I used to enjoy Valentine’s Day. Why? Candy! And in the days of local bookstores, we bought each other books. I recently found my copy of Margaret Atwood’s Life After Man, which my boyfriend (now husband) gave me on Valentine’s Day, 1979. He charmingly put a heart sticker on an endpage.
Valentine’s Day is Date Night. It is a girls’ holiday. I know all about it: I have written features on “100 Things to Do on Valentine’s Day.” No, writers do not wear lingerie while gathering information on calories in chocolate body paint and fixed-price dinners for two. After collating data and desperately inventing Thing # 100, a walk through the tropical plants in the Botanical Gardens followed by Caribbean-theme cocktails and coconut shrimp, we just want to wear sweatpants and watch Cary Grant movies. A romantic dinner? Maybe with fast food! A night of hot sex in a fancy hotel? Please! We spent our honeymoon night at a Holiday Inn in Frederick, Maryland, after getting married in Rockville (of the R.E.M. song) and loading our U-Haul for a move to the Midwest.
I love love, but on Sunday morning I had no idea it was Valentine’s Day.
Then at breakfast my husband gave me a chocolate-covered marshmallow and a Road Runner card from the Hy-Vee. The Road Runner jumps out of the card on a spring. The cats and I love it.
Thank God for the internet. A minute later I printed out a Top Cat picture and scrawled, “Happy Valentine’s Day: You’re the Top Cat!”
Oh my God! I could have done much better. Next year I’ll be prepared.
FOUR LITERARY LINKS
1. Nicholas Lezard writes at The Guardian about Anthony Briggs’ new translation of Pushkin’s novel in verse, Yevgeny Onegin (Eugene Onegin). I love Eugene Onegin and have enjoyed Briggs’ translations of War and Peace, Resurrection, and Tolstoy’s short stories. The problem? It’s not available yet in the U.S. It is published by Pushkin Press, a small publisher that specializes in literature in translation. (Last year I wrote here about the Penguin translation by Stanley Mitchell.)
2. I may have missed Valentine’s Day, but I enjoyed Ceridwen Christensen’s essay on science fiction romance, “Of Love and Robots,” at the Barnes and Noble blog.
3. Michael Dirda writes at The Washington Post about Melville House’s new series of interviews with authors, The Last Interview and Other Conversations.
4. Beiger Vanwesenbeek’s “Reading Madame Bovary in the Provinces” in the L.A. Review of Books helps us celebrate the 160th anniversary of its publication this year.