I am going to use this blog as an opportunity to play devil's advocate to Jacqie. This is not to say that I don't support romance novels. Granted, I've never been a big fan of the genre. Like Jacqie mentions in her last post, I'm one of those creative writing majors who are taught to believe that crying/shock/nudity is the only worthwhile way of ending a story. Romance novels are good because they serve to remind the reader that there are some beautiful stories out there, untainted by the horrors and sorrows that are so rampant in our literature section.
Some people love these romance novels, but some of us out here were disappointed to find out that Valentine's Day has come around yet again.
I'm not bitter, really, believe me!! (Am I convincing enough?) I've always been cynical about Valentines Day, even the one year where a boyfriend and the holiday happened to coincide. Every year around this time, expectations are set high, people desperately scramble to find a bouquet or tacky card, and my mom gives me a candy bar. This doesn't sound like love to me (except the part where my mom gives me chocolate.) Not that I am anything close to an expert on the subject of love, but I'd like to imagine it doesn't need a holiday to be beautiful. The little I do know about it tells me that it is nothing like the Valentines Day special episode of Saved by the Bell.
So I'll stop ranting now, and leave you with this. These are my two favorite Not-So-Love Books. They are two of the most beautiful books I've ever read, love story or no, but they deal with love in a way that doesn't make me feel like there's something wrong with me because I haven't yet been saved by a hunk in a kilt while traveling back in time.
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera
"A young woman in love with a man torn between his love for her and incorrigible womanizing; one of his mistresses and her humbly faithful lover-- these are the two couples whose story is told in this masterful novel. In a world in which lives are shaped by irrevocable choices and by fortuitous events, a world in which everything occurs but once, existence seems to lose its substance, its weight. Hence, we feel 'the unbearable lightness of being' not only as the consequence of our pristine actions but also in the public sphere, and the two inevitably intertwine."
Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
"Toru, a quiet and preternaturally serious young college student in Tokyo, is devoted to Naoko, a beautiful and introspective young woman, but their mutual obsession is marked by the tragic death of their best friend years before. Toru begins to adapt to campus life and the loneliness and isolation he faces there, but Naoko finds the pressures and responsibilities of life unbearable. As she retreats further into her own world, Toru finds himself reaching out to others and drawn to a fiercely independent and sexually liberated young woman. A magnificent blending of the mkusic, the mood, and the ethos that was the 60's with the story of one college student's romantic coming of age, Norwegian Wood brilliantly recaptures a young man's first, hopeless, and heroic love."
Both of these books can find right in the middle of my pick shelf at Old Firehouse Books!