she finds herself sparring with the very disagreeable yet very handsome Mr. Darcy. Disagreeing turns to banter and eventually love. A lovely tale from when romance was civilized and proper. The perfect antidote to the current dating protocol of “wat u doin 2nite?” text messages and whistling in lieu of proper compliments.
Best love story whose movie adaptation starred Rachel McAdams: The Time-Traveler’s Wife (Audrey Neffegger)
This was actually the toughest category. In the end I had to go with the best BOOK, which was not necessarily the best movie. The Time-traveler’s Wife is a wonderfully complicated love story. Henry DeTamble is a genetic anomaly who uncontrollably travels through time, punctuating not only his life but the one of his wife, Claire. The book uses alternative first person narratives and a non-linear story time line but somehow keeps this book an easy pleasure-read. Highly recommended.
Runner-up: The Notebook (the movie.) Watch. Cry. Love Ryan Gosling more and more every scene.
Best love story for a good cry: P.S. I Love You (Cecilia Ahern)
Not just a sniffle, or a little weep. A whole body sob, after which you will have a headache from dehydration. If you happen to be in a relationship, you won’t let the person out of your sight for days after reading this book. Newlyweds Holly and Gerry are your classic “meant to be” couple. Young, energetic, best friends, soul mates and so very in love. Before the book starts, Gerry passes away from a quick-growing brain tumour (ready your tissues…). Holly is devastated, obviously, and soon she discovers that her late husband has left her letters, gifts and advice to get her through her fist year without him (and now we’re all crying).This is a book about love, grieving and moving on.
Note: While I distinctly remember loving this book, so I am confident in recommending it, I actually have not been able to get beyond page one since I started seriously dating J. Its just too intense if you tend to be an overly involved reader. I’m going to try again, so if you see a girl on the bus, sobbing, come on over and say hi!
Best “Love Stinks” anti-love story: Lolita (Vladimir Nabokov)
Not feeling the love? Looking for a tale of passion gone awry? Of sadness and despair where there once was the thrill of romance? I’ve got you covered. Nothing less romantic than the predatory tale of Humbert Humbert’s passion for the young (like,12 years young) Dolores Haze. It is a creepy, eerily plausible “love” that ends up ruining both of their lives. Love Stinks! ***
* There isn’t. If he was going to propose he would have done it at Christmas. Statistically speaking, you’re more likely to get divorced than engaged in February.
**All holidays are made up, silly. Just eat some heart-shaped chocolates and it’ll all be over soon.
***Unless you have a husband as great as mine xo