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  • Jenny Shank 7:45 pm on 2018/02/14 Permalink
    Tags: , love sweet love, , , , valentine's day   

    7 Lines from Classic Literature for Incurable Romantics 

    If you’re looking for the perfect sentiment about love for Valentine’s Day, and greeting cards and conversation hearts just aren’t cutting it, why not turn to classic literature for some insights on romance? Here are seven timeless quotes on love.

    “Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies.” –Aristotle, derived from The Symposium, by Plato
     Ever since people have been people, they’ve been thinking about love. Witness this idea, which Aristotle said was sparked by his mentor, Plato, in his work, The Symposium, a fictional dialogue between Socrates and his buddies about love written more than 2300 years ago. This philosophical dinner party banter is credited with inspiring the idea of “soul mates.”

    “If you wish to be loved, love.” Epistulae Morales ad Lucilium, by Seneca the Younger
    In this collection of 124 letters that Seneca the Younger (c. 4 BC–AD 65) wrote late in life, he quotes this sage and simple love advice, which he attributes to stoic philosopher Hecato of Rhodes. Two thousand years later, it still rings true.

    Love is a smoke raised with the fume of sighs/ Being purged, a fire sparkling in lovers’ eyes.” –Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare
    However lovelorn a teen might be, there’s no way he’s as lovelorn as Romeo and Juliet. Here’s a line in which Romeo muses about the nature of love while chatting with his cousin Benvolio.

    “The heart has reasons that reason cannot know.” –Pensées, by Blaise Pascal
    Seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician, and inventor Blaise Pascal was big on logic and reason, but as one of the most famous lines in his Pensées suggests, he threw logic out the window when it came to love.

    “It is best to love wisely, no doubt; but to love foolishly is better than not to be able to love at all.” –The History of Perdennis, by William Makepeace Thackeray 
    Thackeray was a British novelist during the Victorian era, best known for his novel Vanity Fair, first published as a serial from 1847 to 1848. He followed it up with another serial, The History of Perdennis (18481850), which includes this nugget of wisdom.

    “Love flowers best in openness and freedom.” –Desert Solitaire, by Edward Abbey
    Edward Abbey is best known as a cranky defender of nature, not a writer given to pondering love, but this line from 1968’s Desert Solitaire is as mushy as they come. Abbey’s rep remains intact, though—he was talking about desert plants, not people. The full quote: “The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.”

    “Don’t ever think I fell for you, or fell over you. I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it.” –Jazz, by Toni Morrison
    Toni Morrison shows she knows a thing or two about love—forbidden, brutal, sweet, selfless, and otherwise—in her many fine novels. Forbidden love turns violent in this unforgettable novel set in Harlem in the 1920s.

    The post 7 Lines from Classic Literature for Incurable Romantics appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jenny Kawecki 8:00 pm on 2016/02/12 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , valentine's day   

    The Best Valentine’s Day Dates for Book Nerds 

    The good news: You’re dating a book nerd. You are a book nerd. A wise move on both counts; we compliment you on your mental and emotional fortitude (and physical, too, because books are heavy). The bad news: Valentine’s Day approaches, and you have some pretty strong competition—the books. Because we all know how hard it is to focus on a night on the town when all you can think is I’d rather be reading. The best way to keep your mind on your Valentine and off your Everest-sized TBR stack at home? Celebrate your book nerdery with one of these literary dates!

    Brunch at a Bookstore/Café

    What’s the best way to eat? Surrounded by books, of course. Why brunch? It’s a well-known scientific fact that book nerds are at their best in the late morning (after the book hangover from the night before has had time to wear off), plus bookstores cafés are known to be good with the tea and scones. Feed your stomach and your brain by drinking a latté while you bathe in the glorious glow of beautifully shelved novels, and while you’re at it, name your favorite literary couples (canon or not), quote some poetry, and discuss which book best represents your undying love for each other.

    Oh, and if you live in Columbia and/or own a private jet, please go to the 9 3/4 Bookstore + Café and let me know how it is because I’m dying.

    Re-create Your Favorite Romantic Scenes

    Does your Valentine have a favorite love scene? Do you? Spend the day re-creating them, complete with costumes and over-the-top acting and lots of chocolate for fuel. Pretend you’re your favorite fictional couple and behave like them for the entire date. Don’t have a favorite? Try picking the worst fictional dates you’ve ever read; 10/10 you’ll both be laughing so hard your hair hurts, plus you’ll both appreciate your actual relationship even more. Here are a few suggestions:

    Find a Live Reading

    Search all the literary hotspots in your town for a literary reading (bonus points if it’s poetry). Then get dressed up and take your Valentine out to enjoy some words with other book lovers, and have a glass of wine or four. Afterward, you can grab something to eat and talk about which authors you’d most love to meet, who your favorite audiobook readers are, and, you know, how much you love each other.

    Library Hop

    Save the library! Track down the coolest-looking, most romantic libraries in your area and spend the day going from one to another. Explore the stacks, browse the shelves, and make note of all the books you have to add to your “must-read” list. Each pick a book for the other to read. Or, you know, act out the fantasy that every single has deep in their hearts: find a dark, secluded corner and make out for a while—and then go back to the books, because come on. They’re books.

