February is a month of love but there are all kinds Valentine’s Day of possibilities – maybe a romantic dinner with someone or a blind date with a stranger or a night at home with chips and pizza. Whatever your plans are, there is always time for books and movies. We have got you covered for the month with what to watch and what to read. So grab some chocolate, and let’s paint the town red.
1.The fake gets real trope
Read: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Helen Hoang’s debut novel took the book world by storm. Stella has Asperger’s syndrome. She is kickass with algorithms to predict customer purchases but awkward with establishing relationships. French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by fish. She does not know how to lead her men on to give her pleasure or how to say no. Enter Michael Phan, an escort she hires to help her be a good lover in the hopes of finding a true companion. With lots of sex, The Kiss Quotient is a steamy read when love is in the air.
Watch: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before
Peter Kavinsky! Do we need more reasons? The Netflix film adapted from the novel by Jenny Han was a roaring success. When Lara Jean’s secret letters to her crushes are mailed to their recipients, she finds herself confronting her past. Enter Kavinsky with a ‘fake dating’ deal and the rest is this feel good love story.
2. The confused forevers
Read: Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People is about young love through those ridiculous early twenties. Connell and Marianne are friends (rather secret friends because Connell, the popular boy, does not want to be seen with the socially awkward Marianne) from high school. Once college begins, the tables turn and Marianne is now the popular girl. Normal People sums up the confusion and anxiety of being in love as both of them go through a series of meet-and-depart routines.
Watch: When Harry Met Sally
When Harry Met Sally is a Valentine’s day classic. This 1989 hilarious movie follows twelve years of chance encounters between Harry and Sally in New York which slowly converts them from enemies to friends. Watch it for the hilariously shocking orgasm scene in a restaurant (No, it is not what you think).
3. The no strings attached
Read: Adele by Leila Slimani, translated by Sam Taylor
We definitely need books for those who aren’t celebrating happy ever afters this February. Adele, translated from the French, is a compelling portrait of a journalist who lives in a Parisian apartment with her surgeon husband and son. She has an insatiable need for sex which means many one night stands, lovers, secret phone messages, and wasted nights. This unusual erotic story about sexuality and desire is something you will finish in a single night.
Watch: Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin binges are the best for a ‘movie hangout’ at home with your friends or a special someone. It is thigh slapping hilarious telenovela spoof about Jane, an aspiring romance writer who works at a hotel. There are evil twins, murders, faking deaths, affairs, love triangles, big money, movie productions, mafia, plastic surgery, and all the drama needed to keep you addicted to the series.
4. A bit of blue
Read: Blue is the Warmest Colour by Julie Maroh; translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger
Clementine is in high school and has a normal life with good family, boys and friends, until she sees a girl with blue hair. The washed out art with a single dominant colour palette is an excellent companion to the themes of bullying, homophobia, sexuality and love that Julie Maroh explores in the graphic novel. It left me with tears in my eyes so be ready for a heart ache when you finish the book.
Watch: Love, Simon
Love, Simon follows the online romance between Simon, a closeted boy with an incredible circle of family and friends and ‘Blue’. The movie follows Simon’s coming out and being comfortable with his sexuality and his search to find the love of his life. What I loved most about the movie, adapted from Becky Albertalli’s novel, were how crucial family support and a strong backup of friends are when a teenager is grappling coming into terms with his sexual identity.
5. For the nostalgic ones
Read: The Heavens by Sandra Newman
The Heavens by Sandra Newman is absolutely stunning with time travel, dreams and glitzy Manhattan parties. Kate and Ben meet in a summer in 2000s in New York and fall in love. Kate also leads a double life as the mistress of a nobleman in Elizabethan England to where she travels in her dreams. This book has a complex plot and each page was dizzying and magical. William Shakespeare makes an appearance in this book, what more can one want?
Watch: Kate and Leopold
Kate and Leopold is the best movie to watch after a psychedelic read of The Heavens. A duke time travels from the 1800s to modern New York where he meets an ambitious young woman. There are lots of funny moments and those that make you go ‘Awww’ (including a knight on a horse saving the damsel in distress). If nothing, watch it for Hugh Jackman and Meg Ryan.