Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day!

Gotta love this sincere sentiment from Amazon: “Paper hearts get crumpled. Candy gets eaten. Flowers lose their petals and wilt. This year, give your sweetie something as enduring as your love. Show your affection with a…book.” You’re speaking my language, baby!

My picks for the best books about love, in no particular order:

Lolita – Humbert Humbert is indeed a pervert but he also really does love Dolores Haze and goes to great lengths to win her. Which seriously screws up everyone’s life –ain’t love grand? (See my anti-love list as well. I’m sorry, didn’t mean for the love cynicism to creep into the V-Day entry.)

Pride and Prejudice – ok, so I’ve been having lascivious dreams about Colin Firth as Mr Darcy. Females (and assorted males of my acquaintance), look me in the eye and tell me you haven’t. (Ditto Firth in Bridget Jones…mmm, mmm…”Nice boys don’t kiss like that…”) But I suppose Emma is the truer love story, and Mr Knightley isn’t quite as big a pain in the ass as Mr. Darcy is.

Rebecca – Truly one of the most romantic books of all time, right up there with Jane Eyre. Max deWinter, Mr. Rochester, Mr Darcy, Mr Knightley - I clearly like my men tall, dark, and difficult. (See Jitterbug Perfume below.)

Gone With the Wind – I adore Rhett, and so does Scarlett. I am just smarter than Scarlett and never found Ashley at all attractive to begin with.

The Beekeeper’s Apprentice – Subtle love story running throughout a mystery with Sherlock Holmes and his younger, female apprentice, Mary Russell. I was rooting for Mary from the word Go. And who knew Sherlock could be so sexy?

Bel Canto – You might think it’s merely Stockholm Syndrome, but it’s so much more.

The Golden Compass/The Subtle Knife/ The Amber Spyglass - Lyra and Will haunt me.

The Time Traveller’s Wife – Intriguing blend of sci fi and romance, and Henry deTamble is a librarian – see, it obviously exudes romance.

Around the House and in the Garden. Dominique Browning, the editor of House and Garden, is a lovely, contemplative writer, and this book about dealing with the aftermath of her divorce is, oddly, quiet and soothing.

Bridge to Terabithia. The meaning of real friendship, and its attendant joys and pain.

Jitterbug Perfume – I don’t remember much about this book but I do remember that it was the first book my husband ever gave me to read, and it was magical. It brought us together, for better or for worse as they say, and we’re still here. We’ve been through some seriously tough crap and learned a lot along the way, but we get better at it every day.

Daddy-Long-Legs and its sequel, Dear Enemy. Delightful love stories, and yes, that is the perfect word to describe them. Sorry.

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Simon and I both really enjoyed the heffalump movie. It was funny and sweet and made its compassionate, friendly point without being overly didactic (can you be normally didactic? Without being all preachy?) I personally loved when Rabbit opened his front door wearing curlers in his ears and a pink bathrobe. Watch out, here comes Jerry Falwell!
And I must admit, that baby heffalump was so insanely adorable that I want one of my own. Complete with Australian accent (or maybe it was Cockney) – at any rate, adorable with a capital A.

It was Simon’s first movie in the movie theatre, and it was so fun for me to watch how excited he was, by things I have long taken for granted. He couldn’t wait for the lights to go down; he couldn’t wait for the previews to be over and the movie to start; he kept asking if the movie was over because he did not want it to end and was anxious that it was going to just *stop*, and he made us sit all the way to the very end of all the credits “just in case” (just in case what? Pooh made a personal appearance? Who knows? Who cares, I waited.) He was even enthralled by the little animated Mickey Mouse logo at the end that came onscreen with a paintbrush and “painted” the Disney castle, a la the Wiggles. He was thrilled to eat popcorn and drink his lemonade, and had a blast walking around the lobby looking at all the posters for the movie. He now knows how to spell heffalump (very handy, that).

And I enjoyed thoroughly sitting in a movie theatre holding my baby on my lap, smelling his hair at will (he uses this yummy mango shampoo and normally he groans, “Mooooooooommm…” when I dare to sniff his head. When I think of how I used to have to sniff his butt to see if he was poopy…. sigh. Parents are so underappreciated.), hugging him, and reveling in his every giggle and smile. I highly recommend taking a four year old to a movie as an insta-cure for world weariness and cynicism.

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Good news: Ayelet Waldman now has a regular column on Salon. Check it out.

Bad news: Because she is now writing a regular column for Salon, Ayelet is no longer writing her blog, Bad Mother. I am thoroughly bummed; I just discovered her blog and felt as if I had found a friend worth cultivating. I’ll miss you, Ayelet, but I’ll catch you on Salon.

1 comment:

lilygurl said...

Nick Bantock's trilogy about Griffin and Sabine would fit this list, too, though as with many series, the first book was the best. Akin to literary devices used in the Time Traveler's Wife, Sabine is an artist who can see into Griffin's London life while she lives in the South Seas. The books are episolary and beautifully illustrated--the letters actually come out of the envelopes pasted on pages.