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Life and Meaning > What is the best book about LOVE that you have ever read?

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

That's a tough one. I don't know if I'd recommend a best book, but I will say that Jeanette Winterson writes artfully about love--especially in *The Passion* and *Written on the Body*. They are mostly about passionate, unrequited love, and they are powerful and sad.

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

I see you're reading Anais Nin--is that particular book good? I've only read some of her diaries.

message 3: by Salma (new)

Salma I have to say- Wuthering Heights tops my list for that one. Because it explores the layers of love- what it is and what it isn't- the benefits (and consequences of it).

Sometimes I think love can be best 'described' if you want to use that word in poetry. Neruda and Sappho are my favorites.

message 4: by Diane (new)

Diane  (dianedj) Boy, Wuthering Heights and Bridges of Madison County. Wuthering Heights is my favorite love story, and for those who have read it, probably one of - if not THE most - darkest love stories. Bridges of Madison County had me in tears....even in the movie when they are behind him in the car....the left blinker goes on....her hand is on the door handle.....that's it, so as not to be a spoiler !

message 5: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
I really liked Love in the time of cholera by Gabriel Marquez....that's a good question...lots of books...


message 6: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
...just thought of Like Water for Chocolate as well as one of my favorites concerning love...sometimes unrequited love makes for a great story on love.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Ah, a great tragic love story is *The Thorn Birds*. Another of my favorites is *The Birth of Venus* by Sarah Dunant. Excellent unfulfilled love in that one.

You know, it's sad, but i can't think of one great love story right now that actually worked out and I liked the book. I think we like reading about tragic, unfulfilled love. Romeo and Juliet is a prime example.

message 8: by Salma (new)

Salma Well- the ending to WH (I don't wanna give it away) wasn't too tragic, in some ways. I thought it was very uplifting, myself.

message 9: by Diana (new)

Diana | 1 comments One that comes to mind for me is Wallace Stegner's Crossing To Safety about married love, the maturing of a relationship, the maturing of two couples.

message 10: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie | 16 comments "Prince of Tides" by , Pat Conroy......a haunting love story.

message 11: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 11 comments Hi Jeannie--I love Pat Conroy and would have to agree with you on "Prince of Tides". I've read it a few times and also saw the movie. Surprisingly I liked the movie, which isn't always the case when I have read a book first.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Letters to Wendy's by Joe Wenderoth--no sentimentality just powerfully moving

message 13: by Karen (new)

Karen I'm one of the few who didn't like "Bridges of Madison County". It was the fact that even though she thought she loved this man who happened into town, she was still married and had children. I'm not a very traditional person, but in that area I am...if she was so unhappy she either leaves the marriage or makes it work, not have an affair. One of my favorite books on true and real love is a book I read as a kid, O. Henry's "The Gift of the Magi". Now that is love. I'll have to give more thought to something that's more modern.

message 14: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie | 16 comments Message #16
Years back, I read everything by Conroy. I too enjoy his novels and "Prince of Tides" had such a haunting ending.
The movie was very good but I read the book first and I really can't say if the ending when seen on film is as powerful as the book.

I've read many love stories but for some reason the last paragraph of Conroy's novel is for me a benchmark when it comes to something "romantic"


message 15: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
oh...what did it say?

message 16: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kylewilk) | 9 comments not sure i'm ready to answer that question. i will, however, answer a related question: what's the latest good book about love i've read? and the answer to THAT is Feast of Love. if you haven't yet, enjoy.

message 17: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kylewilk) | 9 comments good question. not sure i'm prepared to answer yet...lemme think about it. but i CAN answer a related question: what's the best most recent book you've read about love...answer to that is: Feast of Love by Charles Baxter. if you haven't already, enjoy!

message 18: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie | 16 comments Ed,
Hang on.....I am going to have to dig out the book. I read it so many years ago, I am sure to make a mash of it if I don't look it up.

message 19: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie | 16 comments The following contains a spoiler !!!

Well, that didn't take as long as I thought....I really don't know if one can get the jist of the paragraph without reading the story.
Maybe all you need to know is that the main character has an affair with a woman whose last name is Lowenstein.

