Valentine's Day: A Different Take on Romance

Valentine's Day is upon us, and the shmoopiest of holidays falling on a Friday is bound to make the pink-and-red heart-shaped celebrations even more... um, festive, shall we? I've never been a huge celebrator this day, but I do appreciate the nudge to step back and reconsider romance each year. This year, my thoughts turned some recent fiction that tackles the ever-tricky subject of love in less-than-usual ways:

The Lover's Dictionary, by David Levithan: This novel little book is written as a series of alphabetical dictionary definitions, each one defining a different aspect of love and romance--from those first glimpses of love at first sight to the heartbreak that comes with infidelity. Read my full review, in dictionary form, of The Lover's Dictionary--and be sure to consider this one if you appreciate writing that challenges the standard definition of the word "novel."

Marry Me, by Dan Rhodes: Rhodes' collection of startingly short fiction--some of the stories here are shorter than this blog post--comes at the subject of marriage through over 70 different perspectives. Most of the relationships here are dysfunctional ones, but they combine to paint an insightful, and often humorous, depiction of marriage at its finest--and most infamous--moments. Read my full review of Marry Me.

Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill: I already declared this to be one of my favorite books of 2014, and I stand by that assertion. Offill's novel is short and told in a series of clipped vignettes, often interspersed with quotes on philosophy and love. These short bits combine to tell the mundane story of a marriage in crisis in the least mundane of ways. I'm still thinking about it weeks after turning the last page. Read my full review of Dept. of Speculation.

What unusual romance reads am I missing?


  1. Lover's Dictionary is such a great and unique love story. I may need to re-read that today.

  2. YES YES YES Dept. of Speculation. YES!


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