In Catalunya, the locals don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day, but they do have a romantic holiday of their own called La Diada de Sant Jordi. Traditionally, on this day, men give their love interest a rose, and women give their love interest a book. Of course, we at Idlewild fully support bringing this tradition to America! So if you’d like to make New York a little more like Barcelona, why not give one of these romantic books to your love interest, whatever your gender?

 

FRENCH LOVE POEMS — For the Francophile in your life, this small and beautiful bilingual edition will speak the language of love in the words of great French poets like Rimbaud, Éluard, and Apollinaire.

 

POEMS, C.P. Cavafy — The great Greek poet of Alexandria wrote erotically charged poems about other men in a time when such desires were dangerous.

No one would have seen us. But
we were so on fire for each other
that caution was beyond us anyway…
quick baring of flesh – the image of it
has crossed twenty-six years; and now has come
to stay here in this poetry.

 

THE SAILOR FROM GIBRALTAR, Marguerite Duras — Marguerite Duras’ lush, sometimes transgressive prose has become famous in works like The Lover and Hiroshima Mon Amour. In this lesser-known work, a Frenchman sick of his life leaves everything behind to join the crew of a yacht captained by a beautiful American woman on a perpetual search for her lost lover, the “Sailor from Gibraltar.”

 

A FAREWELL TO ARMS, Ernest Hemingway — The most romantic of the great American classics, A Farewell to Arms tells the story of a love doomed by the grand political events of a mad world. Henry, a soldier in World War I, begins a secret romance with a nurse, Catherine, who has already lost one lover. Their perfect symbiosis represents Hemingway’s ideal of a male-female relationship.

Often a man wishes to be alone and a girl wishes to be alone too and if they love each other they are jealous of that in each other, but I can truly say we never felt that. We could feel alone when we were together, alone against the others. But we were never lonely and never afraid when we were together.

 

LOVE POEMS, Pablo Neruda — One of the classics of romantic poetry, this book has been beloved since Neruda published it. This small, beautiful edition is the perfect gift for a lover of Latin American literature in particular or world literature in general.

 

UNSEEN POEMS, Rumi — Rumi is the great poet of love in the Islamic world, but not so well known to the wider world. This small book is a wonderful introduction to his poems, including some of his most romantic verses.

My face is a hundred times brighter when I see your face.
My soul is a hundred times happier when your soul is near.
When the mirror of my life is polished by your love,
The mirror of my world is no longer dark and dull.