I’ll confess: Valentine’s Day has never been my favorite holiday; as many of you may already know, I’m (ahem) somewhat more partial to Halloween.
But Valentine’s Day in 2021 comes with even more horrors than usual. If you’re one of the lucky ones who has a great relationship, you won’t be celebrating this year with a romantic cruise or a candlelit dinner at your favorite restaurant. If you’re single, no movie night with friends in the same sitch…or, well, yeah, you can still do a movie night, but you just have to do virtually this year. Somehow it’s not the same.
But what is the same is reading a book. Books haven’t changed during the pandemic; in fact, they’re hipper than ever. And given the rest of this last year, how about a really twisted, messed-up romance to celebrate this year’s particular unHappy Valentine’s Day?
With that in mind, here are a few we pulled from our shelves. If you’d like to grab any of these, we are open for in-store shopping or curbside pickup, and we can also mail order; click on the title to purchase. Or come on in and pick your own nasty little (dysfunctional) love story!
WARNING: Many of these books are not for the fainthearted or the squeamish. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Wuthering Heights: A Play by John Davison, based on the novel by Emily Bronte. Here’s an interesting adaptation of the GOAT everything-goes-wrong love story. $4.00
Gerald’s Game by Stephen King. Misery and Gerald’s Game may be King’s most terrible love stories. If you need a reminder: this is the one about a middle-aged couple who go to a house in the middle of nowhere, where they engage in a little handcuff play to spice it up…and things go really, REALLY wrong. $8.95
Go Down Together: The True, Untold Story of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn. Here’s something for you non-fiction readers who want to experience true love… $12.50
Exquisite Corpse by Poppy Z. Brite. Andrew and Jay have a thing going…oh, yeah, and they’re also serial killers. $7.50
The Postman Always Rings Twice, Double Indemnity, Mildred Pierce, and Selected Stories by James M. Cain. Did anybody ever do conniving, scheming lovers better than Cain? This Everyman’s Library edition includes some of his best stuff. Lots of gasp-inducing dysfunction here. $10.00
Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, and the Marriage of the Century by Sam Kashner & Nancy Schoenberger. Okay, so maybe Dick and Liz had a better relationship than most of the others on this list…but their mess-ups were more public. $4.95
In the Lake of the Woods by Tim O’Brien. O’Brien may be most well-known for his incredible Vietnam War novels like Going After Cacciato, but he’s good at writing about more intimate wars, too. $7.50
Better by John O’Brien. What is it about guys named O’Brien and awful-relationship novels? This is one by the author of Leaving Las Vegas, and it centers on a character called “Double Felix.” ‘Nuff said. $4.95
Off Limits: Tales of Alien Sex edited by Ellen Datlow. Let’s not forget that science fiction writers can write twisted romance stories, too. $10.00
Sylvia and Ted by Emma Tennant. A fictionalized account of the famously difficult relationship between poets Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes. $7.50