Put a Little Heart In It

Vampire ValentineLet’s begin with a quick quiz: St. Valentine was:

a)  a priest in the Roman Empire who helped persecuted Christians during the reign of Claudius II, was thrown in jail and later beheaded on Feb. 14.

b)  a Catholic bishop of Terni who was beheaded, also during the reign of Claudius II.

c)  someone who secretly married couples when marriage was forbidden, or suffered in Africa, or wrote letters to his jailer’s daughter, and was probably beheaded.

d)  all, some, or possibly none of the above.

If you guessed d), give yourself a box of chocolates.* I tend to think the readers of this old blog probably have a vague notion of the history of Valentine’s, but quizzes are fun as long as they don’t count.

So…you’re welcome. Consider it my gift to you. Now, moving on from the educational portion of today’s post.

Another day, another list. I don’t know why, but I feel like lists are not the substantial, thoughtful posts I’d like to be producing, yet I do put time and effort into them… What a weird bias to have (against myself). Although I already did a post that could be called a love story list – in my own skewed opinion – I thought I’d take this opportunity to share some of my favorite books that have a little heart. In the title.

For your reading pleasure.

The Heart Does Not Grow Back // Fred Venturini. A surprisingly fun book about a man who can regrow various parts of himself…

Heart Shaped Box // Joe Hill. Nirvana inspired title. You can’t ask for more than that.

Heart of Darkness // Joseph Conrad. Dread, suspense, and the Congo River. You do not need anything else to celebrate today.

My Heart and Other Black Holes // Jasmine Warga. A sensitive and insightful portrayal of depression. I love a good science theme.

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter // Carson McCullers. A remarkable debut novel filled with the a yearn to escape small town life and incredible compassion and irony.

Hearts in Atlantis // Stephen King. Deeply rooted in the sixties (and spanning through the nineties), King uses interconnected stories to explore the way some are haunted by the Vietnam war.

Your Heart Is a Muscle the Size of Your Fist // Sunil Yapa. “Did they not find a connection between their obscene wealth and the obscene poverty all around them? Perhaps it was too much to suggest the fault was theirs alone. The upper class was too goddamn stupid to be blamed, frankly. But how could they do nothing? How could they look upon their fellow creatures suffering and do absolutely nothing?”

Only Love Can Break Your Heart // Ed Tarkington. Music and mystery and Southern Gothic. Yessss.

Written in My Own Heart’s Blood // Diana Gabaldon. Claire and Jamie. The ultimate love story.

Where the Heart Is // Billie Letts. I find the movie version to be more endearing, quite honestly, but we can all use a little humor and love in our life.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all. I hope it’s a good one. Any major “heart” books I missed?

*Quiz borrowed from American Catholic, though (sadly) the Catholic Church no longer honors St. Valentine. Image found here (via etsy).

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