Monday, July 18, 2011

5 Best Books - Topic: Love

5 Best Books on a given topic is the weekly meme hosted by Cassandra at her blog, INDIE READER HOUSTON. Each week, a different topic.This week it's Love that gets the nod.

To narrow the field down to 5 books on any given topic is difficult, to say the least. To narrow it down with Love as the topic is almost impossible. I'm willing to give it a try but choosing only from books I've actually read. And as usual, my lists are always of the moment, as likely to change as not.

1) ROMEO AND JULIET by William Shakespeare

It's a play, but I think it qualifies anyway.Thwarted love, idealized love, romantic love - Shakespeare gives us three in one. Of course, the ending is silly - but it's the sort of thing that makes for enduring myth. Lovers dying an overwrought death has been used over and over again since time began. Dying for love is the eternal grand gesture. But maybe not so much when you're fifteen or so. But still Shakespeare wrote some of the most beautiful words of love ever created.


Not a book about grand romantic love, but a book about love just the same. The practicalities of love have never been written about more charmingly or more astutely. For what is Miss Elizabeth Bennett but a very practical young lady?


This time it's the love for a house - a remarkable palatial estate in the English countryside that is loved in varying degrees by the characters in this book set in the 1930's and early 40's. The scene in which Charles Ryder, now a soldier weary of life, first sees the house again after several years, is thrilling. Just the view of the house, the memories that instantly spring to mind, bring him back to life in as rich a piece of writing as you'll ever read.

4) THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The folly of love. The love of a man for a woman who exists only as an idealized image. The Daisy Buchanan that Gatsby loves is unattainable, a chimera. In reality she is a woman unworthy of the love that Gatsby has attached to her - incapable of returning or even feeling the kind of love that inspires him. But he is too blinded to see.

5) ONE GOOD DOG by Susan Wilson

The story of a man who needed a second chance and the dog who gave it to him. The story of a dog who needed a second chance and the man who gave it to him. Well, you know there had to be a book about a dog in here. Who knows more about love than a dog?


  1. What a lovely theme for a book list!

    And Donna Leon's latest book Drawing Conclusions has a story about love and what lengths one will go to for one's loved one.

    And it makes the commissorio think about it and hope he's with his spouse for many more decades.

    When I think how many books have been written with love as a theme, it just boggles my mind.

  2. What's odd is that with your list, I have read everything but the last one. Part of the reason that I started doing these lists was because I wanted to keep up with what other people were reading. Sometimes I dig into my reading past, but I try to keep with things I've read this year. This is such a great way to get recommendations.

    Thanks for joining us again!

  3. Kathy: Yes, that's why my list is fluid. Subject to change. It's a lovely topic, but a very difficult one because it's such an universal topic.

  4. Cassandra: Blogging is such a learning experience. :)

    Definitely pick up ONE GOOD DOG. You will love it. I didn't think I'd like it when I first heard about it. But I simply could not put it down. It's wonderful.

  5. Hello Yvette:
    Excellent choices but, on balance, we should probably place Brideshead Revisited at the top of your list and then, digressing, would include all of Evelyn Waugh as a great favourite of ours for his unerring portrayal of the Bright Young Things of the 1920s and 1930s.

  6. The only one I've read on your list is the Austen...but I picked a different Austen for my list.

    Very interesting to see what we all pick.

  7. Jane and Lance: I've read a couple of other books by Waugh, but my favorite is still BRIDESHEAD REVISITED. In the others his view of love was just too cynical for me to include in this list.

  8. Bev: I'm headed over to your blog right this very minute to see what Austen book you chose. I think I know, but I'm not saying...

  9. Hi

    Haven't read Brideshead revisited or One Good Dog but now would like to.

  10. neer: Well, BRIDESHEAD is a classic for a very good reason: it's superb. At least I think it is. :) This is the least cynical of Waugh's work.

    ONE GOOD DOG is such a terrific book. Most especially if you love dogs. It's a wonderful story of redemption.

    I hope you'll get a chance to read these.

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  12. You're going to persuade me to read Pride and Prejudice yet. It's not that I object, but it's the TBR list and pile that are the obstacles (not to mention the movies).

    Now that I'm reading about Archie and the gang, as well as other series I follow, and global mysteries, my TBR list is ever-growing. And somehow the publishing companies keep churning out books even though I'm so far behind! The nerve! And kind, well-read bloggers keep suggesting good books everywhere I turn! What is a reader to do?

    I need a clone!

    So P&P is in my head.

  13. Kathy: I'm so glad it's in your head. Now we have to get that book in your hands. You'll just have to learn to juggle.

    But I know how you feel. I'm having trouble managing my reading. I've given up trying to organize anything.

    Next I have to learn not to worry about it all. :)

  14. Don't worry about it. Reading and blogging and watching movies are for entertainment, distraction and enjoyment, not a worry.

    I do juggle a lot; now five plates in the air. Am watching Rachel Maddow, reading mail, checking blogs, checking Google news and the NY Times, responding to emails, writing on blogs, checking for the Dagger awards, ordering a few books (comparing prices), organizing my piles of papers (Ha!) -- all while balancing ice on my head and making iced tea!

    All I want to do now is read about Archie, etc., but can't get to it.

    P&P may have to wait until the Fall and the summer heat is over.


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