Feb 1, 2013
Reading With the Seasons: Be My Valentine
February is here! It's not as exciting as April or May, but hey, I'll take it.
And with February comes the unavoidable Valentine's Day. What books make you think of love and passion, loyalty and undying devotion? The more I've thought about how to "read with the season" for this month, the more I've realized that you can twist and turn just about any book and have love come up as a theme somewhere. Let's test it:
Think of a classic, any classic. For the sake of this exercise, let's choose A Tale of Two Cities. There's the lovely courtship and marriage between Lucie Manette and Charles Darnay, and there's also the enduring love of Lucie to her father. But then, of course, there's the crowning moment where Sydney Carton offers his own life on behalf of someone else. Who'd have thought the French Revolution and Valentine's Day could go together?
Too easy? Okay, how about a children's story? Say, The Cricket in Times Square? You might recall the boys and I read this recently and loved it. The friendship between Chester, Tucker, and Harry is sweet, and Chester even suffers unhappiness and discontentment so that he can help Mario and his family. All in the name of love.
I could keep going--Wonder (learning to love someone in spite of their differences), Matilda (embracing a talent that you love), Little House on the Prairie (feeling safe in the wilderness because you're with the ones you love), Stress-Free Potty Training (enduring to the end to teach an important life skill to someone you love--okay, maybe that's carrying it a bit too far)--but I think you get the point.
I haven't mapped out all the books I'm reading this month (where's the fun in that? I want to read what I feel like when I feel like it), but I do have one from the library right now that I specifically chose because it seemed more or less like a good choice for Valentine's Day: The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer (a regency romance novel about a young woman who interferes in the love lives of her cousins without realizing she's falling in love herself--at least, that's what it sounds like; I'm only a few pages in). I've been wanting to read something by Georgette Heyer for a long time now, so February seemed like the perfect month to do it. I love the saucy dialogues, the early 19th century time period, and the proper British etiquette that make up a regency romance. This should be a treat.
I have several other books I'm wanting to read this month, but I may have to do a little of the above creative manipulation to classify them as great Valentine's Day reads: Peace Like a River (family loyalty and love?), Learning All the Time (instilling a love of learning into my children?), Splendors and Glooms (because I love the Newbery?).
I've also thought about how great it would be to read some kind of relationship book this month. No matter what kind of relationship you want to strengthen (marriage, family, friends, etc.), there's a book for it. Even when I don't agree with all of the suggestions or research, these types of books always help me come away with ideas for how to improve the friendships I have with the people I love best.
Okay, so I wasn't really intending for this post to get so ridiculous, but the more I thought about books about love, the more I realized you'd be hard pressed not to find a book about love. It's human nature. It's in our blood to want to love and help and care for others, and so it's difficult to write a story and not have that innate desire come through. And who would want to read such a book anyway?
Now it's your turn: share your favorite love story (Jane Eyre! Edenbrooke! These is My Words!...sorry, I can't stop talking!), or tell me how whatever you're reading might be classified as a love story. Get creative! (And don't be shy!)
P.S. Photography credit once again goes to my awesome brother, Gordy. He's the best.