I am not a fan of Valentines day. At all. BUT I love love, and reading books about love…so I’m not about to miss the chance to scribble pink and red hearts all over everything and throw down my favourite reads. They’re all old, but that’s not the point. I heart them greatly.
In fact, one the greatest things about not giving myself a Goodreads book challenge target this year, has been the headspace to re-read favourite books if I want to. I never had any problem with it as a teenager, but that’s probably because I hadn’t set reading lists of 30, 40, 50 new books in a year.
And it turns out, because I’m have ‘upholder’ tendencies, that would greatly explain why I can’t make a list and then ignore it, no matter how arbitrary. Oh, I just said I’d read more new books this year than last? Better get on it… or not, this year, because no such list (for me) exists. And that’s a relief. Because I’m about to re-read these favourites…
1. Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell
Maybe I love this one because it has good memories of being dragged to Barnes and Noble by my friend Maggie (who is a children’s librarian and has great taste in books) and essentially had my love of YA legitimised by this wonderful person. Or maybe it’s because this book is excellent, and Rainbow Rowell is the shizz. A bit of both, perhaps? Or maybe because we’re all sort of Cath and we all grew up writing fanfiction (oh sure you didn’t), and following twins Cath and Wren through their College coming-of-age is being fulfilled a little…somehow.
2. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
Do I even have to explain this? I’ve been in love with Mr Darcy and his haughtiness since I was eleven. The dancing, the wit, the empire waist necklines! The bitchy Bingley sisters, the manners, the longing looks over pianos! In the words of Meg Ryan’s character in You’ve Got Mail, “read it, I guarantee you’ll love it.”
3. Will Grayson, Will Grayson – John Green & David Levithan
I get that this isn’t most people’s favourite John Green love story, but the idea that two very different Will Graysons exist, and will meet, is so much fun to watch unfold. Didn’t everyone know a Tiny when they were in school? Or were you not that lucky? A high school YA love story, it was a great introduction to LGBT YA…and frankly, I need more of it in my life (feel free to suggest any of your favourites in the comments…)
4. On Green Dolphin Street – Sebastian Faulks
Shot through with my favourite jazz songs, a certain smokiness and the tug between diplomat and journalist, this Faulks novel (narrowly) won out over the Girl at the Lion D’or for a spot on this list. It’s set after the second war (as most of his books are – or during or between two…). Mary van der Linden, her diplomat husband and journalist Frank Renzo meet against the backdrop of the 1960 election, lingering McCarthyism, the cold war and burgeoning race relations in the US. Nostalgic and a bit heartbreaking.
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffeneger
When I first read this book, I couldn’t have loved Claire and Henry any harder. Everything that I had ever felt about longing and love in our (then transatlantic) relationship had been condensed into this perfect, terrifying, gorgeous story about what happens when someone you love can be thrown through time – and away from you – without warning. Planes aren’t time machines, but god, did I get it. My copy is dog-eared and thoroughly well-loved, though not as dog-eared as the several I’ve already given away through the years. Also, I have never wanted to live in Chicago more than when I read this book.
“Do you ever miss him?
Every day. Every minute.
Every minute, she says.
Yes, it’s that way, isn’t it?”
Isn’t it. Let me know your favourite reads about l-o-v-e in a comment below (or on instagram!).