"Each night, when practice is over and I'm driving home through the streets of Charleston, I ride with the top down on my Volkswagen convertible. It is always dark and the wind is rushing through my hair. At the top of the bridge with the stars shining above the harbor, I look to the north and wish again that their were two lives apportioned to every man and woman. Behind me the city of Charleston simmers in the cold elixirs of its own incalculable beauty and before me my wife and children are waiting for me to arrive home. It is in their eyes that I acknowledge my real life, my destiny. But it is the secret that sustains me now, and as I reach the top of that bridge I say it in a whisper, I say it as a prayer, as regret and as praise. I can't tell you why I do it or what it means, but each night when I drive toward my southern home and my southern life, I whisper these words: "Lowenstein, Lowenstein""

In my opinion...it doesn't get more romantic than that !

message 20: by Rob (new)

Rob | 5 comments I very highly recommend Camille, by Alexandre Dumas Fils. This is a fantastic book, not very long, and very beautiful. It's about obsessive, doomed love. I thought it was outstanding, and hard to put down. And it's a pretty quick read.

message 21: by Ed (new)

Ed | 237 comments Mod
Thanks Jeannie; that is a great image. :)


message 22: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kylewilk) | 9 comments not a feast of love quote. sounds like bridges of madison county...which was pretty darn romantic, i must admit. i'd forgotten about that book.

message 23: by [deleted user] (new)

Jeannie, you're killing me here. What book is the quote from? It's beautiful.

message 24: by [deleted user] (new)

Yeah, that quote definitely isn't from Feast of Love.

I recently read it too, and I wouldn't recommend it. I didn't exactly hate it, but I didn't like it terribly much either. There were some good characters (Chloe was fun) but, after I finished the book, I just felt kind of "meh." The ending was way too contrived for me. It didn't feel like a very romantic book at all. But that's just me!

message 25: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kylewilk) | 9 comments ah yes. prince of tides. wonderful love there.

message 26: by Jeannie (new)

Jeannie | 16 comments Yes Kyle, the quote comes from The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy. Not only is the book a great romance, it is an excellent story about a southern family. The Prince of Tides is about so many things but it contains a really heartfelt romance and Conroy has a silver tongue :>))

message 27: by Cheryl S. (new)

Cheryl S. | 11 comments FYI--there is a Letter To The Editor from Pat Conroy in the Banned Books Group he wrote in response to the news parents were attempting to ban his books, "The Prince of Tides" and "Beach Music" from being assigned for classes in a Charleston, West Virginia high school. Anyone who has ever enjoyed a book written by Conroy, or hated a book written by Conroy, or if you happen to be an English teacher you should read his letter.

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Best book about love, hands down is The Good Soldier, by the genius Ford Maddox Ford

message 29: by Kyle (new)

Kyle (kylewilk) | 9 comments insane that this behavior (attempts to ban books) still exists in this day and age...just plain scary.

message 30: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (sardonicprincessofcheerfulness) Possession by AS Byatt

message 31: by Prabha (new)

Prabha | 29 comments Bridges of Madison County and The Notebook...to die for.

message 32: by Cindy (last edited Feb 02, 2008 06:07AM) (new)

Cindy (cookiejarprincess) Karen, I agree with you. I did not like Bridges... at all. Part of it was the fact that she had an affair and part of it was, I just didn't like the story. But The Gift of the Magi, that is a great story. I haven't read it in years, I think I'll dig it up and have another go.

I can add that I don't care for anything written by Nicholas Sparks. I guess that makes me weird because every woman I know, well, with the exception of my mother and my best friend, all love every book he's ever published. But I'm okay with that.

message 33: by Charles (new)

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message 34: by Karen (new)

Karen Cindy, I know what you mean about Nicholas Sparks. I read a couple of his under the recommendation of people. I didn't like them, too sweet and sappy. Then one night I went to a reading of his at a local bookstore and I had a new respect for him. One, he's a really nice guy with a great sense of humor. But mainly because he told stories of how he came up with the stories. Each book is based on a story in his family and when he told them it was amazing. There were a few tears in the group when he told the stories of his sister and so forth. And "The Notebook" was about his wife's...umm, either parents or grandparents, can't remember. Either way, it was their story and after that it made his books more interesting. I still think they're too sweet and sappy for my taste, but I do have a new respect for the stories. I was given one recently; haven't read it yet but I know I will at some point. Probably when I need a 'fluff' read.

