1. Romeo and Juliet
Romeo and Juliet is one of the most famous love stories of all time, written by William Shakespeare in the 1590s. The story revolves a tragic love story between Romeo and Juliet where a long feud between both families prevented the lovers to be together and ultimately resulted in a tragic ending.
The story was so famous to the extent that 1000 over letters were sent to the Italian city of Verona and addressed specifically to Juliet on Valentine’s Day each year.
Did you know that the famous balcony where Romeo professed his love for Juliet did not appear in Shakespeare’s play. As the story was written in the 16th Century, theatrical scene was poor and a balcony would have been difficult to represent. However, the balcony was subsequently added to the stagings of the play and became so famous that it has been added to Juliet’s house in Verona at the beginning of the 20th Century.
“My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.” - William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet
‘Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?
Although written over 400 years ago, the story is still relevant and important to people’s lives now due to the relatable universal themes used such as love, rivalry, friendship, fate and destiny.
2. The Fault in Our Stars
The Fault in Our Stars is the sixth novel by author John Green, published in January 2012 - A love story about two teenagers who have cancer. The story brings readers’ on a roller coaster ride of love, sadness and romance.
The title is inspired by Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s play Julius Caesar, where the nobleman Cassius says to Brutus: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are underlying.”
“As he read, I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly, and then all at once.”
“Some infinities are bigger than other infinities.”
“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”
This story provides a lesson in understanding that although things do not always work out the way you wish they would, that should never stop you from appreciating what you had.
Titanic is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet as members of different social classes who fall in love aboard the ship during its ill-fated maiden voyage. The story weaves a rich human tapestry of romance, heroism, tragedy, greed and lastly, the power of true love.
The dramatic scene of Titanic was actually based on a heart-wrenching true story of Isidor and Ida Straus, owner of Macy’s department store. They were both offered a spot on the lifeboat however, Isidor declined and insisted on remaining on the ship. Refused to be separated from her husband, Isa stayed on the ship with him. This was actually depicted in one of the scenes where an elderly couple was seen hugging on the bed while water floods their room.
The selfless act echoes the moment a rich woman on the real-life ill-fated ship chose to drown at her husband’s side rather than leave without him.
“A woman's heart is a deep ocean of secrets.”
"I figure life's a gift and I don't intend on wasting it."
“When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose.”
The story has reminded all of us to count our blessings as this great tragedy provides us with an opportunity to be grateful for everything in our lives. Take the time to focus and be grateful for all the good things in life, one will attract more of what one is grateful for.
The sinking of the Titanic shattered the faith for everyone. It occurs to us that sometimes we remain at the mercy of events beyond our control and that there are some things we cannot account for. The most important thing is to learn from the past, live for the present and hope for the future.
4. A Walk to Remember
A Walk to Remember is a novel that was released in October 1999 and written by Nicholas Sparks. Set in 1958 - 1959 in Beaufort, North Carolina, the novel revolves around the story of two teenagers who fall in love with each other despite a big difference in their personalities.
The novel was inspired by Sparks’ sister, who later died of cancer at the age of thirty-three years old. Although the story was fictional, many parts were based on true story of his sister such as her characteristic, personality, condition and her love life.
“There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.”
“Love is like the wind. You cannot see it but you can always feel it.”
The novel illustrates the value of looking deeper inside of people and finding the good. Instead of judgement, show mercy to those who might not deserve it and forgive instead of wrath as well as the beauty of restored relationships.
All good, brace and noble decisions come from listening to your heart.
5. Me Before You
Me Before You is a romance novel written by Jojo Moyes. The novel brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common, a heartbreakingly romantic novel. The story revolves around the quirky Louisa Clark, who unfortunately lost her job and Will Traynor, who became paralysed after a motorcycle accident. The two encounter when Louisa enters his life as his carer and their relationship develop.
Me Before You was partially inspired by Moyers’ family situation where one of her family members was suffering from a progressive disease and required 24-hour care.
"Live boldly. Push yourself. Don't settle."
"Some mistakes...just have greater consequences than others. But you don't have to let the result of one mistake be the thing that defines you. You, Clark, have the choice not to let that happen."
"You only get one life. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible."
The story communicates that bravery and sustained effort is needed to redirect the path of one’s life once it has been pushed off course.
Moyers hopes that after reading the novels, readers will understand and take away a life value message “just not to judge”.