20 Greatest Love Stories Worth Reading, RankedJanuary 26, 2018

Your flatmate read "A Knight in Shining Room", "To Have and to Hold", and "The Summer of You", titles that your coursemate disapprove of. You can't blame her after knowing all the famous lines in Shakespeare's plays within a year. You tell her that you'll check out the works of Kate Noble, Patrica Gaffney, and Jude Deveraux, but you won't. Ever.

You wonder if snobbery is a virtue in the English Department, which students must wear on their sleeves. You believe in the mandatory reading of the classics, which have been adapted countless times. Many authors have been inspired to pen stories similar to these timeless tales. You almost choke on your piece of Grumpy Donuts when your roommate would point out that Kirk Douglas, a Hollywood legend, wrote "The Gift", a sensual tale of a depressed heiress and an injured bullfighter. You haven't read it, but you can imagine the cover of a shirtless man. You've seen a number of Douglas's films, which have been described as culturally significant. You won't bet that his novel will grow in popularity like "Romeo and Juliet".

Valentine Day's is fast approaching, which reminds you of the romantic stories that you've studied these last few years. Which ones are worth reading? You'll recommend the classics, but there are too many titles to make it to your shortlist. It won't take you long to come up with one, making sure that you've ranked it.

Passion: Ten Times, Twice

20. Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. Most readers will be surprised at its inclusion, as J.M. Barrie's book is about childhood and why some adults can't outgrow their fond childhood memories. Love has to start somewhere, which Barrie would illustrate in this enchanting tale and its follow-ups.

19. Women in Love. It may be hard to comprehend D.H. Lawrence's working-class background, which would influence his views on relationships. And it's been discussed extensively in this fascinating novel. Not that you don't like "Lady Chatterley's Lover", but you have reservations about the subtle irony.

18. The End of the Affair. It may be quite odd for a man to renounce a higher entity because he might not be loved again. It is what it is.

17. The Unbearable Lightness of Being. You understand Milan Kundera's disappointment at Hollywood's adaptation of his acclaimed novel. Feelings can be complex at times, which the human mind cannot comprehend at all. You must see it to know it.

16. The Great Gatsby. Mystery heightens the excitement, which leads to longing.

15. The English Patient. No one likes suffering, but there's a bittersweet feeling when it has something to do with someone you love deeply.

14. The Baron in the Trees. Love is a tender trap, which the free-spirited baron would learn the hard way.

13. Miss Peregrine's series. True love knows no age (and you can't wait for the sequel to the series).

12. The Heroes of Olympus. Teenage love can stand the test of time. Literally. Rick Riordan, a high school teacher for years, knows better.

11. Doctor Zhivago. No one can deny a person's longing for companionship.

10. Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's hard not to fall in love with Holly Golightly's naïvety.

9. Pygmalion. No one will be disappointed at art, but shortcomings do make a difference. It doesn't mean that broken English is good enough.

8. Gone with the Wind. It's hard not to fall for Scarlett O'Hara, and adversity will reveal her true worth. Rhett Butler might be a fool to ignore her initially.

7. A Room with a View. You believe in the greater good, but everyone deserves happiness.

6. Beauty and the Beast. Beauty isn't skin deep, which is the moral of this fairy tale. You're thinking of Cinderella as well.

5. Jane Eyre. It takes a special lady to bring out the best out of a gentleman.

4. Great Expectations. Good things come to good lads. In the case of Estella and Pip, a well-deserved happy ending.

3. Wuthering Heights. There's no rein to passion. There's no other chap like Heathcliff, which Michael Penn would immortalise in a catchy song.

2. Pride and Prejudice. It's better to put your worst foot forward, but parents may not understand it.

1. Romeo and Juliet. Everybody knows their story. No one likes tragic ending, but it might be forgotten otherwise.

Tales From the Bush (if there is any)

Some of the greatest Australian writers have popularised the bush literature, which would make you wonder if there was a love story somewhere. You haven't read it, but it shouldn't suggest that you're not doing your homework. It happens that the best stories would blur boundaries. There are other themes, which should make theirs more memorable than the rest.

It could be possible to write an essay about it, as long as you focus on the literary merits. But don't forget what makes it one of a kind. There's a cheesy element in it, which these authors won't deny at all.

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