Five book recommendations for this Valentine’s Day
Including books about first love, familial love, internal love and many more!
It’s the middle of February, which means that Valentine's Day is coming up. Whether you’re completely repulsed by Valentine’s Day or counting down the days until this holiday of love and chocolates, I think you’ll find a book on this list that meets your needs.
“The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett
This book focuses on familial love. Covering almost 40 years of generational history, Brit Bennett does an extraordinary job of weaving together multiple storylines to create something compelling. Starting in 1968, in a small, southern Black town, the 16-year-old Vignes sisters decide to move to New Orleans. Fast forward 10 years and the twin sisters are living entirely different lives as two different races. Desiree and her daughter, Jude, find themselves back in that same southern town, while Stella is passing as a white woman with her daughter and husband in California. As the years pass and their paths cross, the reader is exposed to two divergent existences. This book is hard to put down; each character is unique, but the bond between the sisters remains strong.
If you want cheesy romance for your Valentine’s Day, this is the book for you. The main character, January, is a romance writer and has locked herself away in her father’s beach house to complete her next novel. To break up the monotonous days of writer’s block, she decides to head into town to a bookstore to gain some inspiration. Instead, she runs into Augustus, a literary fiction writer and the student at the top of her college class. Coincidentally, he also struggles with writer’s block and has decided to lock himself in the beach house neighboring hers. They find themselves challenging one another to trade genres. As the reader, you follow the two of them as they help one another complete their novels and grow a bond over the summer. Playful and steamy, this book is fun and easy to read.
“Call Me by Your Name” by André Aciman
I know you’re shocked to see this book on the list, but it truly is one of my favorite romances. André Aciman has an incredible way of describing infatuating first love and a hot summer’s day in Italy, told through the perspective of Elio, a young boy falling in love for the first time. Throughout the book, you are in Elio’s mind: smelling the fresh fruit from his Italian villa’s orchard, feeling the sweat drip down his back as he rides through the streets of Crema on his bike, feeling his heart skip a beat when his father’s summer research assistant, Oliver, enters a room. This is the book to read if you want to be transported somewhere — anywhere but here.
“Conversations with Friends” by Sally Rooney
Though Sally Rooney’s second novel, “Normal People,” became a critically acclaimed and widely loved TV show adaptation, her first novel “Conversations With Friends” is the one I prefer. If you enjoyed watching Marianne and Connell from “Normal People” on screen, you should check out her story following college lovers and spoken word poets, Frances and Bobbi. Now just friends, the book follows the two as they become close friends with a married couple, Melissa and Nick. Melissa is a trendy journalist writing a piece on Frances and Bobbi’s spoken-word performances. But, things get complicated when Nick and Frances grow a strong attraction to one another. Pick up this book if you want to read about a love that is wrong, but feels right.
“Writers & Lovers” by Lily King
Casey Peabody is recovering from the sudden passing of her mother and a recent love affair. She now works in a stuffy, affluent restaurant in Harvard Square, but wants to live a more creative life. This sentiment feels out of reach because she hasn’t been able to write anything substantial since her mother passed. She soon finds herself stuck between two new lovers. Overwhelmed with having to choose, she realizes that she has to evolve internally before she can pursue a new love. King’s writing is truly something special and sucked me in from the very first page. This book blends the aspects of a classic romance with the question of how to love internally.
Whether or not you have a Valentine of your own, I hope you can fall in love with at least one of these characters.