With Valentine's Day around the corner, start prepping with romantic reading. Pour through some great romance novels or skim through some good love poems and top love quotes.
Who knows? You may feel inspired to pick up a pen and write your own sonnets for your sweetheart. You can make them as serious or as funny as you'd like, and as formal or informal as you'd like. "Thou art fill-in-the-blank"? Go for it.
Read these bon mots. And then wax poetic yourself. (A fancy pen helps the words flow.)
"Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time" — Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman), in "Casablanca"
"Why have hamburger when you have steak at home?" — actor Paul Newman (explaining why he never cheated on Joanne Woodward, his wife for a half century)
"If you would be loved, love and be lovable" — Benjamin Franklin
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. You may not have read this 1813 classic about Elizabeth Bennet, who wants to marry for love, since high school. Give it a fresh try.
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Sure, this novel about two teens with cancer who fall in love is officially classified as "young adult." But readers of all ages laugh and cry throughout it.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. The teens-killing-teens plotline sounds unromantic. But book No. 1 will hook you on the love triangle with heroine Katniss and her two admirable, good-looking suitors, Peeta and Gale.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. See the movie, too, by all means, for lines like this one from Rhett Butler: "You should be kissed and often, and by someone who knows how." Anything by Nora Roberts. Truly. Sure, her novels are guilty pleasures. But you want happily-ever-after stories for Valentine's Day, don't you? And if anyone accuses you of reading junk, note that the high-brow New Yorker ran a long profile of Nora Roberts.
Arthur's Valentine by Marc Brown. Share any of the wonderful children's picture books about Valentine's Day with grandkids or other little ones in your life. In this one, Arthur receives a Valentine from a secret admirer.
From the Victorian-era poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning:
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace….
From Shakespeare in "Romeo and Juliet":
My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.
For more stories about love and romance, read: