Reading List: Valentine’s Day

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This Valentine’s Day, pick up a book with a little romance! The 10 books listed below are either about relationships or feature them in a memorable way.

 

Persuasion by Jane Austen

What happens when two people with a history meet once again, years later? Jane Austen’s characters come to life in this brief tale of romance and personal growth.

 

Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand by Helen Simpson

Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired) leads a quiet life in the village of St. Mary, England, until his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their respective spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But will their relationship survive in a society that considers Ali a foreigner?

 

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds: smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.

 

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The Hunger Games is not just about children and teenagers fighting for their lives. It’s also about learning how to love someone, even if you’ve been stuck in survival mode for a long time.

 

Where The River Ends by Charles Martin

He was a fishing guide and struggling artist from a south George trailer park. She was the beautiful only child of South Carolina’s most powerful senator. Yet once Doss Michaels and Abigail Grace Coleman met by accident, they each felt they’d found their true soul mate.

 

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Edenbrooke: A Proper Romance by Julianne Donaldson

When Marianne receives an invitation to spend the summer with her twin sister in Edenbrooke, she has no idea of the romance and adventure that await her once she meets the dashing Sir Philip.

 

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

New London, Texas. 1937. Naomi Vargas and Wash Fuller know about the lines in East Texas as well as anyone. They know the signs that mark them. They know the people who enforce them. But sometimes the attraction between two people is so powerful it breaks through even the most entrenched color lines. And the consequences can be explosive.

 

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

This one’s a wild and tempestuous romance, but the classic Wuthering Heights has fascinated readers for years. At its center are Catherine and Heathcliff, and the self-contained world of Wuthering Heights, Thrushcross Grange, and the wild Yorkshire moors that the characters inhabit.

 

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

The book in the famous series in which Harry, Hermione, and Ron are suddenly teenagers who are trying to figure out dating- as well as where Voldemort’s Horcruxes are.

 

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Henry

The love story of C.S. Lewis and his wife, Helen Joy Davidman Gresham, was improbable and seemingly impossible. Their Eros-story led to some of Lewis’s greatest works, yet Joy is most commonly known for how she died. Becoming Mrs. Lewis allows us to see how this brilliant and passionate woman lived.

Matthew’s Valentine Movie: “The Princess Bride”

There are few films that can easily appeal to such a wide general audience in its portrayal of a fantasy, romance and comedy. One that does it flawlessly is The Princess Bride. This film would go on to be so applauded by critics and its fans (gaining a cult following) that in 2016 it was inducted into the National Film Registry for being “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant.” The film was adapted from a novel by William Goldman that shares the same name.

The story begins with a young boy sick and in bed while his grandfather offers to read him a book in hopes that it will make him feel better.  The boy is played by a young Fred Savage, who would go on to gain notoriety in The Wonder Years. His grandfather is played by Peter Falk, who in turn was famous for his ongoing role in the series Colombo.  The young boy is apprehensive and initially dissatisfied that his grandfather has chosen to read him a love story but the book soon captivates him.

The plot of the book first revolves around a young farm girl named Buttercup played by Robin Wright. Buttercup and a local farm hand Westley (Cary Elwes) live a simple and normal life and slowly come to realize they are in love with one another. Westley seeks to marry her but first ventures out to sea, hoping to return with a fortune, and is never heard from again (as he has been presumably killed by pirates).

Years pass and Buttercup has agreed to marry Prince Humperdinck (Chris Sarandon). Humperdinck seems to be a noble and chivalrous Prince but later proves to be much more sinister. On the road, Buttercup is kidnapped by three brigands who hope to ransom her back to the kingdom. They are led by Vizzini (Wallace Shawn), a cold and calculating Sicilian mastermind. His two cohorts are Inigo Montoya, a Spanish Swordsmen played by Mandy Patinkin, and Frezzik the Giant, played by the most famous pro wrestler of the time: Andre the Giant.

The three brigands soon find themselves hunted by a masked man dressed in all black. He proves their equal in strength, skill, and cunning. After this mysterious stranger bests the three, he then proceeds to abduct Buttercup. While traveling together it is revealed that this masked marauder is actually Westley whom Buttercup had long feared dead. Upon this realization the two are at once overjoyed that their love for one another has maintained through the years apart.

Unfortunately, Prince Humperdinck and his men catch up and Buttercup pleads for Westley’s life. Humperdinck agrees only if she will marry him, but secretly he has his second-in-command take Westley to be killed. Westley is then subjected to unspeakable torture and is left for dead. All seems lost until Inigo and Frezzik, now repentant in their ways, find Westley’s body and successfully bring him back from near death with the help of local healer Miracle Max (Billy Crystal). The three then set off to free Buttercup from the evil Prince Humperdinck. The film features a classic ending with our two protagonists, together at last, riding off into the sunset.  As the story is finished, the young boy begs his grandfather to tell him the story again on the next day and the grandfather happily agrees.

This is a timeless film that audiences of all ages can appreciate and enjoy. Its simple and well-known themes of adventure, fantasy, and true love are a hallmark of any fairy tale, and The Princesses Bride stands at the top of the list in my book.

This film is available at Union University Library and is rated PG. I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!

 

 

*written by Matthew Beyer

Our Book Picks For Valentine’s Day!


 *Post written by Ruth Duncan