Top Ten Tuesday is a regular feature on Pop! Goes The Reader in which I count down my top ten choices on a particular theme. This weekly event is hosted by Jamie at The Broke and the Bookish.
I’ll be the first to admit that I struggled a great deal with this week’s Top Ten Tuesday theme. While there was no specific prompt or question, the idea was to choose a topic in honour of Valentine’s Day. And therein lies the problem. It’s not that I don’t enjoy romance. One might even say I love it. (See what I did there?) In fact, I love every silly, sappy, swoon-worthy, rose-coloured moment of it. The meet-cute. The first date. The declaration. The misunderstanding. The grand gesture. The happy ending. There’s nothing that brings me greater joy.
When I think of my favourite literary couples, however, I typically find it difficult to pinpoint a particular scene, conversation or moment. Instead, I’m left with an overall impression of how the book or couple made me feel. The warm, nostalgic comfort of Jo and Laurie. The passionate, tempestuous angst of Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy. The charming, awkward quirks of Don and Rosie. The adorable, playful banter of Cath and Levi. So, I had to do a little research. Do some reading. Refresh my memory. Spend hours on Sunday afternoon, curled up in bed with all of my favourite books, brushing away happy tears as I watch my most beloved characters re-live their respective happily ever afters.
Hey. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it.
“I asked you a question over two years ago, Anne. If I ask it again today will you give me a different answer?”
Still Anne could not speak. But she lifted her eyes, shining with all the love-rapture of countless generations, and looked into his for a moment. He wanted no other answer.
“Nothing mattered much to me for a time there, after you told me you could never love me, Anne. There was nobody else – there never could be anybody else for me but you. I’ve loved you since that day you broke your slate over my head in school.”
“But I’ll have to ask you to wait a long time, Anne,’ said Gilbert sadly. “It will be three years before I’ll finish my medical course. And even then there will be no diamond sunbursts and marble halls.”
“I don’t want sunbursts and marble halls. I just want you. Sunbursts and marble halls may be all very well, but there is more ‘scope for imagination’ without them. And as for the waiting, that doesn’t matter. We’ll just be happy, waiting and working for each other – and dreaming. Oh, the dreams will be very sweet now.”
– Anne Of The Island by Lucy Maud Montgomery
“I’d know you in the dark,” he said. “From a thousand miles away. There’s nothing you could become that I haven’t already fallen in love with.”
He could kiss her.
“I know you,” he said.
– Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
“Love you! Girl, you’re in the very core of my heart. I hold you there like a jewel. Didn’t I promise you I’d never tell you a lie? Love you! I love you with all there is of me to love. Heart, soul, brain. Every fibre of body and spirit thrilling to the sweetness of you. There’s nobody in the world for me but you, Valancy.”
– The Blue Castle by Lucy Maud Montgomery
“Hi,” I say,
He smiles. “Hi.”
And then I kiss him for real, and he kisses me back, and his hands fist my hair. And we’re kissing like it’s breathing. My stomach flutters wildly. And somehow we end up horizontal, his hands curved around my back.
“I like this,” I say, and my voice comes out breathless. “We should do this. Every day.”
“Let’s never do anything else. No school. No meals. No homework.”
“I was going to ask you to see a movie,” he says, smiling. When he smiles, I smile.
“No movies. I hate movies.”
“Really, really. Why would I want to watch other people kissing,” I say, “when I could be kissing you?”
– Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
He looked straight at me, then stripped off the button-down he was wearing, under which he was wearing a passion-red T-shirt that said: You. Yes. You. Then he strummed the guitar and began singing his song for me. Yes. Me.
You, yes, you, linger inside my heart
The same you who stopped us before we could start
I didn’t want to leave, but you began to believe
Your own crocodile lies.
The only person stopping you is yourself,
You won’t accept that I want no-one else,
So until you do, I’ll let someone else have you
Every day, I live the lie
But not the crocodile kind.
– Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
“Jessica, we were perfect in our imperfection.”
“We are the way we are supposed to be.”
I placed my lips on top of his head, running them over his velvety crew cut. I breathed in his earthy and sweet scent and I needed to do more than kiss him. I needed to drink him. I needed to gobble him up. I needed –
I want you to be the first and the second and the third and the last, I thought.
And then we looked at each other and started laughing. I loved that we were lying there naked and laughing for no reason other than the fact that we – and nobody else – were us.
The entire universe as an interconnected whole.
– Second Helpings by Megan McCafferty
“You pierce my soul. I am half agony, half hope. (…) I offer myself to you again with a heart even more your own than when you almost broke it, eight years and a half ago. (…) I have loved none but you.”
– Persuasion by Jane Austen
“I like your glasses,” he said. “I like your Simon Snow T-shirts. I like that you don’t smile at everyone, because then, when you smile at me…Cather.” He kissed her mouth. “Look at me.”
“I choose you over everyone.”
– Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
He looked right back at me and he gave me a half smile. “You’re the brightest thing in the room,” he said. He lifted his hand from my waist, and slowly, carefully brushed a stray lock of hair from my cheek. “You shine.”
My breath caught in my throat. People said those kinds of things about Sloane – not about me.
“What?” Frank asked, his eyes on mine.
“Just…” I took a shaky breath. “Nobody’s ever said something like that to me.”
“Then they don’t see what I see,” he said.
– Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
“I mean, I should have known,” he said, leaning back a little and smiling at me. “It always happens this way.”
“The best discoveries always happened to the people who weren’t looking for them. Columbus and America. Pinzón, who stumbled on Brazil while looking for the West Indies. Stanley happened on Victoria Falls. And you. Amy Curry, when I was least expecting her.”
– Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
“In the contract we said we wouldn’t break each other’s hearts. What if we do it again?”
Fiercely he says, “What if we do? If we’re so guarded, it’s not going to be anything. Let’s do it fucking for real, Lara Jean. Let’s go all in. No more contract. No more safety net. You can break my heart. Do whatever you want with it.”
I put my hand to his chest, over his heart. I can feel it beating. I let my hand fall away. His heart is mine, just mine. I believe it now. Mine to protect and care for, mine to break.
I know now that I don’t want to love or be loved in half measures. I want it all, and to have it all, you have to risk it all.
So, I take Peter’s hand; I put it on my heart. I tell him, “You have to take good care of this, because it’s yours.”
He looks at me in such a way that I know for sure – he’s never looked at another girl quite like this.
And then I’m in his arms, and we’re hugging and kissing, and we’re both shaking, because we both know – this is the night we become real.
– P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han