Last year, I posted a list of books about different types of love in honour of Valentine’s Day. It was fun to do, so this year I am going to do it again using books I have read more recently.
Us Conductors by Sean Michaels
I am an instrument. I am a sound being sounded, music being made, blood, salt and water being manipulated in air. I come from Leningrad. With my bare hands I have killed one man. I was born on August 15, 1896, and at that instant I became an object moving through space toward you.
All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews
Elf took my hand, weakly, like an old dying person, and looked deeply into my eyes.
Yoli, she said, I hate you.
I bent to kiss her and whispered that I knew that, I was aware of it. I hate you too, I said.
It was the first time that we had sort of articulated our major problem. She wanted to die and I wanted her to live and we were enemies who loved each other.
And the Birds Rained Down by Jocelyne Saucier
Love, there is only love… to explain what we don’t understand.
Love Letters of the Angels of Death by Jennifer Quist
And even through every offering you make, we both know the baby himself is not really an idol. He’s just an altar – a place to lay sacrifices. The sacrifice you make here is so profound I’ve never dared to mention my own – real but lost and invisible in the face of the cataclysm of your new motherhood. But the look of sameness in the routine of my life is not real. I have laid something precious on the altar of the baby too. My own sacrifice – it was you.
Good To A Fault by Marina Endicott
Clary knew what made the parents around her cry, more or less openly: that everything must grow and change and–rather than being set free–must die, all these children too. We die, they will die, their children will be dead. We resist mourning, because we know we will have to mourn soon enough, and the resistance makes us weep.
The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy by Rachel Joyce
Sometimes, Harold, the way forward takes you by surprise. You try to force something in the familiar direction and discover that what it needs is to move in a different dimension. The way forward is not forward, but off to one side, in a place you have not noticed before.
Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese
What I owe Shiva most is this: to tell the story… Only telling can heal the rift that separates my brother and me. Yes, I have infinite faith in the craft of surgery, but no surgeon can heal the kind of wound that divides two brothers. Where silk and steal fail, story must succeed.
Euphoria by Lily King
Nell and Fen had chased away my thoughts of suicide. But what had they left me with? Fierce desires, a great tide of feeling of which I could make little sense, and ache that seemed to have no name but want. I want. Intransitive. No object. It was the opposite of wanting to die. But it was scarcely more bearable.
25 thoughts on “Literary Love: In Honour of Valentine’s Day #2”
I love this post, Naomi — especially the quotes, which can say so much about a book.
Choosing the quotes is the best part! And, I think they can often speak for the book better than I could. I also love looking through my book list to choose the books I want to include.
This is a good idea for a blog, Naomi! I’ve been personally ignoring Valentine’s Day. I got a card for my husband and I didn’t even think about doing a post for my blog.
For me, it was a good excuse to make a list. My post is mostly made up of reviews, but I find it fun to make a list every once in a while.
At home, Valentine’s Day is all about the kids!
That’s a good point. I do almost all reviews, too, and sometimes it’s a good idea to do something different. I’m glad you posted something related to Valentine’s Day, because it had slipped my mind and the book I was originally planning to review today was about hate! So, I changed my books around. Unfortunately, the only one I had slated for this week was one you mentioned in your post, but I’m sure you won’t mind.
Of course I don’t mind!
It made me laugh that the book you had ready was about hate! I just read an entertaining review of Dracula on Carole’s blog. 🙂
This one is REALLY about hate! Wait until you read my review on Monday. I don’t know if I have a link to Carole’s blog. What’s the blog name?
It’s called Barda Book Talk, and you can find it at grandbarda.wordpress.com.
OK, thanks! I hadn’t heard of it!
oops NaomiO xoxo
I agree, lovely post!
Thanks for reminding me to read All My Puny Sorrows. My mom gave it to me for Christmas, and she’ll ask soon whether I have read it yet….
Thank you, and Happy Reading!
I like the way you’ve looked at different types of love, that’s a great idea. You’ve selected some wonderful quotes too. All My Puny Sorrows has just been shortlisted for the Folio Prize…
The nice thing about making this list, is that it is hard to find books that love doesn’t exist in some form. But, it’s fun picking them apart, and giving the type of love a name.
I love this! Apart from reminding me about all these books that I need to read, and reminding me that I LOVED Cutting for Stone, it’s a good way to look at Valentine’s Day. Celebrate all the love, not just romantic love.
That’s the part I love, too, Eva! I love trying to find what kind of love is present in the books and give it a name. There are so many!
Cutting for Stone had the love between the brothers (which is the one I picked out), but it also had the romantic love Marian had for Genet, Ghosh and Hema’s wonderful marriage, and the parental love the boys had from Ghosh and Hema (which would also be unconditional, I guess).
What an excellent list. I have read some and the others shall go on the list for the bok club I belong to. Trying to ignore Valentine’s this year as my husband died last May. Sent lots of goodies to children & grandchildren.
There are some good ones on here for book club discussions, that’s for sure.
I’m sorry to hear about your husband. It’s nice to have your children and grandchildren to send your love to, though.
I hope you enjoy reading some of these books- they are all favourites. Thanks for stopping by and commenting!
Great additions to add to my woefully long “to read” list. Us Conductors is near the top.
Any one of these would be a great choice, but you can’t go wrong with Us Conductors!
As you know, I LOVED The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessy (a 2-blog post review!), and the longer I am away from Cutting for Stone the more I love it! I have yet to read Euphoria (although I own it!). I love Lily King. Nice list!
Your have a very good book to look forward to, then! Have you read any other books by Lily King that you would recommend?
I read Father of the Rain and loved it. (Though it was even before I was on Goodreads, so I haven’t reviewed it anywhere yet. I would like to reread it.) I think you would at least like it if not really like it. It was intense. I own The Pleasing Hour but have as yet to read it.