Since February is a month widely associated with happiness, as it plays host to Valentine’s Day, and reading and movie nights are two things that make me very happy, I thought I’d share some of my top recommendations for books and movies with connections to love for you to enjoy this month.

My choices may seem a bit odd at first but bear with me and all will become clear.

Books

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

I will take every opportunity I get to rave about the Harry Potter series, but do not think that I’ve shoe-horned this book in here for the sake of it. The first instalment of this magical series is THE book that cemented my love of reading. Whilst reading it, I experienced for the first time that almighty yearning you get when you can’t bring yourself to put down a book. That is why I’ve put it on my list. Love does not exclusively refer to romance, and I firmly believe that my generation needs to start falling in love with more books.

  1. All I Know Now

This is the autobiography of Carrie Hope Fletcher: actress, author, singer/songwriter and YouTuber. What a truly inspirational woman. Again, this is not a love story, but Fletcher reflects on the many life-lessons she’s learned in a mature yet humorous way, to encourage us to be more accepting and loving of ourselves and others. This book oozes love and positivity and the message to spread it.

  1. The Brothers Grimm, Selected Tales

As a lifelong, hardcore Disney fan, my childhood consisted mainly of these stories… just not so grim. (Haha, get it?) This book, full of timeless tales of love, hope and magic, fuels my love of nostalgia. Reading these stories again as a young adult somehow makes them more interesting. I think that’s because there’s a lot more violence and bloodshed and other adult themes in the originals, compared to the Disney animated remakes.

These books represent some of the different sides of love that are often overshadowed. This Valentine’s Day, why not take a moment to love the magical escapism of reading, love yourself and spread love to others, and love reminiscing on your fondest childhood memories instead.

Films

  1. Turner & Hooch

The epitome of the phrase “opposites attract”. Tom Hanks plays a police officer with OCD who has his life perfectly in order. But when the only eye-witness to a murder is a giant, dirty, slobbering dog named Hooch, the two must learn to work together to solve the case. This film is heart-warming but also incredibly heart-breaking. The reason it’s on my list is because of the love that grows between Turner and Hooch. The love between humans and pets is one that I feel needs more representation.

  1. Pride and Prejudice

This is a more conventional choice. Elizabeth and Darcy’s rocky road to romance takes up much of the main plot. I love this Jane Austen classic, so I will definitely be watching it again this month. It is not just the story that I love, however. This film taps into my love of total escapism and times gone by. The costumes, the houses, the dancing, and the appearance of Dame Judi Dench in the adaptation starring Keira Knightly. A recipe for whimsical escapism.

  1. Love Actually

Don’t yell at me because this is a Christmas film! February is still winter! As the name implies, this film centres around love and its many forms. Since this is what I’ve been trying to do in my lists, Love Actually is the perfect choice. I know the action takes place around Christmas, but with such strong ties to so many manifestations of love, how could I not include it? Romantic, platonic, unrequited, complicated, doomed, and sexual love are just some examples that are encapsulated in this wintry feel-good film.

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