For the Love of a Good Book

I was recently turned on to Five Books, where they put together a list of the essential five books on… anything. Seriously. Happiness (and evil), how to end poverty (and how to write poetry), and volcanoes.

The only rational reaction is, of course, to make a list of my own, because if the internet was invented for one thing, it was for arbitrary and relatively useless lists on whatever flies into your head.

Without further ado, here’s my list of the authoritative texts that will teach you everything you need to know about how to be a great lover:

Nicole KraussThe History of Love

As the name might imply, this is a book about Love (capital L). Many, many forms of love, but it includes the sort of passionate, life-long devotion that only exists in Hollywood and black and white photos from eighty years ago. If you can learn a single thing from this book, it’s that all you need is love. And maybe a Neruda-like affinity for words.

Jeffrey EugenidesMy Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead

Really, with this book in the list all the others are redundant. Jeffrey Eugenides (who is the Superman-Batman combo to my internal literary comic book world) takes on the herculean challenge of collecting the best short stories about romantic love. He succeeds, then probably swings away on his Spidey-web to do battle with another literary theme.

William GoldmanThe Princess Bride

Um. I think I would be hung, drawn, and quartered by the Interwebs if I didn’t include this bad boy. If ever you doubted that Mandy Patinkin was your hero, or that ROUS’s were to be avoided, you should re-read this. NOW.

Graham GreeneThe End of the Affair

It’s been made into a billion movies (give or take) for a reason. It takes love on as an almost religious obsession, as a lens through which we can understand everything else. Please note that even if I did make a deal with God I would never give you up for the Catholic Church.

Gabriel Garcia MarquezLove in the Time of Cholera

Physical love, childhood love, old age love, there’s something for everyone in this one! A surprisingly small amount of cholera, though.

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3 thoughts on “For the Love of a Good Book

  1. I am going to give #1 and #3 as gifts for upcoming friends birthdays and recite what you have written beneath them. It will make me sound really cool. It is Saturday night and I am babysitting Xander Bae. It is quite hot here in SF and she struggled with the heat. She is sleeping soundly in only a diaper.
    Love, kurt

  2. I completely endorse The End of the Affair and Love in the Time of Cholera as outstanding books. I may no claims related to the other books though, but she (Tessa) has good taste in books.

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