Top 10 Books All About Love
For the month of February, Ultimate Library have put together a book list which is, unsurprisingly, all about the theme of love. But rather than choosing the best romances, which, like most lists, would rely heavily on Jane Austen! Instead our February book list will try to probe and examine the topic in a little more depth from several different angles. These specially chosen books help to elucidate some of the eternal ebbs and flows of the human heart in all its failures, joys and ecstasies.
1. Love in a Cold Climate by Nancy Mitford
Polly Hampton is a young, beautiful debutante with excellent marriage prospects. But when she defies her mother’s matches and chooses to elope with ‘the lecherous lecturer,’ her Uncle Douglas to France, the whole family is turned upside down by the tragic consequences of their unexpected union.
2. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman
Call Me By Your Name is the story of a powerful romance that blossoms in the summer between an adolescent boy and his father’s house guest. Over the course of his stay, the two form an intense, passionate and intimate bond which is broken when Oliver returns back to his life in America. An instant, fascinating and bold classic that examines the life altering affects of a first-love.
3. All About Love by bell hooks
bell hooks explores what love really means in her provocative, personal and feminist examination of the human heart. Through these essays and thoughts she tries to unravel the eternal question of what love really is and provides her audience with a sacred, redemptive and healing response.
4. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
Toru Watanabe looks back on his college days as a student living in Tokyo. As we are transported back into the past in his reflections, he recalls his first love with quiet Naoko, his best friend’s girlfriend, as well as his relationship with the feisty Midori. This is an elegiac and contemplative novel that has Murakami’s characteristically weaving narrative stamp on it.
5. If Not Winter: Fragments of Sappho translated by Anne Carson
Renowned poet and classicist Anne Carson, translates Sappho’s beautiful and ancient lyrics that examine love and desire, goddesses and her relationship with her own daughter, Kleis. Carson allows the fragments of Sappho to shine, using white space to let the light shine into the caverns of the lines. Carson’s notes and commentary throughout bring the poetry alive with desire.
6. Carol by Patricia Highsmith
Set against the backdrop of 1950’s New York, Carol centres on the relationship between a young shop assistant Therese, and a suburban housewife in the throes of a custody battle over her daughter. As they become closer and are drawn into the intimacies of each other’s lives, they both realise just how much they have to lose.
7. Modern Love: True Stories of Love, Loss and Redemption edited by Daniel Jones
Daniel Jones collates the memorable essays from the New York Time’s Modern Love column which has been running since 2004. Some of these tales look at how technology has changed our views of dating, others explore how people recover from broken marriages. This is the perfect book for anyone interested in the endless joys and failures of the human heart.
8. The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
An anonymous Englishman is rescued from a burning plane and stationed in a small Italian village. Scarred by haunting memories of World War Two, his nurse tries to help him to unravel his complicated history. With only a heavily annotated version of The Histories of Herodotus to help her unlock his past, this is a weaving narrative of love and loss.
9. By Grand Central Station I Sat Down and Wept by Elizabeth Smart
Originally published in 1945, this amazing piece of poetic prose details the complicated, moving and ultimately tragic love affair between Elizabeth Smart and poet George Barker. This is a powerful work that still holds all of its poignancy and emotion more than six decades later – a real must-read.
10. Les Liaisons Dangereuses by Choderlos de Laclos
In this classic novel of letters, the rich and bored Vicomte de Valmont and Marquise de Merteuil form an unlikely as they play a cruel and twisted game of seduction, in which their friends and acquaintances become unknowing pawns. This infamous classic sheds light on the power dynamics at play amongst the French aristocracy.