Top 5: Romance
“Island Apart” by Steve Raichlen – A surprising story of love, loss, redemption, and really good food. Set on Chappy, this wonderful novel has it all.
“Safe Haven” by Nicholas Sparks – An endearing yet heartbreaking love story by a master storyteller.
“The House at Tyneford” by Natasha Solomons – A page-turning tale of family, love, loss, and the power of the human spirit set against the perennially popular backdrop of WWII England, Natasha Solomons’ “The House at Tyneford” is upmarket romantic fiction at its best.
“Gone With the Wind” by Margaret Mitchell – A timeless classic.
“The Time Traveler’s Wife” by Audrey Niffenegger – A dazzling novel in the most untraditional fashion. A spellbinding tale of fate and belief in the bonds of love.
Book Den East
“Love Story” by Erich Segal (1970) – The tender tale that sprang from the emotional fount of the love-in generation and brought us the tear-jerking movie of a now by-gone era ($20).
“Marry Me” by John Updike (1976) – A novel of infidelity set in the moral twilight of the early sixties, where “there’s just enough to torment us, and not enough to hold us in,” according to one of the protagonists ($35).
“Dating Game” by Danielle Steel (2003) – Her 57th novel of love, the second (or 57th?) time around ($14).
“Mating” by Norman Rush (1991) – A delightful romantic romp of two Americans in the Kalahari Desert. The gods must be crazy ($20).
“Lady Chatterley’s Lover” by D.H. Lawrence (1983 edition, with some of his explicit paintings) – The iconic tale, still refreshingly readable ($20).
Bunch of Grapes
“Say Her Name” by Francisco Goldman – Barely two years into his marriage, Francisco Goldman and his wife, Aura Estrada, take a belated honeymoon. She dies of a broken neck while body surfing. Filled with both grief and guilt, Goldman brings his love back to life in this novel. It is written with tenderness, candor, and even humor. Out of despair comes a masterpiece.
“The Love of My Youth” by Mary Gordon – Miranda and Adam were sweethearts and first loves at age 17 inRome. When they, in their late 50s, coincidentally meet in Rome, they are able to slowly untangle their long-held interpretations of what had caused their break-up so long ago. This is a poignant look at what happens to the hopes and dreams of first love and what becomes of them.