Love Takes Many Forms: A Valentine’s Day Reading List | Book*hug Press

Love Takes Many Forms: A Valentine’s Day Reading List

As much as love has been studied, questioned, and written about, there will always be unheard stories of love to share! These ten books honour love in its many forms, from familial and romantic love to the love of animals, nature, beauty, bicycles, and more.

The Loneliness in Lydia Erneman’s Life by Rune Christiansen, translated by Kari Dickson

Having grown up as an only child in Northern Sweden, Lydia is used to isolation and being alone. She fills her days with her love of animals, nature, and hard work. She eventually settles into a career as a vet in rural Norway and embraces the rhythms of country life. In a series of poetic sketches, Lydia tends to the animals in her community, spends time with her aging parents, and falls in love.

Remnants by Céline Huyghebaert, translated by Aleshia Jensen

For fans of Annie Ernaux, Remnants is a profound investigation of a father’s life and sudden death. With various voices and hybrid forms—including dialogues, questionnaires, photographs, and dream documentation—Huyghebaert builds a fragmented picture of a father-daughter relationship shaped by silences and missed opportunities. 

She Who Lies Above by Beatriz Hausner

In her latest book, Beatriz Hausner conjures love letters between Hypatia of Alexandria, the fourth-century Byzantine mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher, and her student and lover, Synesius of Cyrene. The result is a rigorous, hyper-layered collection of poems that are elegiac and erotic.

The Singularity by Balsam Karam, translated by Saskia Vogel

Lyrical and devastating, The Singularity is a breathtaking study of grief, loss, migration, memory, and motherhood from one of Sweden’s most exciting contemporary novelists. Balsam Karam weaves between two narratives in this formally ambitious novel and offers a fresh approach to language and aesthetic as she decenters a white European gaze. 

The Legend of Baraffo by Moez Surani

Within an extraordinary world, this sweeping and mythical story asks prescient questions about the nature of social change: is it better accelerated by those who seek total transformation or attained by those trying to work within the system?

Where Things Touch by Bahar Orang

Part lyric essay, part prose poetry, Where Things Touch grapples with the manifold meanings and possibilities of beauty. Throughout this stunning hybrid collection, beauty is ultimately imagined as something inextricably tied to care: the care of lovers, of patients, of art and literature, and the various non-human worlds that surround us. 

Learned by Carellin Brooks

Set in the 90s, alternating between the storied quads of Oxford University and the dank recesses of London pubs given over to public displays of queer BDSM, Learned chronicles poet and Rhodes Scholar Carellin Brooks’ extreme explorations of mind and body. Bold, nuanced, and ultimately triumphant, Learned chronicles an intimate education in flesh, desire, and bodily memory.

Heating the Outdoors by Marie-Andrée Gill, translated by Kristen Renee Miller

Heating the Outdoors describes the yearnings for love, the domestic monotony of post-breakup malaise, and the awkward meeting of exes. Gill’s poems, translated by Kristen Renee Miller, become a record of the daily rituals and ancient landscapes that inform her identity not only as a lover, then ex but also as an Ilnu and Québécoise woman.

Cyclettes by Tree Abraham

Part travelogue, part philosophical musing, Cyclettes probes the millennial experience, asking what a young life can be when unshackled from traditional role expectations yet still living in consistent economic and environmental uncertainty. The result is a disarming, welcoming work that asks us to consider what the influx of exploration and ennui means to our locality within the universe. 

People You Know, Places You’ve Been by Hana Shafi

In her latest collection, Hana Shafi examines our everyday connections to the people and places we encounter. People You Know, Places You’ve Been is an insightful, charming collection that offers a sense of shared recognition and nostalgia, ultimately asking: what if seemingly mundane places are the foundations of who you are?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Skip to content