    Go on a Literary Scavenger Hunt

    If you’re competitive at heart, make a list of literary tasks like re-creating your favorite book cover, getting a stranger to quote Shakespeare to you, finding someone who has been sorted into each Harry Potter house, build a stack of books at least twenty books high, get someone to admit their favorite book is Fifty Shades of Grey, etc. Then race to see who can check off all the items on the list first; loser has to buy the winner a book of their choosing.

    Have a Read-In

    This might just be the ideal date: set up a romantic atmosphere with candles, soft music, blankets, pillows, rose petals, and (of course) bowls full of munchable snacks. Sit down with your one true love and a tall stack of books and spend the day reading away—because, really, it’s what you both want to be doing, anyway. Read in silence or read out loud to each other, or take turns sharing your favorite passages; just enjoy the chance to be introverted and happy together.

    Go to a Bookstore and Say Those Magic Words

    “You can get as many as you want.”

    Hands-down, guaranteed best date ever.

    What are you and your favorite book nerd doing this Valentine’s Day?

  • Heidi Fiedler 3:45 pm on 2016/02/12 Permalink
    Tags: , off the beaten path, , , valentine's day   

    The 10 Best Literary Quotes for Your Valentine’s Day Card 

    Despite the naysayers, Valentine’s Day is still an occasion to celebrate the one you love and to tell them exactly how you feel. As you hold your feathered quill over a card for your beloved, worn but beloved phrases like, “Let me count the ways” may come to mind, but if you’re writing sweet nothings for a fellow book nerd, you may want to dig a little deeper. Here are ten ways to say those three little words and avoid the dreaded “You shouldn’t have” reply. (Hint: If you tuck your card inside one of these books, you’ll have a love letter and a gift all wrapped up together!) Get to it, love birds.

    “I Carry Your Heart with Me,” by E.E. Cummings

    “here is the deepest secret nobody knows
    (here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
    higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)
    and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart
    I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart)”

    Save Me the Waltz, by Zelda Fitzgerald

    “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”

    The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss

    “Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.”

    This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen

    “No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater…The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot.”

    The Unbearable Lightness of Being, by Milan Kundera

    “She had an overwhelming desire to tell him, like the most banal of women. Don’t let me go, hold me tight, make me your plaything, your slave, be strong! But they were words she could not say. The only thing she said when he released her from his embrace was, ‘You don’t know how happy I am to be with you.’ That was the most her reserved nature allowed her to express.”

    Kafka on the Shore, by Haruki Murakami

    “If you remember me, then I don’t care if everyone else forgets.”

    A Room with a View, by E.M. Forster

    “You can transmute love, ignore it, muddle it, but you can never pull it out of you. I know by experience that the poets are right: love is eternal.”

    The Hundred Secret Senses, by Amy Tan

    “I love and am loved, fully and freely, nothing expected, more than enough received.”

    All About Love, by bell hooks

    “Love is an action, never simply a feeling.”

     This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett

    “The love between humans is the thing that nails us to this earth.”









    What are your favorite literary quotes about love?

  • Nicole Hill 9:20 pm on 2016/02/11 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , valentine's day   

    The Book Nerd’s Guide to the Perfect Valentine’s Day 

    Welcome to the Book Nerd’s Guide to Life! Every other week, we convene in this safe place to discuss the unique challenges of life for people whose noses are always wedged in books. For past guides, click here.

    Here’s what you are going to do on your bookish Valentine’s Day. You’re going to wake up and begin the day with the best breakfast you can think of: Bilbo Baggins’s. You may make it for yourself, or for you and your significant other, but either way you will adorn plates with loaves of fresh bread heaped with jams and clotted cream. You’ll have yards of bacon, loads of eggs, and a mound of potatoes. You will be the happiest and most in love you’ve ever been because you will serve it with mead, and it comes in pints.

    From there, you will go for a long walk past all your favorite local haunts, because you love them and today is a day for love. Naturally, that walk will end at the bookstore, where one of two things will happen. If you’re all about self-love today, you’ll spend your time in the romance section, reading excerpts from the lustiest titles that catch your eye. At some points you will giggle. At other points you will blush. You will tuck one under your arm to purchase, along with two to three books from your to-read list and a biography you pick up from the display at the front. If you stroll into the bookstore with your main squeeze, you’ll still make a beeline straight for the romance section. You will each pick out a title with an outrageously busty or brawny cover. You will take them home to read to each other later that night.

    Regardless, you will walk out of the bookstore with bags of books. On the way home, if you are with your partner, you will banter smartly and rapid fire, as if you were the protagonists of a Rainbow Rowell novel. All of a sudden, you will find yourselves outside a coffeeshop. Because this is a day of wonder and good feeling, you’ll find a corner table in a nook in the back. You will leisurely sip a mocha while you read from the non-romance selection(s) you picked up.

