Full disclaimer: I don't get Valentine's Day. I don't see the reason for a day devoted to expressing your love for someone/some people, when you should be doing that every day. Yet I have a tradition with my family where we have a Valentine's dinner every year, and even when I'm at college we find a way to make it work. I love sitting down at a fancy meal with my parents and sister, with candles and candy as our centerpiece, and switching up our daily dinners. Valentine's Day doesn't have to be about romantic love; it can by family and friend love too.
To support expressing that kind of love, I've complied a list of books I feel do a good job of celebrating family and friend bonds. Good Valentine's reads that explore friendship and family, and leave you feeling good!
- The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein. An unexpected love story about a dog's devotion to his owner that explores the connection humans feel to their pets from a fresh perspective. It will get you thinking about how we relate to animals and just what we mean to them.
- "Tenth of December" in Tenth of December by George Saunders. This short story creates unlikely friends, but demonstrates how love can come suddenly to even strangers, and lead us to do the most powerful things. (While you're at it, read the whole collection of weird but awesome short stories.)
- Little Women by Lousia May Alcott. If you feel like digger into a longer story, reach for this classic about the love of four sisters for each other, their mother, and their father. Sure, some significant others show up, but they never seem to compare to the connections this family feels for each other.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. This book almost makes me like Steinbeck (if you've ever read The Red Pony, you'll understand my dislike). Another classic that explores just how far friendships will stretch us, it approaches an impossible situation about love and makes us resolve it.
- Holes by Louis Sachar. It seems like it's just a book about a boy who wrongfully is sent to prison camp because of a family curse, but the family ties are a continuous theme throughout this book. Without his supportive parents, Stanley could have been in a way worse situation. Even though the Yelnats are constantly thrown into unsavory situations, they stay together and love each other, no matter what.
What are your favorite books to read on Valentine's Day?