Sunday, February 14, 2010
Happy Valentine's Day!
Long before there was a Bella & Edward, there was a Cathy & Heathcliffe, Scarlett & Rhett, and Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy. The history of Valentine's Day is a mystery, but "One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death." While in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailor's daughter, and just before his death sent her a letter signed, "From your Valentine".
What better way to celebrate Valentine's Day then to devour a good love story! (Less calories than chocolate)... So, today's Sunday Salon highlights some great literary romances! And please share some of your favorite's too!
Love Story by Erich Segal... Love Story is a modern day "classic". The tragic love story between two young vibrant people, a Harvard student and a Radcliffe student. Love Story was originally written as a screenplay. When Erich Segal couldn't sell it as a screenplay, he turned into a novel and the rest was history. A New York Times No. 1 bestseller, the book became the top selling work of fiction for 1970 in the United States, and was translated into 33 languages worldwide. Shortly after the book sensation it was turned into a movie too! Here's the first few lines...
"What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me."
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy... Forbidden Love, Adultery, Jealousy, and True love, that's what Anna Karenina is about. It's a long book, with the backdrop of Russian politics and farming, but the love affairs, and the romance of Anna and Vronsky, seem fresh and could have been written yesterday. The new Pevear/Volokhonsky translation is key to this 'freshness', because they have added footnotes and appendages for the reader to fully understand 19th century Russia. I loved this book! We read this in my reading group, which took a couple of months for everyone to finish, but everyone was glad to have read it. It's a book that takes effort, but you won't regret it! Here's the first line...
"Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger... Have I told you all how much I loved The Time Traveler's Wife? I think I probably have, it's one of my favorite books. It just grabbed me and held me for 546 pages. A wonderful love story between Claire and the time traveling Henry. Henry is a librarian with "Chrono Displacement" disorder; at random times, he suddenly disappears without warning and finds himself in the past or future, usually at a time or place of importance in his life. Henry travels back and forth in time meeting his true love Claire when she is 6 years old, when she is 20. They fall madly in love and endure these "episodes". The story is told through both characters, the writing is wonderful, and the story is funny, heartbreaking and fantastic! It may take some people a little bit of time to get use to the time traveling aspect of the book, but eventually the wonderful story and interesting characters take over the need to keep the years straight and you will just sit back and enjoy! You can read the beginning of The Time Traveler's Wife at Google Books.
Harvee of Book Dilattante recommends Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. I loved this book too! It all takes place with the backdrop of the circus!
Scobberlotcher (Karen) recommends The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje. 4 lives thrown together in a desolate Italian villa during the ravages of World War II.
Esme of Chocolate & Croissants recommends The Thornbirds by Colleen McCullough. An epic saga of dreams, struggles, dark passions, and forbidden love between Meggie and Ralph de Bricassart, the handsome parish priest. All of which takes place in the Australian Outback. I actually have this on my nightstand...waiting to find the time to open!
Other great love stories... Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (which won the Pulitzer Prize in 1937), Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo. What are your favorite love stories? Leave a comment and I'll add them to the list!!
Have a wonderful week! And don't forget! The Blogoversary celebration starts Thursday! A sprinkling of great giveaways throughout the week! Remember to sign up to be a "follower", if you haven't already, on Google Friends (which is on the left of the blog posts) to be able to enter some of the exclusive giveaways for all registered followers! You won't be sorry!
Happy reading... Suzanne