Not Your Average Valentine: Book List

As we approach that lovely February holiday, our team got thinking about the real meaning of “love” and the many forms and types it takes. While normally we promote the romantic tales of Shakespeare and Nicholas Sparks, this year we’re doing things differently and highlighting realistic stories of romantic, platonic, and self-love! Check out our awesome reading list below that highlights some not-so-fairytale love stories!

Visit lib.fsu.edu and use the Catalog Search feature to look up keywords from the book title. Set your search filters to “ebooks” to narrow down your search results.

My Ex-Life

Author: Stephen McCauley
Description: David Hedges’s life is coming apart at the seams. His job helping San Francisco rich kids get into the colleges of their (parents’) choice is exasperating; his younger boyfriend has left him; and the beloved carriage house he rents is being sold. His solace is a Thai takeout joint that delivers 24/7.
The last person he expects to hear from is Julie Fiske. It’s been decades since they’ve spoken, and he’s relieved to hear she’s recovered from her brief, misguided first marriage. To him.
Julie definitely doesn’t have a problem with marijuana (she’s given it up completely, so it doesn’t matter if she gets stoned almost daily) and the Airbnb she’s running out of her seaside house north of Boston is neither shabby nor illegal. And she has two whole months to come up with the money to buy said house from her second husband before their divorce is finalized. She’d just like David’s help organizing college plans for her seventeen-year-old daughter. 
Stephen McCauley has written a novel that examines how we define home, family, and love. Be prepared to laugh, shed a few tears, and have thoughts of your own ex-life triggered.
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

The Namesake

Author: Jhumpa Lahiri
Description: Meet the Ganguli family, new arrivals from Calcutta, trying their best to become Americans even as they pine for home. The name they bestow on their firstborn, Gogol, betrays all the conflicts of honoring tradition in a new world—conflicts that will haunt Gogol on his own winding path through divided loyalties, comic detours, and wrenching love affairs.
In The Namesake, the Pulitzer Prize winner Jhumpa Lahiri brilliantly illuminates the immigrant experience and the tangled ties between generations.
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

Little Women

Author: Louisa May Alcott
Description: Set in nineteenth century New England, Little Women follows the lives of the four March sisters-Jo, Beth, Amy and Meg. The novel is a classic rites of passage story, that has often split literature critics but has been adored by many over the years. 
The book is semi-autobiographical, with Jo Marsh mirroring the life of an ambitious Alcott. Just like Alcott, Jo is a strong, independent woman who is fighting through her domestic duties to do what she truly loves. Writing is Jo’s passion and in a world where women are expected to put personal growth aside in order to withhold traditional family values, she is met with many challenges.
Where to Find: Visit lib.fsu.edu and use the Catalog Search feature to look up keywords from the book title. Set your search filters to “ebooks” to narrow down your search results. Use the link provided in the catalog to access the digital content.

The Duke and I

Author: Julie Quinn
Description: The Book that Inspired the recent Netflix hit Bridgerton tells the truth about entering the marriage society. Daphne finds out the hard way that not everyone will marry for love.
By all accounts, Simon Bassett, the Duke, is on the verge of proposing to his best friend’s sister–the lovely and almost-on-the-shelf–Daphne Bridgerton. But the two of them know the truth–it’s all an elaborate ruse to keep Simon free from marriage-minded society mothers. And as for Daphne, surely she will attract some worthy suitors now that it seems a duke has declared her desirable …
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

Once Ghosted, Twice Shy

Author: Alyssa Cole
Description: With a prince right in front of her, you would think Likotsi would be happy with her love life, however she is distracted by another woman she met on a dating app. This woman went on to break her heart but will their attempt to rekindle be successful? Back in NYC again, she’s determined to rediscover her joy — so of course she runs into the woman who broke her heart. When Likotsi and Fabiola meet again on a stalled subway train months later, Fab asks for just one cup of tea. Likotsi, hoping to know why she was unceremoniously dumped, agrees. Tea and food soon leads to them exploring the city together, and their past, with Fab slowly revealing why she let Likotsi go, and both of them wondering if they can turn this second chance into a happily ever after.
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

The Velveteen Rabbit

Author: Margery Williams Bianco
Description: A story about a love between a child and their favorite toy is the old-timer’s Toy Story.  A stuffed rabbit sewn from velveteen is given as a Christmas present to a small boy. The boy plays with his other new presents and forgets the velveteen rabbit for a time. These presents are modern and mechanical, and they snub the old-fashioned velveteen rabbit. The wisest and oldest toy in the nursery, the Skin Horse, which was owned by the boy’s uncle, tells the rabbit about toys magically becoming real due to love from children. The rabbit is awed by this idea, however his chances of achieving this wish are slight. His mission to to find love within the small boy will be a journey as he hopes to become real. 
Where to Find: Visit lib.fsu.edu and use the Catalog Search feature to look up keywords from the book title. Set your search filters to “ebooks” to narrow down your search results. Use the link provided in the catalog to access the digital content.

