5 Books to Love This Valentine's Day
Love is a many-splendored thing, but it's a many bookish thing too. There are a million manifestations of love and as many books to chronicle them. So whether you're team Single's Awareness Day, dream of a storybook romance, or been married for decades, there's a book for you.
For the Cat Lady (or Gentleman)
Anyone who's ever had a cat---the right kind of cat, not one that runs under the bed if you look at it the wrong way---knows there's a special bond between humans and their feline companions. If you want a book that's going to rip your heart out and make you squeeze-cuddle your purrrrfect darling, Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World will do it for you.
For Team Single's Awareness Day
In many books, even those that aren't your typical romances, there's some kind of romantic chase. It seems that some sort of love/affection/relationship/friends with benefits game is played in any given book. But not this one. Irina is one of those rare characters for whom her story doesn't hinge on a romantic relationship. She's got more important things to do---self-discoveries to be made, novels to be read, political statements in Russia to be made, and loving yourself to be done.
For the love of going home again
There's a certain kind of love you can only feel for home, especially after you've moved away. I've learned this recently myself having left Birmingham, AL for Columbus, OH. The old saying, "You can't go home again" rings true in a sense---home is never the same place you left it. For the Turners of The Turner House, their sense of home struggles under the weight of familial ghosts and a city in crisis. It's a complex, difficult love, but a love nonetheless.
For the love of siblings
Sibling relationships are nothing if not complicated, and June and Greta are no exception. They wage war over their many differences and misunderstandings, but ultimately realize that neither is who the other thought she was. They eventually come to see that there's no one they'd rather grow up with than each other. I found this novel beautiful and moving, and I'm an only child, so I can only imagine how I'd have felt if I had a sibling myself, especially a sister.
For the person in love with being in love (or the hopeless romantic who wants to be)
A Lover's Discourse follows the trails of love in its many and varied forms. Composed of fragments, Barthes compiled an alphabetical list of the ways love manifests itself and describes each with a poetry all his own. It's one of those rare books that defies summarization, but if you're looking for a deep, intimate exploration of love and its emotions, this is the book for you. I suggest reading it with your partner, taking turns to read it aloud.