It’s February, and that means it’s Valentine’s day! You either felt some strange excitement at that statement, or you rolled your eyes. Well, there is a book recommendation in this month’s article for both of those responses.

This month’s book range all have a common thread of romance flowing through their pages. I hope at least one of them appeals to you!

1Q84 – Haruki Murakami

Genre: Romance/Magical Realism/Fiction

What’s in the pages? The year is 1Q84, there are two moons in the sky, but this is the real world, as real as the one you and I live in. Our protagonists are Gym Instructor Aomame and Ghostwriter Tengo. Their lives are intertwined, and their fates have been twisting since childhood, but as they each embark on something perilous, can both of them be saved or must one sacrifice themselves to protect the other?

Why should you read it? I’m going to preface this review by saying this book is not for everyone. Spanning 1,300 pages over three volumes, this is a slow-burning novel about love, life and the consequences of your actions. The story develops along with you as you read it, so although at times it can be painfully slow, it feels as though it can’t go much faster and that is the virtue of Murakami’s writing. His style is delicate, brash, enchanting and heartbreaking all at the same time. Having worked on his craft for 30 years at the time of publishing, Murakami is a master of his craft, and this is his Magnum Opus – and what an achievement it is.

SAGA VOL. 1-9 (Ongoing) – Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples

Genre: Romance/Science Fiction/Fiction

What’s in the pages? Landfall & Coalition – Two worlds in a never-ending intergalactic conflict for generations. Alana and Marko are two star-crossed lovers who risk everything to be together and bring new hope of life into this ever more disruptive existence in which they both live.

Why should you read it? This graphic novel series is incredible. I can see the snobs rolling their eyes at the mention of a ‘comic’ or ‘graphic novel’ being recommended in a book review column. However, I promise you that this is one of the best series of books I have ever read. It takes a similar story of Romeo & Juliet and flips it on its head by including space aliens, humanoids with TV heads and outer space. A space opera at its finest, this series is dense, tense and visually stunning. It’s a real literacy accomplishment, and I recommend it to anyone who wants to burst their graphic novel cherry.

Dear Fahrenheit 451: Love and Heartbreak in The Stacks – Annie Spence  

Genre: Romance/Humour/Non-Fiction

What’s in the pages? Annie Spence is a librarian who writes love and break up letters to the books in her life. Through the lens of these letters, she comments on the world we live in and the issues we deal with in our modern existence.

Why should you read it? Dear Dear Fahrenheit 451, I have a date for Valentine’s day – It’s with you!  You might be the perfect book; significant statement, however I think that might be the case. I decided to end 2019 with you because I thought you would be easy. You were, but you were also so much more! You were beautiful, fun, joyful and frankly a book lover’s dream. Reading you was like talking to a best friend about your favourite books, and for the most part, I agreed with a lot of what you said (except for The Goldfinch, I just don’t get it).

If anyone needs an escape from life for a little while I recommend you read this book. It’s ridiculous, witty and charming.

I’ve fallen in love with your pages, and I’m excited to re-read you.

For more book recommendations follow Joel’s Instagram @neurodiversebookworm.