4 Very Different Books on Lurrrrve

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Source: Tabbed Books
Essays in Love/On Love - Alain de Botton

'The telephone becomes an instrument of torture in the demonic hands of a beloved who doesn't call.'

de Botton's semi-autobiographical semi-fictitious work Essays in Love (On Love in the US) details the beginning of a relationship and its tumultuous journey as it moves forward. It begins, as it always does, in the most mundane of locations: an aeroplane. Although it is called a work of fiction, the main character is in fact Alain himself and I'd argue that no-one could write a book on love this well without it being based on some sort of truth. I'm a big fan of his non-fiction works and this novel didn't fail to impress me, having read it in about a week.

Source: Goodreads

The Unbearable Lightness of Being - Milan Kundera

'...loves are like empires: when the idea they are founded on crumbles, they, too fade away.'

Kundera's famous novel details the loves and lusts between Tomas (brain surgeon and prize asshole), Tereza (wife and photojournalist), and Sabina (mistress). It's deeply philosophical so doesn't make for light reading (I took it on a beach holiday to read, big mistake) and talks about how we each only have one life and what occurs in this one life will never happen again, the opposite of Nietzsche's theory of 'eternal recurrence'. I wouldn't be put off by the theory behind it, it's a very good read. There's also a film version with Daniel Day Lewis but I only ever got about halfway through. 

Source: Repeat Fanzine

Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

'Nelly, I am Heathcliff - he's always, always in my mind - not as a pleasure, any more than I am always a pleasure to myself - but, as my own being.'

Yes, Wuthering Heights, the non-love story. There's always so much argument over whether this is a love story, or a Gothic story, both, or neither. I'm on the side of both. It's a Gothic romance filled with ghosts, death, longing, tears (lots of tears) and violence. Heathcliff and Cathy are one of THE literary couples that people bring up, drenched in lust, obsession and unrequited love. It's a classic that should be read purely for its drama that resonates through generations and generations of the novel's characters, like a modern-day soap. 

Source: The Lightning Tree

Stardust - Neil Gaiman

'A philosopher once asked, " Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?" Pointless, really... "Do the stars gaze back?" Now that's a question.'

I'm a massive fan of the film that was adapted from this book and had seen it 10+ times before ever reading the book. I finally picked it up over Christmas and finished it within a few days, it's so beautiful but so different from the film. Whereas the film is certainly for families, the book is much more explicit, with sex scenes and quite a surprising amount of violence. The relationship between the two main characters is much more believable and hinges less on the 'fairy story' type tale that it first appears to be. I adore this book and I adore the film, both making me sob even when I know the story inside and out. Neil Gaiman is a master at his craft.

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