Be my Valentine?

Valentine’s Day gets a bad reputation. It seems like every year, more and more people take it as a day to complain about being single, and hate on people who aren’t. People say it’s just a day created by candy and card companies, or a day to make people feel bad for being single, or it puts tons of pressure on couples to have a perfect Valentine’s Day. Personally, I never got that. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be about expensive dates and flowers. It’s just a day to take some time out of your busy schedule to remind the important people in your life how much you care. It can be your significant other, friend, parents, siblings, roommates, pets, or the guy who makes your coffee perfectly at Starbucks. Love is about more than romance and date nights, so just have fun and spend time with someone you love, even if they happen to be a goldfish. And really, what’s wrong with a little more love? Even when I’m not in a relationship, I’m happy for people who are! In fact, it really is a time when I tend to get a little mushy about love and romance, so here are a few books and videos to check out from the library, if you want to get in that lovey dovey Valentine mood!

                                              The Last Song/Message in a Bottle 

                                                          Nicholas Sparks
Come on, you had to see this one coming. Nicholas Sparks is our premier writer of romance stories that will inevitably become movies that come out in February. Nicholas Sparks has written 17 novels in his career, with 8 of them being turned into movies. His books almost always strongly feature a love story, either of first love, or of older characters finding a second chance for love after being divorced or their spouse dying tragically. Oh, that’s the other Nick Sparks thing. His books basically are about love and death. People fall in love, there are complications, and someone dies, all in a small town somewhere in the South. Two of his books are The Last Song, and Message in a Bottle, which both pretty much nail the Sparks formula. The Last Song (the one with the Miley Cyrus movie) is about a teenage girl connecting with her estranged father while falling in love for the first time. Message in a Bottle is about a woman who while jogging on a beach finds…well, guess what. She reads the romantic letter a man wrote to a woman, and decides to find him. Both stories deal with love, loss, and moving on from tragedy. Sparks’ books do tend to be somewhat formulaic, but they know what they are. Grab up a bag of tissues, pull up a comfy chair, and get ready to be Sparked (even if you’re a guy- I won’t tell).

                                       The Look of love: The Art of the Romance Novel

But Sparks was not the first person to write about romance. Ever since the 1940s, people have been eating up dramatic, steamy romances. Back before they invented HBO or the internet, romance novels were the only outlets that repressed, 1950s women had to release some of their…romantic tension. This online book looks at the history of the romance novel, distinguishing between steamy romances, and love-filled pre-Sparks books. While the book is about the history of romance novels, it also is about the story of how women and men have related to each other, and women’s place in society. And it also has some hysterically cheesy old time covers, from a time when you couldn’t even show a couple kissing, so take a peek! History and romance, what’s not to like?

                                                    Finding Nemo/The Philadelphia Story  

Hear me out on this one. When you think V-Day movie, you might not think about the wacky misadventures of a neurotic clown fish that meets up with a blue tang fish and searches the sea to find his missing son Nemo. But remember what I said up in the first paragraph, about different kinds of love? Well, Finding Nemo is basically a movie about the honest to God power of love. It’s about parental love, and friendship love, and how much someone will go through for love. While this movie doesn’t really have a love story, the two main relationships, between Marlin and Nemo (father and son), and Marlin and Dory(friends/travel partners) are ten times more meaningful then most generic romantic flicks. Oh, and funny talking fish. And bubbles. MY bubbles.

Oh- you want a little bit more romance in your V-day movie? Then check out the granddaddy of all romantic comedies, The Philadelphia Story. The movie is a classic comedy of class conflict, farce, and partner swapping. The basic plot is that Katherine Hepburn plays a rich girl about to get married, only her ex-husband, played by Cary Grant shows up, as well as a couple of reporters who are trying to get the dish on a possible scandal within Hepburn’s family. There’s even a meddling younger sister- anyone have one of those? Really, it’s all about the performances, and the dialogue, which is whip smart and sassy. It’s a very classy romance, where the characters look great, they sound cool, and everything works out in the end. Alright it’s from the early 40s, so some aspects haven’t aged well, but still, it’s amazing how much modern day romance movies have been influenced by this one flick that came out so long ago. I don’t want to say much more, just give it a try!

Hope you all enjoyed this blog, and that it can help you have a happier Valentine’s Day! I know it can be a touchy time for some people, but hopefully this will help you have a fun time, whether or not you have a Valentine! Call someone you love, watch some Finding Nemo, eat some chocolate, and feed your goldfish. Just have fun!
CP

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