This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, was a Valentine’s Day freebie. I’m not a reader of traditional romance. I’m not opposed to the genre; I just feel that I haven’t found the writer or series that will hook me in as of yet. But there are a few novels that came to mind when I think of truly romantic stories.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This dazzling novel is about SO much – racial constructs in America, the immigrant experience, contemporary Nigeria – but at its heart there’s a gripping love story, centered on young lovers Ifemelu and Obinze. Will they find their way back to one another? I was captivated.
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett. I think this is one of the most romantic books I’ve ever read. Beautiful and heartbreaking. It soars.
- Landline by Rainbow Rowell. This was my first Rowell novel, and it resonated with me so much that I photocopied paragraphs and pasted them into my journal. It’s a fun, quirky book, but it also contains some very real truths about marriage, especially marriage after kids.
- Every Day by David Levithan. A YA book that totally sucked me in and had me crying. A is a genderless being who wakes up in a different body everyday. A has learned to cope with this strange, rootless existence, until one day A falls in love with Rhiannon. There’s a sequel recently out called Another Day. I can’t wait to read it after the TBR Triple Dog Dare is over.
- Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. There are many thread to this novel about humans and the nature they interact with in the Southern Appalachians, but I chose it for this list because parts of it are really very lusty – in a good way. I’ve read it twice and I’d read it again in a heartbeat.
I could have chosen Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – because isn’t this really the ultimate love story? But I thought it was too obvious. I also could have picked Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife. But I haven’t read it since 2003, and I don’t trust my judgment on that one. I’d just come out of a devastating breakup. I just remember sobbing my eyes out. I’m happy with the five books I’ve chosen – they’re all very different but they all speak to the universal truth of humans seeking connection. I’d love to hear your picks for romantic books – suggestions, please!