For the last couple of years on Valentine's I've shared a topical bookish post. In 2014 I talked about my unrealistic expectations of men formed by years of romantic reading, and in 2015 I shared five classics to read on Valentine's Day. This year I'm turning the tables and going for an anti-Valentines's book list. Featuring eight classics and more than enough doomed relationships, this is the perfect list to work through if you're more in the mood for misery than romance.
Anna Karenina by Leo TolstoyFrom the very start of this novel we just know that Anna is doomed - by the society she lives in and her own insecurities and jealousy. Not sure the train was the answer, but who knows.
Madame Bovary by Gustav FlaubertWhen I wrote about Madame Bovary ages ago here, I said that 'I had a sudden urge to delve into the lives of other suicidal, over-sexed and under-appreciated women' after finishing Anna Karenina. I think that covers it. This is a hopeless novel and the hopelessness lingers well beyond the final page.
Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnOut of this whole list I think Nick and Amy Dunne are the two people I would least like to meet. Murderous, manipulative and just downright mean, these two are just as bad as each other and thoroughly deserve what's coming.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldDaisy and Gatsby's relationship is proof that being in love with the idea of someone, rather than who that person really is, will never work out. Plus greed, jealously etc. etc.
Great Expectations by Charles DickensAs much as I disliked Estella I did hope that her and Pip would be able to make a go of it the whole way through the novel. I'm still mad at Miss Havisham for manipulating Estella's personality and her friendship with Pip.
Save Me the Waltz by Zelda FitzgeraldAlabama and David Knight's relationship and marriage in this novel is thought to be a thinly veiled version of Zelda's own marriage to F. Scott. As turbulent a relationship as you can imagine.
1984 by George OrwellIt was just never going to end well for Winston and Julia whose every move is dogged by Big Brother and the threat of Room 101 looms menacingly in the background.
The Phantom of the OperaAh the dangers of obsession. Although I have a soft spot for the Phantom in the movie version, he is slightly more sinister in the book. Definitely best avoided IRL.
What are you in the mood for this Valentine's weekend - misery or romance?