Admit it. Everyone loves their fair share of drama, usually on the big screen or on Netflix, but I believe in the power of books. Specifically, rom-coms bound in hardcover that keep you flipping through the pages way past your bedtime, which I prefer over movies. Whether you prefer the more traditional style or a fun, modern twist on a classic love story, it’s easy to let yourself indulge in the heart-tingling storyline of a cliche fairy tale ending. So step aside Nicholas Sparks movies; you’ve got some serious competition when it comes to my favorite romance novels that’ll leave you feeling fluttery on Valentine’s Day!
Most students can barely remember the last time they picked up a novel for fun. It’s understandable, considering that we are in the middle of winter term and barely have time to complete our assignments, study for midterms and find room for eating and sleeping. But the next time you decide to scroll through Netflix’s recommendations, consider picking up a book instead. What better genre than romance for this time of year?
When I’m not on co-op, I’m guilty of going months without even thinking of reading a book during my downtime, especially after all that time I spend reading my biology textbook. This is when I dive into “beach-reads”: books that are short, sweet and can easily be finished over the course of a week. These novels tend to follow the same romantic theme of two people falling in love, yet something keeps them apart for a while, and in the end, they live happily ever after. They may be predictable, but “beach-reads” are the kind of books that make you lovingly sigh and want to keep reading. My current favorite, “The Royal We” by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, is a spin on Kate Middleton and Prince William’s love story, this time featuring an American falling head over heels for the British prince. From the moment you meet the characters, you feel yourself slip into their shoes and within minutes, you’re transported to the dorms of Oxford University.
This is where most people tell me “you can feel those exact same emotions while watching a movie!” and question why I’m wasting all this time reading when I could be enjoying something onscreen instead. Personally, I have to be in a specific mindset before watching a movie, or else I have trouble paying attention and can’t follow the storyline. Usually, if I’m preoccupied by something, I won’t find the movie as enjoyable, which defeats the purpose of having a movie night in the first place. Romance movies tend to be longer to make up for all the character development a book contains in just a couple of chapters. This means that when watching a movie, it takes a longer time before emotions are evoked.
Books, on the other hand, can easily be picked up. From the beginning, you feel that tugging at your heartstrings. In general, romance movies tend to create plots which require a lot of concentration from the viewer to grasp the whole experience. There also tends to be an unnatural amount of rain and disaster that can turn a cute storyline to cringe-inducing one.
When a movie intensifies the simple love story for dramatic effect, it loses the light-heartedness a book is able to perfectly capture. It’s reading about this care-free love that has people coming back for more. Romance novels have the magical ability to use just the right words to pull the reader in, instead of relying on visual content. You are instantly whisked away into a different world, where you can imagine what is around you. Reading in general also provides you with cultural knowledge that you can’t find on Hulu, which is surprisingly true for romance novels as well. Whether the characters are falling in love on the cobblestone streets of Paris or exploring the wildlife of the Australia’s outback, you are exposed to new lifestyles and experiences.
When it comes to books, romance has a wide collection of books that can be selected based on how much time a reader can devote to the it. There are the “beach-reads,” traditional style, romance combined with sci-fi, mystery and even adventure, if that’s more like your cup of tea.
You don’t have to be a die-hard lover of books to enjoy what romance novels have to offer, especially when there are so many different subgenres to choose from. Though dinner and a movie is one of the most popular date ideas, maybe you’ll consider picking up a book instead this season. There are many romance novels out there on the shelves, and I hope you find one that is able to fill your heart this Valentine’s day. Happy reading!