Love Stories: Happy Valentine’s Day!

Hi everyone! So I am a bit of a hopeless romantic. I live for things like beautiful romantic gestures and cute couples and sweet love poetry. And since today is Valentine’s Day, it seems like as appropriate a time as any to post some of my favorite romances and love stories. So, let’s get to it, shall we?

1. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

The Fault in Our Stars is about many things, but it is primarily about the friendship and romance between Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace Lancaster. I love Hazel and Augustus as individual characters, but I love them just as much as a couple. They’re both intelligent and flawed, and their relationship is full of nerdiness and banter and the kind of conversations that you just love to read about, about everything from An Imperial Affliction to scrambled eggs. They care deeply for each other, and I loved reading about the “third space” they entered when they talked on the phone, or how Hazel can hear his smile when he talks. They’re one of my favorite fictional couples ever. But please don’t even think of mentioning that last page because NO. >grabs tissues< (Review here.)

2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

So to balance out the tears and heartache and asdfghjkl served up by TFiOS, I offer you Pride and Prejudice, which has to be one of the best love stories in literature. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy are without a doubt one of my favorite pairings of all time. He’s prideful and awkward, she’s playful and reluctant to let go of first impressions. But they’re both so quickwitted and clever, and they complement each other in the best way possible. They argue and they engage in battles of wits and, despite their differences in society and class, there’s respect between them. I could listen to them banter for ages. And the walk they take in Chapter 58 made me want to bounce up and down with happiness.

3. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

This book fills me with so many feelings that I’m still not sure I can be coherent about it, despite finishing it months ago. Two Boys Kissing isn’t exactly a love story about one couple–it’s about multiple couples, or former couples, or people who are simply single. It’s about Tariq, and Harry, and Craig, and Cooper, and Avery, and a host of other characters. Some of them are in love, some of them are in like, some used to be in love but aren’t anymore. But each of the boys is completely his own, and they’re each written in a way that makes me want to read this book again and again. Also, the writing. I will never be able to stop gushing about this writing. David Levithan writes such beautiful sentences that I want to dive into this book and never come out. It’s so good. (Review here.)

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

I didn’t read Anna and the French Kiss for the longest time, but I am so glad I picked it up. Despite the excitement of it all, Anna Oliphant is a little bit terrified to be going to boarding school in Paris. But then she starts to make friends, one of which happens to be Étienne St. Clair, a short history nerd with absolutely amazing hair. It’s so much fun to watch Anna and Étienne’s relationship develop over time, through misunderstandings and jokes and the best series of holiday emails I have ever read. I love so many things about this book and their relationship that it would take me forever to list them all. Anna! Movies! Cuteness! Paris! It’s such a wonderful read, not to mention the fact that Stephanie Perkins writes some of the best characters ever. I may need to write a full review because I have so many feelings about it. I wanted to live in Paris with Anna forever.

5. My True Love Gave to Me ed. Stephanie Perkins

I remember reading about this book ages ago and immediately freaking out because it sounds like what dreams are made of. A holiday story anthology? Edited by Stephanie Perkins? With an absolutely perfect illustrated cover? It sounded wonderful. It was wonderful. (I literally finished it this morning, so I’m a little late, but oh well.) There are stories from a host of talented authors–Holly Black, David Levithan, Kelly Link. While not all of the stories were my cup of tea, there were quite a few that I adored. Stephanie Perkins’s has all the cuteness and romance that she does so well, Matt de la Peña’s made me decide that he is definitely becoming one of my favorite authors, and Laini Taylor’s was so magical and fantastic I never wanted it to end. I could go on. Each of these stories is so unique and original, and I may very well reread it when the holidays roll around again. Besides, that cover!

6. Love poetry

As much as I enjoy love stories, I adore love poetry just as much, if not more. Poetry can capture emotions like that so well–heartache, happiness, longing. There are so many love poems that I reread again and again, but some of my favorites are “A Red, Red Rose” by Robert Burns, “Zodiac” by Elizabeth Alexander, and “A Glimpse” by Walt Whitman. And many, many more, but by the time I was done writing about them it wouldn’t even be Valentine’s Day. (And I know Poetry Speaks Who I Am isn’t strictly love poetry, but it does have quite a few in it.)

Love stories are some of my favorite stories, and I’m not really sure why. Part of it might just be the magic of watching two people fall head over heels for each other, as they meet that one person and everything starts to click. It’s so much fun to read about characters who are wholeheartedly in love and want each other to be happy.

Loving is good. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Bookish Quote of the Day: “The right person at the right time can open all the windows and unlock all the doors.” —Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

P.S. There are many more great quotes from Two Boys Kissing here.

Why I Love Reading

Hi everybody! So this week I traveled back to ye olde elementary school to talk to a group of 6th grade students about blogging (and, of course, books). They’ve just read Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick, and their teacher, the exciting Mrs. P., plans on them having blogs of their own. (Which sounds pretty neat, ’cause BLOGGING.)

Anyway, one of thBook Hearte things their teacher wanted me to talk about is why I love books. To me it’s sort of a fact of life that reading is amazing, and that kids should be encouraged to do it. So it feels a little odd to articulate why I love it, when I’ve loved it for just about as long as I can remember. Still, when I was thinking about this for my presentation, I was like “Why not write a blog post about it?”

I must warn you, though, that this is probably going to be rather rambly and most likely not incredibly organized, due to the fact that it’s Friday and I’m not insanely focused right now.

Sigh. I try. . .sometimes.

AHEM. To continue!

Reading is. . .difficult to explain. It’s not exactly like watching a movie, or going to a concert, or hanging out with friends at a frozen yogurt joint. Reading is like this place inside my mind that can feel quiet and exciting, achy and elating, and captivating in a very black-holey sort of way.

Reading is very complicated, at least, the feelings it can give you are complicated.Keep Calm-Read

One of the best feelings I can ever get from a book is getting to be completely captured by one, when my mind is empty of everything except for what’s in front of me, on the page. It’s like a thick, hazy cloud of happy-book-ness. It’s like being asleep, almost, in that it’s kind of warm and fuzzy and I need to rub my eyes once I surface again. It’s completely losing yourself in an ocean of words.

Only imagine the ocean is made out of puppies and laughter and Florida sunsets and the way your grandmother’s lotion smells.

 

That’s kind of what reading is like for me. That’s what reading can be.

And that’s just really, really awesome.

>shakes head out happy-book-ness fog<

Not to mention the fact that you are never going to run out of books. There is always more to discover. There is always something new to be tried. I might have run out of Humphrey Bogart movies. >sobs< I might have run out of Halloween candy. >sobs again< But books? Books are never going to fail me.

There’s always something else to love.

(And always more fictional characters to fall in love with, but that’s beside the point.)

Plus, writing is an art—and sometimes you’ll come across a book that’s like looking at a really amazing painting or listening to a fantastic song. There are book forms of Beethoven. Books where, even though the plot and characters may seem more at the forefront of your mind, the writing itself  is utterly beautiful and strong. (FYI, if you’ve ever heard of Two Boys Kissing by David Leviathan. . .that’s what it’s like. The writing literally made me want to cry sometimes, it was so heart-achingly wonderful.) There is nothing like getting sucked into a masterpiece, people.

Dr. Who Quote--BooksAnd to return to the subject of how many books there are, they’re all so varied. (Young Adult and children’s books in particular, I think, but that’s just me.) As I’ve mentioned before, there’s the hugely important issue of a lack of diversity (I’m hoping to get a post out soon), but if we’re talking plot, genre, setting, etc., let’s just say. . .wow. If you were to make a patchwork quilt of all the books in the world, you would get something pretty crazy.

Like, out of this world crazy.

There are books like Eleanor & Park. There are books like A Birthday for Francis. There are books like Monster. I could go on forever.