    By this time, your full Middle-earth breakfast will be wearing off. You will meander home and start making dinner, either for one or two—or seven, it’s none of my business. While it’s cooking, you will exchange presents with your special someone. A set of monogrammed bookmarks and a reading shelf for the bathtub, respectively, because you are nothing if not practical people.

    You will eat dinner quickly, so you can get to your main course. You’ll change into pajamas and grab the romance novels you bought. You’ll take turns reading the most steamy passages, and becoming deeply invested in the plots. If you’re by yourself, you will spend the rest of the night reading your bodice-ripper with a glass of red wine. Either way, you’ll fall asleep knowing that, at least for today, reality was better than fiction.

  • Jeff Somers 9:05 pm on 2016/02/11 Permalink
    Tags: all hail singledom, , , , , romance is dead, that annoying couple, valentine's day   

    The Best Worst Couples in Literature 

    Every February, Valentine’s Day makes people in romantic relationships sweat their way through increasingly elaborate displays of affection, while everyone else purchases ever-larger bottles of liquor, boxes of candy, and improved video streaming services in lieu of companionship. A holiday celebrating love can make single people feel lonelier than ever, and put undue pressure on existing relationships, especially when every film, TV show, and book seems to imply that all relationships are happy, healthy, and necessary to prove your worth as a human being. The fact is, not all relationships are good—for the individuals or the universe. If you’re feeling sad and lonely this Valentine’s Day, consider these five couples and the horrors that are their relationships, and feel better about yourself.

    The Creepiest Duo in History: Humbert and Dolores (Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov)
    We all know that if someone behaved in real life the way people act in romantic comedies, bursting in on weddings and making speeches and committing all sorts of atrocities in order to prove to someone that they’re insanely obsessed, they’d be arrested. Take that sort of obsessive behavior even further and you get into the dark, icky waters of Humbert Humbert’s sick obsession with the young girl he calls Lolita. You may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend this Valentine’s Day, but at least you didn’t have some creepy old murderer chasing after you as a child, even as he erases all evidence of your actual personality from his solipsistic and horrifyingly self-forgiving memoir. It’s the little things in life that get us through each day: coffee, kitten videos, and the lack of pedophile stalkers.

    The Couple We Can’t Wait to See Murder Each Other: Cersei and Jamie (A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin)
    Incest is a go-to trait when authors want to ramp up the hateability of their characters, and Martin certainly succeeded with these beautiful, rich twins who are (not so) secretly lovers and evil plotters, responsible for plenty of misery in the Seven Kingdoms. Of course, part of the appeal of these books is the way Martin manages to shade even the Lannisters so they become almost sympathetic over time, despite all the incest, murder, attempted murder, rape, and attempted rape. Feeling lonely? Maybe so, but at least you’re not locked in a lifetime relationship with your own twin sibling who’s clearly murderously crazy and also not very receptive to any sort of personal growth or self-examination that might lead to a reluctance to murder your enemies.

    The Least Charismatic Main Characters in a Highly Successful Novel Award: Amy and Nick Dunne (Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn) SPOILERS AHEAD
    Let’s contemplate the Dunnes: she’s a sociopath so broken by her parents’ selfish upbringing that she considers faking her own murder in order to punish her husband a reasonable course of action. He’s a slow-witted weakling who wallows in self-pity and failure, so self-involved he doesn’t notice his wife is framing him for her own murder right under his nose. If the twisty story in this book wasn’t so darn great, it would be unbearable to spend even five minutes with these two. Next time you find yourself wishing you were in a relationship, ask yourself if you know any Nick and Amys in your life—you almost certainly do. Now, consider yourself lucky you’re not them.

    The Mean Drunks Award: George and Martha (Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf, by Edward Albee)
    At least George and Martha in Edward Albee’s classic play are clever, which gets them one point more than the Dunnes. We all know a couple like George and Martha, though perhaps not quite as witty and educated; that couple that drinks too much and can’t help but ruin every evening with their mean-spirited sniping. When you’re single it can feel like everyone else is happy, ensconced in a warm blanket of mutual love and support—but the Virginia Woolf Couple proves relationships can become a Hunger Games of the heart if we’re not careful, with small resentments slowly boiling into hateful explosions that make both of you—and everyone around you—miserable. Don’t be like George and Martha, stay single and feel good about it.

    The Iggy Azalea “I’m the Realest” Award: Norman Mailer and Adele Morales, Real Life
    In fact, Norman Mailer and his second wife Adele were that Virginia Woolf couple, weren’t they? With a mutually abusive and hostile relationship that reportedly became worse and worse as the couple drank more and more, their love/hate shtick hitting a low (high?) point when, after six years of marriage and nine years of being together, Mailer stabbed Morales twice with a penknife in full view of witnesses at a party. He very nearly killed her, and spent a few weeks in an asylum as result. Morales didn’t press charges, and it took the couple more than a year to get around to divorcing (stabbings being No Big Deal in literary circles, apparently). So next time you’re feeling like eating frozen pizza in front of Netflix isn’t quite your dream, remind yourself that sometimes It Couples stab each other with penknives, and feel better.

    What literary couples remind you that being single is far, far from the worst possible situation to be in this Valentine’s Day?

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