Aug 13, 2013

30 Day Challenge: Day 20

Day 20: Favorite Romance Book

I'm not interested in the typical romance book. I've never read a Nicholas Sparks or Jodi Piccoult novel (and I don't like the movies either), and to be honest, I would have to Google who other romance novelists are even. This genre just isn't my thing. Romance doesn't feel as relatable in novel form I suppose. I'll probably find a lot of disfavor with romance readers by saying this, but true romance isn't so easily described that it can be "novelized."

Don't get me wrong, I like real romance: I love seeing elderly people hold hands or a family reunite, and I love how in love I am in my relationship, but to me romance writing is better found in poetry. Poetry implies the deeper feelings, the deeper thoughts, and the most sacred and scariest parts of being in love that is often hard to find in novels. It's so pure and so simple.
I'm a huge poetry reader and my favorite poet by far is Pablo Neruda. So much so, that my fiancĂ© even knows my favorite poems by him. While this isn't my favorite overall poetry book of Neruda's, it's one that encompasses so many of his love poems - Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair. Neruda's style speaks to me. It pulls me in, and it's relatable to the feelings of my own relationships. I have a few favorites, but of the love poems, the line that speaks to me the most is from Sonnet XVII. (It's even a possible selection for my wedding cake decor!)

"I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. / I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride; / so I love you because I know no other way"

I don't know how else to describe how his poetry makes me feel except that it opens up my whole being. And that is romance.

“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.” 

Isn't that beautiful?

Like D-Money, I am not a fan of typical romance books. I've never read a word of Danielle Steel or paged through The Notebook or wondered what makes E.L. James tick. It's just never been that appealing to me, to read such words on paper. I don't judge others for reading romance novels; if you're reading, you're a-okay in my book! They just don't call my name, aesthetically speaking. 

Which is not to say I'm not a fan of love. Quite the contrary, really. Back when I was blogging--a cathartic attempt to assimilate back into the states--I often wrote to my fascination with love: how it works, what it looks like, how it feels, why it happens. The analyst in me begs for something quantifiable about love, but the romantic, sentimentalist in me (the overwhelming majority of my being) is just so mystified by love that I'd rather keep it this unknowable, beautiful force that shapes millions and millions of lives each and every day.  

On that note, my choice is for today is a book that glorifies love in the most staggering way: Nicole Krauss' The History of Love. From her tender-hearted, beautiful prose, to the warm and often weepy characters, Krauss' work manages to keep readers in love with love. And, perhaps, that's what romance is: the love of love for the sake of love. The History of Love qualifies it as this enigmatic but stunning presence in our lives, and leaves it as an unknowable entity. 

Sappy? Sure. But that's okay, and that's love. 


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