Book Meme 2012 Week 9: Honeymoon Literature

Topic: Which book(s) would you bring on your honeymoon?

My instinctual response is to say that my beloved wife and I aren’t likely to be doing much reading under such a honey-filled moon…+)

But cheekiness aside, and acknowledging that my unknown future lover is likely to love literature near as much as I do, there will almost certainly be a few choice tomes we’ll take with us to enjoy.

The Holy Bible, for one. Particularly for The Song of Solomon.

Beyond that? Well, hard to say. It’ll all depend on which books develop a particular significance to our relationship. Some version of the story of Beren and Lúthien by Tolkien would make for excellent evening reading, as would some of his poetry. Speaking of poetry, verses by Shakespeare and John Donne seem almost obligatory. And since I’m a nut for early medieval stuff, I’ll probably have found something romantic in Anglo-Saxon to read by then. Or, failing something romantic, Beowulf. That’s good honeymoon reading, right?

In addition to a few “serious” romantic things to read, we’ll probably bring some books that are just a lot of fun, that we can laugh with, cheer with, gasp with. What specific books these will be, I don’t know yet. Some Lewis, some George MacDonald. The Bell at Sealey Head. I love many such books, and am open to suggestions (or, uh, demands, if it comes to that) from my future beloved. It might also be nice to reread some of the love letters we’ll have been sending to each other during the courtship.

But there is another suggestion I can put forth.

A blank notebook.

Should we both be writers, we could co-write a story together, or at least brainstorm one. Perhaps each night one of us could write another chapter to it, and then read it aloud. My wife would, of course, on her night to read open the book to find little love notes and poems in the margins, which I would’ve managed to write in the quiet moments when I could tear my eyes from her face.

Or maybe it’s a silly, overly sappy idea. I dunno. But isn’t a honeymoon rather the right time for sappiness? I think so. We could write all sorts of things in a blank notebook, together or individually, and then read them aloud to each other. Whatever we felt like. Silly things, even; it needn’t be serious. Things we’ve observed on the trip. Notes for later. Plans for later. Promises and hopes and dreams. And maybe even some gloriously bad puns!

I can’t decide between one of those beautiful leather-bound books you find at Renaissance Faires or a simple spiral bound. The former is prettier (but still very manly), but so much so that you almost don’t want to sully them with anything less than beautifully-formed masterpieces. The latter would be mundane and unassuming, but much more accommodating to the spur-of-the-moment jots and giddy brainstorms that the honeyed wine of love fulfilled is likely to inspire.

So we’ll probably need one of each.


  1. emilykazakh says:

    Beowulf. Good choice. Very romantic. 🙂

    The idea for the notebook is excellent (and I totally agree with you on the issue of feeling the need to create a masterpiece if you’re using a beautiful journal. I’m partial to composition books myself).

    I just read a YA novel by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan that was about two people writing to each other in a notebook. They weren’t on their honeymoon, but it was still a sweet romance. Actually, the authors took turns in writing the story–alternating the chapters between the two of them. The story wasn’t perfect, but I loved the process and the idea.

    So who knows? Maybe you and your future wife could write a bestseller while on your honeymoon. Or you know, just have a beautiful account of your love and time together. 🙂

    Beren and Lúthien–such a sweet story. Definitely good choices all around. Well done.

    1. David says:

      “So who knows? Maybe you and your future wife could write a bestseller while on your honeymoon. Or you know, just have a beautiful account of your love and time together.”

      The latter is more likely and fortunately more valuable. +) But a bestseller would be neat, too. After all, David Eddings and his wife Leigh wrote most of “his” books together, though she only started getting official credit with the second series “The Mallorean.” It would be amazing for my future marriage to also be a loving, productive artistic team.

  2. jubilare says:

    This may be an odd thing to say, but I’ve never found Donne very romantic. Sensual, yes, but I’ve yet to read a love-poem of his that seems to be playing for keeps. Then again, I haven’t read him extensively, so I could easily be wrong. Beowulf, on the other hand, is very romantic… 😉

    I have a definite opinion on your choice of notebooks, from both a writer’s and a librarian’s standpoint. Spiral-bound notebooks do not last! They are convenient in the moment, but if you mean to keep the original writing, as I assume you would, go for something with proper binding. It took me a long while to get over my aversion to “filling up” beautifully bound notebooks with my nonsense… there is something terrible about sullying a pure page and giving words to a book that is blank, but I have come to enjoy it. So, librarian’s advice is: non-acidic, well-bound. Avoid “perfect binding” as well as spiral-binding. If you fear that your beloved will need to get used to the idea of writing in nice notebooks, give her one pre-wedding and make sure she uses it. 🙂

    1. David says:

      True, much of his love poetry — especially the earlier stuff — is definitely sexual rather than romantic, as he’s more interested in the physical joys than lifelong commitment. But his poetry shifts as he grows older, I think, culminating in his conversion to Christianity. Try “A Valediction: Forbidding Mourning,” which celebrates true, deep, spiritual love over mere physicality. He wrote it for his wife to remind her of his love as he left for a long trip overseas. I have his Complete Works, but have only really consumed a handful of his poems. I keep feeling I should read them more often, and more deeply.

