Eyes on love: Crawl between these pages to stir your heart

Good Reads1 copyBy John Hoover 
©2015 – Telegraph Publishing LLC

While there really was a St. Valentine (in fact there were several) our current association of the saint’s day and romantic love has nothing to do with the lives of any of them but rather stems from a line in a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer: “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”Quindlen

However, the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day in Chaucer’s time was a far cry from how it is celebrated now. From cards to chocolates, to flowers or lavish and romantic dinners, Valentine’s Day is a time for lovers to provide special treats for each other as a way of showing their love for each other. In light of this month’s holiday that focuses on the heart we at Misty Valley Books set ourselves the task of bringing you book recommendations that will, on some level at least, stir your heart. We think you’ll be surprised at some of our choices.

Starting off our list of Valentine’s books Lynne has chosen Anna Quindlen’s Still Life with Bread Crumbs ($16), a love story. “Quindlen shows us that we are never too old to fall in love — with a dog, with someone who is different from what we imagine the perfect person to be, with a cabin, with a lifestyle, with life itself. A meditation on art, age and the choices we make in life.”

AlexanderBill goes in an entirely different direction. His choice is, indeed, about a love affair but … well, let him tell you. “The loved one is not a person, but William Alexander’s affair, as he puts it, ‘charmed me, seduced me and nearly broke my heart.’  The love object?  The French language.  In Flirting with French ($15.95), Alexander, at ‘un certain âge’, decides to drop all to set himself the goal of speaking fluently in French.  Along the way, he turns the quest into a self-education on linguistics, brain science and everything Gallic — and makes the reader laugh out loud; especially poignant for anyone who has set out on the same quest.”

NesbitThe theme of Kim’s choice deals with what women will do for the men they love. “While not about love or romance per se, The Wives of Los Alamos ($16) by Tarashea Nesbit was an interesting look at the Manhattan Project of WWII through the eyes of the women who were forced along for the ride. While the scientists were at least told what they were working on, their wives and children were kept completely in the dark for security reasons. They were uprooted with little warning, dropped in the middle of the unforgiving desert, expected to live in extremely rustic conditions — and they had no idea why, for how long or what was even being created there. A great story told from an unusual perspective.

KingAmanda said she really hadn’t read any “love” stories recently so, instead, chose a title associated with one of her major loves: Tate’s Bake Shop: Baking for Friends ($24.95) by Kathleen King.  “I’ve long been a fan of Kathleen King’s cookbooks and this one doesn’t disappoint.  Filled with recipes for the mouth-watering muffins, cakes and cookies featured in her Long Island bakery, this book has something for everyone.  I can’t think of a better way to show your love for family or friends by baking the Linzer heart cookies for them on Valentine’s Day!  Or maybe the Honey Cake!”

RothSylvan’s choice for our Valentine’s column, Four: A Divergent Collection ($17.99) by Veronica Roth also takes us in a slightly different direction. “Four is comprised of seven short stories from the point of view of the male lead in the popular dystopian teen trilogy. While some are set before Tris and Four meet, the character development just adds to the unique romance of two people literally fighting for their lives while trying to figure out who they are. To my way of thinking the respect and trust that both these characters must earn from each other fits my definition of a real love story.”

McGovernJory brings us back to a more “normal” love story. “Say What You Will ($17.99) by Cammie McGovern, tells the story of Amy and Matthew and their friendship turned romance. Both face immeasurable challenges in their lives as their relationship deepens and, by the end of the book, you’re not really sure who has saved whom, you just know they’re better for knowing each other.”

StedmanIf Kim’s choice for this column deals with what a woman will do for the love of a man I guess the theme of my choice, The Light Between Oceans ($16) by M.L. Stedman, is what a man will do for the woman he loves. Set in Australia following World War I, mostly at a lighthouse on a small, lonely island, the story details the relationship between the light keeper and his wife especially concerning the baby they find in a small boat that washes up on their island. Decisions are made that have far reaching consequences that tear at the fabric of their love for each other and prove just how deeply one person can love another.

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Filed Under: Community and Arts LifeGood Reads

About the Author: After a 35-year career as a high school social studies teacher, John Hoover and his wife, Sally, retired to Vermont. He lives in Windham where he serves as a Justice of the Peace and Library Trustee. He works part time as a book-seller at Misty Valley Books, is active at St. Luke's Episcopal Church and sings in several choral groups.

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