Holy cow it’s Valentine’s Day! Put aside the snow shovel. Say no to the champagne and roses. X-nay on the chocolate-ay. Lets talk “Love”…STORIES.
Just in time for this years fondness feast Book Depository.com has come up with its comprehensive list of “The Best Love Stories of All Time (As Voted For By Our Customers)” [Book Depository.com]. It is similar to one that Fly High by LearnOnLine put out in 2o12.
As I cradle my hot cup of tea on this cold and snow bound winter morning and contemplate this blog post, I realize that I could produce a score of comparable list, but I wont. I’ll just relish in the fact that my girl Jane is so well represented here and make a note of the books I need to put on my Kindle. Here’s my combined chart of the Book Depository and LearnOnLine lists — there was a lot of duplication. (you’re going to have to click on it to read it, sorry).
It seems to me there are an awful lot of dysfunctional relationships and dead people are on here. You can thank the Sisters Bronte for that, but they aren’t the only ones. Do we really need death or dysfunction for something to be romantic? I think not.
Do we need friction to make good fiction? Yes! And there’s plenty of that in P&P, North and South, The Princess Bride. But, does it have to tip the scale to melodrama and angst that Jane Eyre and Great Expectations does. Must it, further, jump over the (heath)cliff into despair as in Wuthering Heights?
I try to like the Brontes, but whenever I read them (or watch a movie based on one of their works) I find myself wishing for Austen. I LOVE Austen. I never wish I was some where else when I’m with her. Strangely, I really like Elizabeth Gaskell, the author of North and South, Cranford, Ruth, and Wives and Daughters (and lots more). Gaskell was friends with Charlotte Bronte and her biggest advocate. [You can read her biography of Charlotte HERE.] But I find her (Gaskell’s) prose much easier to read.
And I’m not saying a romantic story can’t be sad or end in the death of 1/2 the couple. I think John Green did a lovely job with Hazel Grace and Gus’ love story. And I was glad to see The Fault in Our Stars made the reader’s list. It just doesn’t have to be overwrought. Neither of those teens would put up with it.
Anyway I’m wondering what would make YOUR top five romantic novels. (Feel free to cheat and lump all of an author’s love stories into one pick — like ALL of Shakespeare’s love stories.)
In the mean time I’ll just leave you with this and hope that you’ll consider being my literary valentine…
February 14th, 2014 at 10:02 pm
Oh goodness, I love Jane Austen too. Very few writers can write romance as well as her. As much as I love Romeo and Juliet, I really like it for reasons outside of the love story…which is odd. But I do love Shakespeare’s As You Like It and Much Ado About Nothing for romance.
February 14th, 2014 at 11:22 pm
Just watched the Joss Whedon adaptation of Much Ado. Very nice. I love the Emma Thompson Kenneth Branagh version too. And one of our local Shakespeare troupes are doing that this year. Can’t wait.
February 15th, 2014 at 11:40 am
Great post, it’s good to look back on the very popular romance and actually break down their plots to see what makes them so good. I am a big fan of Wuthering Heights, even though I am usually a sucker for happy endings 😀
February 15th, 2014 at 2:05 pm
Thanks for posting V and Harliqueen. @ Harilqueen — I have some dear friends who would whole heartedlly agree with you. So I willing to assume I’m missing something, but as for me… I’ll take my self made man in the John Thorton (Wives and Daughters) or Cpt. Wentworth (Persuasion — “You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope…I have loved none but you.” ) variety. 🙂
February 19th, 2014 at 1:22 am
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