Chocolates. Hearts. Red roses. Cherubs and cupids. The Valentine’s week is here with all its trappings.
I came across the concept of Valentine’s Day as a child, all thanks to the Young Children’s Encyclopedia. Back in the early 80s, it was a day that also celebrated love for family and friends. Over the years, it got transformed into a day dedicated to only romantic love. Things have come a full circle now with an inclusive holiday celebrating love and affection for all those who are important to us.
As much as I enjoy reading feel-good books, I am rather picky about romances. There are very few tropes that actually work for me. I abhor the alpha male meets babe in the woods trope. Teaching the ropes some a close second. What I do love are books where the women are unapologetic and kick ass. Alisha Rai, Talia Hibbert, and Jill Shalvis are my favorite romance authors.
If you are a book lover and have been inundated by romance recommendations this Valentine’s week, read on as I share my picks of books that celebrate love but are not romances.
Of Love and Friendship
Every other chick-lit is about the girl gang. Books that celebrate the joy among friends. But there are also some with unique and unlikely friendships that warm the heart.
A Man Call Ove by Fredrik Backman is about a cantankerous grumpy old man, Ove, who wants to be left in peace. A man who wants to commit suicide. But is it also a heartwarming tale of neighborly love that leaves you with a smile on your face.
A young man, an old man, and life’s greatest lessons. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom is about an unconventional friendship between a dying professor and a student. An uplifting read that is also a conversation about mortality.
Books About Self Love
Nothing is more important than loving oneself. There are numerous non-fiction books on self-love. I share my favorite fictions that celebrate oneself. Books that are well worth the hype.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid is about love, ambition, and friendship. Evelyn’s personal journey from the 1950s to the late 80s, and the seven husbands along the way. It is loosely based on the life of the Hollywood actress Elizabeth Taylor. Pick this book if you haven’t already.
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens is a coming of age story combined with a haunting mystery. And the love of nature. Narrated across two timelines, it is the story of Kya, an abandoned child who finds a home among the marsh and the natural world. Highly readable.Inundated with romance book recommendations this Valentine's Week. Check out the Books Celebrating Love That Aren’t Romances #Books #ValentinesDay #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Of Filial and Sibling Love
Love them, hate them, can’t live without them. Family is family after all. Think family and The Bennet Sisters are the first ones that come to mind. Here are my favorite picks celebrating sibling and filial love.
Blood is thicker – and more difficult to get out of the carpet – than water. My Sister the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite is a title that grabs your attention. A dark story of two sisters, one a serial killer and the other who covers things up (the enabler).
“There’s no greater show of love and faith than traveling a long distance for somebody.” The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters by Balli Kaur Jaswal is the story of three sisters, each with her own secrets, resentments, and particularly the need to break free. The book also discusses significant and hot button topics without being too preachy.
Love For Our Furry Friends
Talking of love, we cannot leave out our furry friends, can we? Two of my favorite picks about the man’s best friend and their unconditional love. If you are a dog lover, I highly recommend the books. If not, do pick them up either way. You will not be left disappointed. Just make sure you have a bunch of tissues handy.
Marley and Me by John Grogan is about a family and their love for Marley, the “world’s worst dog”. A dog who wreaks havoc wherever he goes but has a heart of gold. I am not someone who tears up while reading a book but this one had me in tears by the end.
A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron follows Bailey, a “good dog” who finds his purpose through multiple lives and rebirths. The readers are taken on an eventful journey from a dog’s perspective. An extremely moving book that is funny and endearing.
For The Love of Books
How can a list of book recommendations be complete without discussing the love for books and reading? Two non-fiction books about books that are worth a read.
Ex Libris: Confessions of a Common Reader by Anne Fadiman is a tiny yet delightful read. A witty collection of essays that recounts the author’s lifelong love affair with books. Combining libraries to reading out loud. Personal stories, anecdotes and tales about her literary family. A must-read for every bibliophile.
Where I’m Reading From: The Changing World of Books by Tim Parks is a compilation of essays raising some pertinent questions – Do we really need to finish the book we start? Do our family and upbringing influence the books and genres we enjoy? Why is foreign literature considered better than our own country’s? Why does a handful of people get to decide the best books of the year? A fair warning though. The essays can be a bit academic and dry. But definitely worth a read.
What are your picks of books on love that aren’t romances? I would love to hear from you.Valentine Week Special: Books Celebrating Love That Aren’t Romances @CindyAnnDSilva @nooranand @bugshieldcloths #BlogaberryDazzle #BohoPonderings Click To Tweet
Photo credit: Canva.com