I love Valentine's Day! There. I said it.
I know plenty of people out there think Valentine's Day is an overly commercial faux holiday, and to some extent I can see why. After all, it is a day when people (especially men?) can feel forced to celebrate romance. Call me an overly sentimental romantic if you want to, but I still adore the idea and practice of a day devoted to romance and love.
Sure, you can argue that Valentine's Day is a contrived holiday, created by the greeting card companies, but I respectfully disagree. Celebrations of romance on Valentine's Day date as far back as the Middle Ages. Chaucer himself noted the day as one set aside to send greetings, trinkets and candy to sweethearts (though, to be fair, it's not likely he was referring to the actual date of Feb. 14). Sending cards and notes for Valentine's Day was a pretty big trend during the Victorian era, too.
So if you're a romantic like me, the next time someone cynically disparages Valentine's Day as somehow false or a modern commercial construct, you can tell them that you'd put your money on the fact that Chaucer never set foot in a Hallmark store, and neither had the Victorians.
Of course, as a romantic fiction advocate, one of my favorite things to do for Valentine's Day is to read romance novels, and my, this is a great time to do that! So many great ones to choose from recently — I've picked out some of the best for you.
Happy Valentine's Day. I hope it's filled with love and romance — and some great books!
Bobbi Dumas is a freelance writer based in Madison, Wis. She mostly reviews for Kirkus Media, and she discusses books on her blog ReadWriteLove.net.