"The Gift of the Magi" was something I read when I was a kid and it always stayed with me. The love they had for each other made more sense than all those crazy fairytales we were fed as little girls.

message 35: by Cliff (new)

Cliff | 2 comments The Time Traveller's Wife, I thought was an exceptional book about love.

message 36: by Atomicgirl (new)

Atomicgirl | 12 comments I agree with Ed. Love in the Time of Cholera was powerful and poetically written.

message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

I just finished a collection of love stories compiled by Jeffrey Eugenides, *My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead: Great Love Stories from Chekhov to Munro*. If you're into tragic love stories--this book is the way to go. Very realistic and depressing. I think there is something for everyone in this collection, unless you live under a rock. In that case, read and learn!

message 38: by Imme (new)

Imme (NtzW4chR) | 2 comments i think impressed me most...Do ya thnk so ?

message 39: by Charissa (new)

Charissa (dakinigrl) The History of Love by Nicole Krauss is not only one of my favorite all time books, it is the most passionate, delightful, surprising, delicate and inspiring stories about love I have ever read.

message 40: by Brigitte (last edited Jan 04, 2009 01:49PM) (new)

Brigitte I would have to say one of the best books I have read about love would have to be Gone With the Wind. Between Melanie, Scarlett and Rhett you have many different examples of love, taking love for granting and not recognizing love until it is too late.

I would also recommend The Gravel Drive by Kirk Martin. It is about a father's love for his son, and how there can be "no love without sacrifice, and no redemption without loss".

message 41: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I agree with Brigitte. It's gotta be Gone With the Wind. The movie is spectacular. But the book! Oh the book is heavenly! It explores Rhett and Scarlett's relationship throughout the entire story in detail that only books can do. There are added characters too. There are so many kinds of love--parent to child, child to parent, friends, unrequited, mistaken, romantic, etc--shown in this book.

message 42: by Lori (new)

Lori Walker I agree with Brigitte. It's gotta be Gone With the Wind. The movie is spectacular. But the book! Oh the book is heavenly! It explores Rhett and Scarlett's relationship throughout the entire story in detail that only books can do. There are added characters too. There are so many kinds of love--parent to child, child to parent, friends, unrequited, mistaken, romantic, etc--shown in this book.

message 43: by Robert (new)

Robert Beveridge (xterminal) Anthony wrote: "just curious. looking for recommendations."

Given what you were saying below about unrequited love specifically, all of the novels written by the surrealists would apply. Breton's Nadja especially, but any of them. Unrequited passion was one of the underpinnings of the surrealist movement.

message 44: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) This may seem like an odd one, but Outlander. I think it's a great love story without being "icky".

message 45: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 100 comments Have you read On Chesil Beach. The first half of the book is extremely sensuous.

Also, a favorite is Madame Bovary.

message 46: by Holli (new)

Holli I'm going to have to agree with Gone With The Wind and The Notebook.

message 47: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl (chaoscat60) | 37 comments What about the Time-Traveler's Wife, I thought that was such an incredible book!

message 48: by Lori (new)

Lori Anderson (lorianderson) Cheryl, yes!

message 49: by Tressa (new)

Tressa  (moanalisa) My favorite love story is Ethan Frome. It doesn't have a happy ending, but the way the story is set up to slowly reveal the love between Ethan and Mattie is fantastic. If you have ever been in a nightmare relationship and felt trapped while you loved someone else you couldn't have, then this is the book for you.

I absolutely love Pat Conroy's books. Even my husband who is a sci-fi geek couldn't put down The Prince of Tides. His writing is like poetry. The eulogy for his father is a wonderful tribute to the "great Santini." http://www.skyhawk.org/2d/tins/tinsan...

I read On Chesil Beach and absolutely hated it. I just don't see that as any kind of love story at all.

Oh, and I'm a big Anne Tyler fan and her book The Accidental Tourist is a great love story about healing and trusting and daring to love again after many disappointments.

And Zora Neale Hurston's Their Eyes Were Watching God is a magnificent story about a woman's three relationships with very different men.

message 50: by Meg (new)

Meg (megvt) | 100 comments Tressa, I never looked at The Grea Santini as a tribute to his father. In fact it was very painful and dealt with the abusive father and did not resole his relationship abuse with him in that book. I was a big fan of Conroy until My Losing Season where he suddenly decided to resolve his father and no explanation to Conroy's audience. I felt robbed.

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