It’s Valentine season again, and everyone seems to be on the lookout for someone special to sweep them off their feet for a marvelous night of mediocre chocolates and awkward hand holding.
There is, however, an alternative route many seem to forget: living vicariously through fictional characters. Here are some romantic book recommendations that serve as a reminder that books make life a whole lot less complicated than real people.
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
This awkward love story perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to be a college freshman. From the difficulty of making new friends, to changing family dynamics, this book is very relatable. The most exciting part is the relationship between Cather, a nerdy antisocial writer, and Levi, an outgoing friendly guy who has difficulty reading. Rowell weaves their relationship together so well, that a description of two people holding hands has never been more romantic.
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
This classic novel is written in a different tone because of its age but once you get used to it, it’s worth it. The epic love story of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy is unforgettable. Amazingly plotted and unbelievably witty, Austen writes a novel that should not be missed by anyone, romance fan or not. Readers can laugh in the face of classism because of Elizabeth’s habit of ignoring it, and laugh at Darcy for falling in love with Elizabeth in spite of it.
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
This is a novel is for everyone that enjoys unusual perspectives. It is told from the perspective of a zombie that cannot even remember his full name, and is surprisingly funny. He meets a woman whom he doesn’t want to eat and he doesn’t know why. This book is for people who want a good mixture of laughter, action and romance. There was a movie created based on this novel, but it pales in comparison to the heartwarming hilarity that is this 2011 novel.
Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
Anne Tyler’s retelling of “The Taming of the Shrew” by William Shakespeare is an unparalleled addition to the Hogarth Shakespeare series. This novel tells the story of Kate Battista, a misanthropic kindergarten teacher, and her father’s desperate attempts to marry her off to his lab assistant Pytor, who is in need of a green card. Funny, weird and immensely entertaining, Anne Tyler crafted a novel that cannot be missed.
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
Nick Hornby teaches that no man is an island in his book, “About a Boy.” As the cool and often frustrating narrator of this novel, Will, tries to disprove the saying, he only comes closer to proving it true. When Will meets Marcus, an extremely awkward and helpless school boy, he tries to avoid him and go back to his life as a rich and jobless thirty-year-old in London. After falling for a woman far out of his league, he decides to pretend Marcus is his son to sound interesting. This novel reminds us that everyone needs people in their life, romantically and otherwise.