20 January 2011

Who needs love?

So every year at the store we go from Christmas signage to Valentine's Day signage - with a brief stop-over for New Year's resolution-type books - in a blink.  So for six weeks we get to live with the Valentine's Day table brimming with relationship, sex, and dating books in varying shades of pink, pink-er pink, and red.  For someone who is always acutely aware that Valentine's Day is SAD (Singles Awareness Day) it can get old fast.

So I got to thinking "Why not an anti-Valentine's Day type of display?" Not neccessarily against Valentine's Day, per se, but one where the love stories don't end happily or not as the reader would wish.  Also known as no HEAs (Happily Ever Afters).  Just for a little balance.  And would be full of good books to read.  Why not, indeed.  So I made one (with input from a few other booksellers - the display is buried in the fiction section but I plan on catching unsuspecting book browsers with the sign "Who needs love?"):

The Time-Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Atonement by Ian McEwan
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey
Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman
Brick Lane by Monica Ali
The Sorrows of Young Werther by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
On Love by Alain de Botton

I deliberately went with more recent novels than classics (because if I did classics, Anna Karenina would be front and center followed by Jude the Obscure and Wuthering Heights as well as very obvious plays from Shakespeare).  Do you think I'm missing anything essential?

(Looking at this list again I must have had Booker awards on the brain....)
ETA: One or two things on the display that slipped my mind writing this post.


  1. I LOVE this idea! I'm sure I'll think of more soon, but it sounds so lovely right now.

  2. @Carrie - I added a few that I forgot were on the display. I put TTW at eye level; I will draw them in with a book they recognize then bombard them with good things to read *grin*

  3. @Pam: I think the most fun part was seeing the expressions on my fellow booksellers' faces when I pounced on them to ask for "tragic love stories or books where the lovers have a bad outcome".