And reading is one of the best ways to connect with anyone, ever. And I don’t just mean when you see someone reading a book you like and something like this happens. (Although that is pretty amazing.) I mean when you’re reading a book, and something happens–a character feels something only you thought you felt. You realize what it was like to be a Jew during the Holocaust. You get to see the life of a slave.

There’s so much you can learNelson Mandela--Educationn, gather and feel. It’s a way to realize what people went through, and to empathize with humankind. (Here’s a great post on something similar to this.) Honestly, reading seems like one of the most human things a person can do.

And while that’s definitely not all there is to reading, I think it’s a good start.

I hope you all have a great day!

. . .12 days to Christmas. . .12 days to Christmas. . .

 

Literary Quote of the Day: “When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.” –Desiderius Erasmus

(Many more quotes about reading here.)

P.S. The kids I were talking to were fabulous. Do you know how many hands went up when I asked them who loved to read? A LOT. If you guys are reading this, you were great. Like, “made my day” great. Good luck with the blogs!

P.P.S. Rest in peace, Nelson Mandela. There’s a really great short documentary about him here.

And Now I Gush About: Fandoms!

Okay, okay, stay with me. I know it’s been a while. . .

First of all, I have two apologies. Whoot!

One: I’m sKeep Calm-Fandomorry I haven’t posted in ages. . .again. . .>meekly offers you cupcakes and Emily Dickinson poetry<

And two: I’m sorry this isn’t a book review. It is book-related (as a lot of books are the basis for fandoms), but it isn’t a review, and I realize I haven’t done one of those for a while. Unfortunately, though, I watched the finale of the second season of Sherlock yesterday, and I’m too emotionally overwrought to really focus on a review. So. . .um. . .blame the BBC? Actually, ignore my excuses. Just stop right here.

Anyway, I’m thinking this is going to be a kind of feature now, maybe, where I basically aimlessly blab about what I love about a book/author/other-writing/book-related-thing. Am I even making sense? Ergh, moving on. . .

So, I am a member of a lot of fandoms. Harry Potter, Harry Potter LoveDoctor Who, Hetalia, Sherlock (OH MY GOD SHERLOCK). . .the list goes on for a while. If I could be a Professional Fangirl, I would. If you know anyone who will pay me to look at Tumblr and YouTube and to just cry/laugh/fall over, then for the love of fanfiction, send them to me. I am serious.

One of the things I love about fandoms (there are a lot of things I love about fandoms) is that there is so much to see. There’s art, stories, GIFsets, and more, all created by people who love something unconditionally and can come together to just go nuts over it. To just celebrate it with other people and say things like, “I found the most amazing fanfic today,” and “Look at David Tennant’s hair in this!” and “THIS GIF THIS GIF THIS GIF THIS GIF ASDFGHJKL;”

Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch
Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch

Of course, it’s not all just blogging picture after picture after picture after video of Martin Freeman and/or Benedict Cumberbatch. (But, again, if you’ll pay me. . .) People also talk about stuff like why something is, or how it works, or WHOA THIS TOTALLY EXPLAINS THAT THING!!!

Or, they form awesome things like the Harry Potter HPA LogoAlliance, which uses fandom-ness and love to make the world a better place. Seriously, check it out. Being in a fan community can actually lead to some pretty interesting discussions and creations. What, you think we just randomly surf the internet all the time?

I love how, if you’re in a fandom, you can just have fun and love something, with other people who love it, and do something meaningful with it.

Not to mention all the amaaaaaazing fanfictions there are out there.

And music.

And fanart.

And. . .

Literary Quote of the Day: “I solemnly swear that I am up to no good.” —Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, by J.K. Rowling.

P.S. My school, Eleanor Roosevelt High School, has a school newspaper! It’s online, and we’re hoping to really get some traffic going to the site, so, you know, if you want. . .

P.P.S. If you require some information on how to take care of a fangirl/fanboy, this video could be very instructive (Warning: Bit of a Sherlock spoiler):