The greatest story ever told

Saturday, February 14, 2015

It's probably no secret that I love books. And, between the nature of my job and my general personality, I read quite a bit. I'll read just about anything, but I love a good love story most of all.

I've read Nicholas Sparks before, and he's okay. I'm not a huge fan of the "big face" religious-themed literature (the term 'big face' came from a friend at Baker Publishing and is in reference to the fact that nine out of 10 Christian-lit titles have a large image of the main character's face on the cover).

Some of my favorite love stories aren't necessarily romantic, either. In little kid-lit (an area I've been increasingly more familiar with in the last four months), I love "Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes." It's a book celebrating the different cultures we all come from, and pointing out that we're not necessarily as different as we seem.

In middle-grade literature, I've loved Katherine Paterson's "Bridge to Terabithia" for a long time. It is one of my longest-loved books (since I was in elementary school). A story of friendship and wild imagination, it's absolutely one of the greats.

I fell in love with Rainbow Rowell's "Eleanor & Park" and "Fangirl" two years ago. "Eleanor & Park" features two relative outcasts (in the 1980s) who find first love in each other. "Fangirl" explores the world of fan-fiction, and of love and loss in the college years.

In terms of classic literature, I stick to one of the tried-and-true love stories: "Pride and Prejudice." What I love most about this book is Jane Austen's evenly-matched characters. Elizabeth Bennett is strong-willed and compelling, and Mr. Darcy is equal parts jerk and sensitive gentleman.

In more recently-released fiction, Shari Goldhagen's "In Some Other World, Maybe" and Kristin Hannah's "The Nightingale" came right to my mind. "In Some Other World, Maybe" answers that periodic question: Whatever happened to _? In contrast, "The Nightingale" shows the power of love between siblings, specifically in the turmoil of Nazi-occupied Paris during World War II.

Sometimes the best story is a love story, and these are just some of my current favorites. (With that in mind, any reader will tell you it's hard to pick a true favorite.)