      Aye, spirals deteriorate, but I find them much easier to use than bound ones. I can flip them open easily, I don’t have to worry about holding one side down while I write, I can flop them around, stuff them in drawers or backpacks or whatnot, etcetera. I have one spiral in particular that has served me well for over ten years: the only reason it has a few pages still blank is because I tend to jot my ideas down on any nearest paper, and this notebook has merely been my main bedside one. It’s finally falling apart, though, whereas I’m sure a bound one wouldn’t be.

      I shall have to remember all these notebook ideas once I manage to get a woman to love me.

      1. jubilare says:

        True, he seems to have matured greatly over the course of his life. 🙂

        Perhaps the bound notebooks you have found had tight spines? That happens often, and is the reason some bound notebooks are harder to open and won’t lay flat. With a published book, a tight spine is better than a lose one, as it protects the book, but for a notebook, I feel that loose is better. Gosh I am such a nerd! …and I love it!
        It’s never too early to start experimenting with notebooks. If you do, then when you meet her you will know how to choose an excellent one to give her. Or maybe you could learn to make them yourself and give her a hand-made one! I really enjoyed my book-binding class, though it isn’t a hobby for everyone.

        1. David says:

          Well, yeah, I think the bound ones I’ve encountered usually have tighter spines. They’re very nice, but a tad harder to write in on the go. For note-taking in school I always preferred thick spiral bounds, preferably with a few sections and some pockets for sticking loose sheets in.

          Notebook nerds! +D

          But basically I like any blank notebook that isn’t too hard to write in and doesn’t look too embarrassing. Any girl I’m likely to be in love with will probably already have her own preferences regarding them. Book-binding does sound like a cool skill to have; I’m not generally a “craft” person in that regard, but it’s good for a guy to be able to do useful things with his hands besides type and shoot a basketball.

          1. jubilare says:

            I promise to leave off this subject after this, as I know I can talk people to death about the delights of notebooks. As you are a nerd too, though, I imagine you have a higher resilience than most. I can’t easily slay you with nerdiness.

            There are a lot of embarrassingly “teenage-girl” notebooks out there. Some of the ones I’ve picked up in desperation lean that way. I tend to look for something that fits easily into the hand and into my purse, as I carry the darn things around everywhere. The fact that I carry them everywhere is also why durability is so important to me. If it can’t be battered on the outside and remain intact within then it isn’t a notebook for me! I find that I can loosen notebooks that are too tightly bound, and that most loosen just with being used.

            Book-binding is one of those precise, meditative, useful crafts. Some people absolutely hate it. I was surprised to learn how much I liked it.

            1. David says:

              Nope, can’t say I’m likely to be slayed by nerdiness! +) Especially book-related nerdiness.

              One of the notebooks I use for story-stuff is one I got ages ago when I was probably in middle school, but didn’t write in it at the time. The cover has a shiny painting of an F-16 roaring through a sunset-covered sky. Love it.

            2. jubilare says:

              That does sound awesome.

  3. Mary says:

    I recently bought one of those beautiful journals and couldn’t bear to write anything of my own in it. I knew I would end up doing far too much editing in it and mess up the pages. I finally hit on using it to copy all the church hymn/song lyrics that I have been saving for years. It’s been the perfect solution!

    1. David says:

      That’s an excellent solution! A few friends and I used to share a journal exactly like the leather one pictured above, and we passed it between us over the months, each writing down a neat story idea in it in turn. Sadly that hasn’t happened for a few years, but we collected some neat stuff.

  4. Melpomene says:

    John Donne had not crossed my mind! oh, the silliness of me! He is the obvious choice . . . beautiful, romantic, and realistic! “A Valediction Forbidding Mourning” is my all time favorite poem.

    And I like the idea of the blank note book. In my more uncensured day dreams, I tend to think a blank book where Husband and I write poetry to/for/about each other and our daily challenges would be wonderful!

    1. David says:

      That’s a gorgeous poem of his! I don’t think I’d read it before, but I just looked it up in my Complete Works and really loved it.

  5. Urania says:

    I like the idea of a blank notebook for recording adventures, be they with Beloved or other friends. I’d go for the nice notebook, too. Even if it’s silly nonsense that you write in it, the memories will still be treasured.

    1. David says:

      Yup, I agree. It’s probably best to fill a nice notebook with anything genuine — whether memories, story ideas, poems, love notes, silliness, whatever. If you wait till you have something super polished and “worthy,” you may never get around to writing anything in it!

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