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“Define love,” a classmate’s slam book used to ask us. We didn’t spend too much time pondering that question then; there were options to choose from: Love is blind. Love is like a rosary that’s full of mysteries. Love makes the world go round.
But as we grow older, our definition of love becomes more complex than simply choosing from a set of boilerplates. It goes beyond the romantic kind and finds its place in friendships, families, passions, and our own selves.
So for our February list of book recommendations, we ask the #RapplerReads team this question: Which book taught you about love?
Here are the answers.
The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
I think this book simplifies how to love and be asked to love. The book identifies the five common love languages that every person speaks. It suggests that by knowing what your love language is and being able to communicate that with your partner and vice versa, you’ll be able to keep your love tanks full. When a person’s love tank is full, he or she becomes more patient, understanding, and loving. Therefore, it helps couples avoid unnecessary conflicts. And when conflicts do arise, it’s easier to explain to your partner how you feel according to your love language.
This was one of the books I read before getting married and I recommend this to anyone who’s in a relationship or even those who aren’t so you would know how you would want to be loved and how to love by the time you meet your match.
You can learn about your love languages by taking this quiz!
– Marj Handog, BrandRap Editor
Perks of Being a Wallflower
The story of an introverted highschooler named Charlie isn’t really about love, but it is filled with moments where great love was demonstrated whether love for friends, family, or a significant other. I related to Charlie on so many levels mostly because I think of myself as half a wallflower (one who likes to observe with minimal participation and judgment) and some of his experiences parallel mine. In the book, we see that even though troubled, his family did their best to provide each other as much love and support. His friends who all live checkered lives also accept him and each other no matter their quirks. Charlie himself puts his life in front of others to defend them.
These are points that I really appreciated in the book, but the strongest one would have to be a conversation between Charlie and his literature teacher Bill. Charlie asks Bill why nice people choose the wrong people to date, and his teacher answers: “We accept the love we think we deserve.” There are a lot of ways to interpret that line, and one that resonates a lot with me is that sometimes we see so little value in ourselves that we tolerate even bad experiences whether in terms of relationships, friendships, or even careers.
– Julian Cirineo, Senior BrandRap producer and CommuniCart lead
Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
Three years after her husband’s death, Shelley wakes up to a knock on her door. The visitor – who looks remarkably like her late husband Max – not only introduces himself as his grandson but also informs her that Max is alive and seemingly unchanged by time. Determined to see whether the visitor is telling the truth, they set off for an adventure across the globe. Along the way, she shares the story of how she met and fell in love with Max on a European tour. Sotto’s debut novel was inspired by her experiences living, studying, and traveling through Europe, which helped me, as a reader, draw from her rich reimagining of places I had never even been to.
While I can tell you now whether Max is really alive and why he doesn’t seem to age, the mystery is half of what makes this book such a thrilling read. It’s also definitely one of my top romance reads because it showed me that love is not bound by time, proximity, or memory. Love is in the little moments, the stories we share of our loved ones, and the smell of eggs during Sunday breakfast.
– Raven Lingat, Senior BrandRap producer and GoodRap lead
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Reading classics gives me an excuse to overlook convoluted and problematic plotlines – they’re guilty pleasure reads wrapped in all sorts of flowery words and other verbosities. This is what I loved about Jane Eyre, a gothic novel that had me turning page after page like a true marites.
To be clear, it did not teach me about love; it showed me what it’s like to overly romanticize something. Jane, who grew up in adversity, has been through so many misfortunes in life that her notion of love has become convoluted, the most eye-rolling manifestation of which was falling for a walking red flag. After all, it’s the Victorian era, and it was nice getting swept away in the emotion of it all. (I highly recommend it, but please don’t live it out as a fantasy.)
Do read the prequel by Jean Rhys, Wide Sargasso Sea, as it humanizes an important character to take a swipe at colonialism and patriarchy – which Brontë should’ve done.
– Jaco Joves, Senior BrandRap producer and #CheckThisOut lead
A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
I’ve heard many words of caution coming into Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life. I knew it was an odyssey of a novel, at 700 pages, chronicling the life of four post-grad friends, Malcolm, J.B., Willem, and Jude. I’ve been told rather unsavory things happen, c’est la vie. And with multiple trigger warnings on the internet, I, at least, had an inkling of what I was getting myself into.
I was wrong. I doubt anyone can prepare for the descent that one character plunges into; the book’s nonchalance with its graphic depiction of sexual abuse, self-harm, and addiction is unflinching. But in Yanagihara’s hands, it doesn’t feel tacked-on or sensationalist. A Little Life is a rare, subversive, lightning-in-a-bottle work that captures the nuances of male friendships and modern queer life. It’s a book about love from wherever you can find it: kind strangers, friends with shared miseries, and found families.
– Armando dela Cruz, Senior Content Strategist and host of Play of the Week
How about you? If you were to define love through a book, what would it be? – Rappler.com