I feel like my blog posts have been coming at you straight from dullsville for the past few weeks, and I need to spice things up a bit! So: romance!
In honor of Valentine’s Day, the holiday invented by couples specifically to scorch the hearts of their single friends, I’ve decided to poll some fellow Dystel-ites on the most romantic books of all time.
Miriam picked Jane Eyre and The English Patient with a nod to Love in the Time of Cholera which should come as no surprise seeing as her most recent entry testified to her love of its first line: “It was inevitable: the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.” While everyone else in the office complained that they couldn’t think of romantic books, she continued with her suggestions: The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love; most of Turgenev; some Milan Kundera; A Tale of Two Cities.
Jane’s response was immediate and perfect: does romance get more epic that Gone with the Wind? I think not.
Lauren took a decidedly anti-romantic approach. While she does enjoy, say, the poetry of Keats, her favorite books tend to be bleaker and feature antiheroes and assholes. I pointed out that assholes need love too, and she settled on The Great Gatsby. Romantic AND bleak. It qualifies!
Everyone else scrambled for answers as though romance in books was a totally unfamiliar concept. But they came up with favorites eventually! John settled on Wuthering Heights. Michael got stuck coming up with a list of the most inappropriate choices of all time (Lolita, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Revolutionary Road, Flowers in the Attic!), but eventually refocused on actual romance and selected the much more appropriate Shopgirl. Stephanie chose A Walk to Remember, which I haven’t read, but I did see the Mandy Moore movie!
As for me, my choice doesn’t have a happy ending, but I still think it’s the most romantic book ever (and one of my all-time favorites). The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I mean, come on! SPOILER ALERT. Quasimodo loves Esmeralda so much that he clutches her dead body until HE DIES TOO! And the last line! “When they tried to detach the skeleton which he held in his embrace, he fell to dust.” I love that line like Quasi loved his gypsy girl.
What about all you folks? What do you think the most romantic novels of all time are?