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Books

13 Books to Read on Valentine's Day، Before، After

Tuesday 13/February/2018 - 09:47 AM
Sada El Balad

Whatever your relationship status — "it's complicated," partnered, or just pining for that Starbucks barista who gets your name wrong every time but smiles at you so right — I've scoured the romance section of your local bookstore and picked out the best books to read this V-Day. There are epic love stories for the old-school romantics, modern tales of finding romance~ in today's hookup culture, and books about why it's totally fine just to be single too, if your perfect partner (whether that's for life or for the night) isn't around, cosmopolitan reported.

1. Paris a love story
Paris really is the city of love, and Kati Marton's beautiful memoir about finding the romance of a lifetime there — and, spoiler alert, losing it — is a real tearjerker. As it happens, though, the most arresting part of Marton's narrative is her overcoming that loss; this read is as much for the romantic who's yet to find The One as the romantic who has (and also for anyone who dreams about a summer's affair in France).

2. Wuthering Heights
When Wuthering Heights was first published, people said it was a "vulgar" book, with a "lurid" romance at the center of its story between a wide-eyed heroine and her mysterious Heathcliff. That's Victorians for you. Today the book is a classic, best enjoyed by the old-school romantic to really savor the deep and magnetic attraction between Catherine and her gypsy beau — a romance as eternal as the rocks beneath the famous moors of Wuthering Heights.

3. Waiting to Exhale
If you need some good humor this Valentine's Day, definitely don't look past Terry McMillan's classic Waiting to Exhale. The novel follows three close friends searching for real love. Their trials and tribulations make for a juicy read, with the life lessons McMillan imparts including that you have to love yourself (first and foremost) and not go looking for love either — one day it may just come looking for you.

4. Love in the Time of Cholera
A novel rich with passion, Gabriel García Márquez's acclaimed Love in the Time of Cholera is about the myths we create about love, and their power over us. With a rich, enticing story stretching multiple decades at its center, Márquez shows us what keeps the romance going in times of loss. And, you know, cholera.

5. Eleanor & Park: A Novel by Rainbow Rowell
Set in 1986, Eleanor & Park is about what it's like to be young and madly in love. The story flips back and forth between both of the titular teens' point-of-views; the first person perspective leaves you desperately wanting their romance to flourish and beat the odds (there's always some odds) stacked against the cute pair. A moving read — definitely one that for the nostalgic type ready to reminisce over their high school crush.

6. A Jane Austen Education
Jane Austen's reputation precedes her in the literary world, there's no question. But for William Deresiewicz, the cult of Austen and books like Pride & Prejudice and Emma was at best a curiosity; he'd not drunk the Edwardian England romance novel Kool-Aid (which is basically cold tea). But in A Jane Austen Education, he takes us through each of Austen's iconic novels, showing the power and potency of her language, and ability to craft indelible relationships between her characters. This is definitely one for the through-and-through Austen addict, but also for readers who've missed the extent of her appeal, and even those a little cynical about finding true love.

7. The Fault in Our Stars
John Green can really do no wrong. With The Fault in Our Stars he gives us a moving story of romance between two teens battling terminal illnesses. The young lovers experience an angsty beautiful whirlwind romance, reaffirming to readers that the power of love can transcend everything, even death. A real tearjerker — from both laughter and sadness — this is a book that will give you hope that true love does really exist, even if it won't be with someone as perfect as Augustus Waters.

P.S. For a double whammy of feels, watch the movie after reading the book. ALL OF THE FEELS (and Ansel Elgort).

8. Elegant and beautiful prose
Chilean poet Pablo Neruda is behind some of the most evocative and profound romantic poetry ever written. If you're someone who likes to bask in the power of ~wORdS~ to remind you of the wonder and true bliss love can bring, Neruda's elegant and beautiful prose is for you.


9. The Time Traveler's Wife
The Time Traveler's Wife is a life-affirming love story that sees the limits of time and space completely melted away. Niffenegger writes about Henry and his unusual but compelling relationship with wife Clare, whom he first meets when he is 28 and she is 20. As Henry has the ability to travel back in time, though, he then meets Clare again when she is 6. And then he's back in the future, and so on — we thus see their beautiful but slightly unconventional relationship span decades, and as one that weathers all obstacles.

10. Norwegian Wood
When Norwegian Wood was first published in Japan, it sold more than 4 million copies — that's roughly 5 percent of the population buying a copy, and with good reason. A haunting and evocative novel that shows the most unorthodox and fateful routes love can take us on Norwegian Wood is, like most of Murakami's books, framed by themes of death and loneliness. Even without a conventional "happy ending," it still offers as a powerful meditation on coming-of-age in today's often-unforgiving modern world.

11. The Notebook
Thanks to one greatest romance movies of the past decade, The Notebook really needs no introduction. If you're a bird, I'm a bird! Still, the story resonates on paper too — Nicholas Sparks's intimate and addictive story about the romance between Noah and Allie is one that really stands the test of time, offering not just a touching love story but a real experience about the limitlessness of love. You'll always come back to your OTP!

12. English Patient
This Booker Prize-winning novel looks at the interlinked lives (and love lives) of four people at the end of WWII. At the center of this compelling story is that English Patient, a nameless and severely burned man who recounts his nurse with his life story, and about the one woman he loved so dearly but lost all the same. A work of great literature, The English Patient is one of the books that deserves to be read slowly and savoured. So take up a copy in the bathtub, with a tall glass of wine, and you'll never look back.

13. The Bell Jar
And for those less bothered by frothy notions of love and romance, there's Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. Plath's iconic work is best enjoyed with a stiff drink, as it recounts one particular angst-ridden summer and the pains of living in a world shaped by false pretences and unrealistic expectations for young women. Sometimes you need to tell romance, no thanks, not right now.

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