Posted by Alana T.
August was Romance Awareness Month. I missed it, but I'm not going to miss out on the opportunity to pass along some suggested reads that are not traditional romances. The genre is defined as having romantic love and/or relationships between two people as the main focus, but there are lot of novels that incorporate this theme without the bodice ripping and heavy breathing.
First, I'm going to suggest Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This is a chunk of a novel and it tackles some heavy themes (mainly concepts having to do with individuality and the role of capitalism). At the heart of the story is the main character's (Dagny Taggart) love affair with ... her railroad. Through the story there are a few other love affairs, but Dagny's devotion to her work is inspiring and source of much of her strength. Politics aside, this really is a great book.
The Dream of Perpetual Motion by Dexter Palmer a try. This alternate reality, semi-steampunk story includes a sentient dirigible, a guy stuck on said dirigible, and his search for the woman he loves - on the dirigible. As he recalls the events that landed him in this situation, you get a image of a wondrous, but twisted possible future. The themes and characters borrow heavily from Shakespeare's The Tempest.
My last suggestion is Geek Love by Katherine Dunn. Whenever I describe the storyline of this book to people, they do a double take - it's unbelievable, and you definitely won't forget this read. The main character is a woman recounting her youth, obsessive love of her brother, and the tragic results. As bad as that may sound, mix in the fact that she and her siblings have physical deformities intentionally produced by parents wanting a self-produced carnival freakshow. In spite of the bizarre storyline, it all boils down to family relationships and love. This is an amazing read and was a National Book Award Finalist.