Love Across the Genres

February is fast approaching, and so is the opportunity for me to create another display at the library! Now, it's my goal to think outside of the box as much as possible, and though a "love" theme isn't too far out of that container for February, I'm attempting to put a unique spin on it: Love Across the Genres. In the next few days, I will be pulling general fiction, mysteries, science fiction, horror, graphic novels, nonfiction, and, yes, romance titles for a display celebrating that four letter word in coordination with that gooey, mushy holiday: Valentines Day. And I promise, no pink hearts, chocolates, or flowers will be seen on the shelf (unless, of course, they're on book covers). Here are a few of my favorite love stories that I'll be including on the display:

I'll start with Science Fiction. When I was in high school, I amassed quite the collection of the expanded Star Wars Series. I was almost obsessed, so you could imagine my eagerness to see each of the prequels in the theater as they were released. Then I read the novelizations. Because they were written from the script and included much more than the movies, I appreciated the latter much more. Among its many themes (good vs. evil, coming of age, etc.) the Star Wars saga developed a powerful love story with Episode II: Attack of the Clones and Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Though some may have found it trite, I appreciated the relationship between the young Anakin Skywalker and former Queen turned senator, Padmé Amidala. Blinded by a desire for power, Anakin unintentionally sacrificed his relationship with Padmé, and ultimately her life. "Anakin, you're breaking my heart....You're going down a path I cannot follow..." I remember thinking how simple that line was, but in reflecting on it, I grew to appreciate it. I feel I can relate to it because I've been in the situation in which someone you think you love turns into someone you don't know, and that's why I love the story so much.

How far can you stretch the definition of love? That's one question Toni Morrison's Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Beloved, forces readers to ask themselves. After having escaped from the bonds of slavery with her four children, the central character, Sethe, kills her daughter and attempts to kill her other three children when a posse arrives to return them to the plantation from which they fled. Rather than see them enslaved, beaten and tortured under the hands of Southern plantation owners, would you kill your own children? That's the underlying question this novel begs of us. Years later, as Sethe and her youngest, Denver, try to rebuild their lives in the free state of Ohio, the murdered daughter returns from the grave, angry and spiteful, to haunt their house, literally forcing the young mother to deal with the ghosts of her past. Sethe's story is engrossing and unforgettable--how far would you go to protect someone you love?

I love a good mystery, and the best thing about a cozy mystery series is the chance to get to know the protagonist almost as well as you do your own family. Starting with Grime and Punishment, Jill Churchill's Jane Jeffries Series provides a glimpse into the life of the aspiring author and Midwestern mother living in the suburbs of Chicago, dealing with the loss of her husband and a string of unrelated murders that surrounds her. In the most recent (and hopefully not final) installment, The Accidental Florist, Jane marries her longtime beau, Detective Mel VanDyne, and it wouldn't be a Churchill mystery without a murder! Mel convinces Jane and her friend to take a self defense class that ends up cut short when a dead body's found. So between the wedding planning, battling with her mother-in-law-to-be, and a new writing project, Jane takes it upon herself the solve the crime. This series was a favorite of my grandmother's, who recommended it to me, and I've enjoyed each quirky, quick read.

In order to keep my blog posts under novel proportions, I'll go ahead and stop there for this post and continue with more of my favorite love stories next week. In the meantime, I hope the start of your February is fantastic!