The Hours

Author: Michael Cunningham
Description: “The Hours” is the story of three women searching for more potent, meaningful lives. Each is alive at a different time and place, all are linked by their yearnings and their fears. Their stories intertwine, and finally come together in a surprising, transcendent moment of shared recognition. In The Hours, Michael Cunningham draws inventively on the life and work of Virginia Woolf to tell the story of a group of contemporary characters who are struggling with the conflicting claims of love and inheritance, hope and despair. The novel opens with an evocation of Woolf’s last days before her suicide in 1941, and moves to the stories of two modern American women who are trying to make rewarding lives for themselves in spite of the demands of friends, lovers, and family.” 
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

Snow White and Rose Red

Author: Collected by the Brothers Grimm
Description: No relation to Snow White of the seven dwarfs! This is a story about two sisters, who are opposites in every way except their love for each other. Loads of fairy tales feature sibling rivalry, so the loving and supportive relationship between Snow White and Rose Red is a deeply heartwarming change of pace. One winter’s night, the two sisters decide to shelter a talking, intelligent bear from the cold, and this sets them on the path towards their happily-ever-after. This is a sweet, simple tale of sisterly love and the wonderful things that can happen when you offer help to someone in need.
Where to Find: Visit lib.fsu.edu and use the Catalog Search feature to look up keywords from the book title. Set your search filters to “ebooks” to narrow down your search results. Use the link provided in the catalog to access the digital content.

The Kiss Quotient

Author: Helen Hoang
Description: When a woman with Asperger’s in her 30’s wants more practice in the dating world as her experience has been limited, she decides she needs lots of practice–with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can’t afford to turn down Stella’s offer, and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan–from foreplay to more-than-missionary position … Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses, but crave all of the other things he’s making her feel. Their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic. This heartwarming and refreshing debut novel proves one thing: there’s not enough data in the world to predict what will make your heart tick. 
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

Love in the Time of Cholera

Author: Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Description:  In their youth, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza fall passionately in love. When her father’s demands get in the way, Fermina eventually chooses to marry a wealthy, well-born doctor and Florentino is heartbroken, but he is a romantic. As he rises in his business career he whiles away the years in 622 affairs—yet he reserves his heart for Fermina. Her husband dies at last, and Florentino purposefully attends the funeral. Fifty years, nine months, and four days after he first declared his love for Fermina, he will do so again, but will the love be as real as they once thought? 
Where to Find: Visit lib.fsu.edu and use the Catalog Search feature to look up keywords from the book title. Set your search filters to “ebooks” to narrow down your search results. Use the link provided in the catalog to access the digital content.
Movie Access: Physical copy of DVD is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

Never Let Me Go

Author:  Kazuo Ishiguro
Description: This is a no-so-love story disguised in another intriguing plot. Hailsham seems like a pleasant English boarding school, far from the influences of the city. Its students are well tended and supported, trained in art and literature, and become just the sort of people the world wants them to be. But, curiously, they are taught nothing of the outside world and are allowed little contact with it. Within the grounds of Hailsham, Kathy grows from schoolgirl to young woman, but it’s only when she and her friends Ruth and Tommy leave the safe grounds of the school (as they always knew they would) that they realize the full truth of what Hailsham is. Kathy, Tommy, and Ruth find themselves in a love triangle but are not quite sure how to navigate it as they have been sheltered their whole lives. Who will be forced to move on?
Where to Find:Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

Where the Crawdads Sing

Author: Delia Owens
Description: Where the Crawdads Sing is about a girl and her love and passion for nature. The people surrounding her do not quite understand this love and misinterpret who she really is. She’s barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark. But Kya is not what they say. Abandoned at age ten, she has survived on her own in the marsh that she calls home. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life lessons from the land, learning from the false signals of fireflies the real way of this world. But while she could have lived in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world — until the unthinkable happens.
Where to Find: Physical copy is available at Strozier for Curbside Pickup.

The Love Letters of Abelard and Heloise

Author: Pierre Abélard and Héloïse d’Argenteuil
Description: Reading these authentic love letters will tell the story of the 12th-century French philosopher Pierre Abélard and his pupil Héloïse. While this relationship is problematic for some, others would say that Abélard and Héloïse’s relationship is the very definition of love, even if their story is far from perfect.  Héloïse is known for expressing controversial portrayals of gender and marriage in precedence of modern feminism and is an important figure in French literary history and in the establishment of women’s representation in scholarship. 
Where to Find: Visit lib.fsu.edu and use the Catalog Search feature to look up keywords from the book title. Set your search filters to “ebooks” to narrow down your search results. Use the link provided in the catalog to access the digital content.

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