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What authors read on Valentine's Day

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We asked a bouquet of writers to tell us about the book they consider most romantic.

Garrison Keillor is the host of "A Prairie Home Companion" and the author, most recently, of "Homegrown Democrat."

The Sonnets of William Shakespeare. Not buried in an anthology, as you found them back in ninth grade, but in a handsome, slim hardbound edition. Love can seem so elusive and evanescent that one doubts its reality; then it's good to encounter the poet who intended his to endure, 14 lines at a time, and not change but be a star to every wand'ring bark.

Anita Shreve is the author of many romantic novels, most recently, "Light on Snow."

I like my romances rigorous, with literary muscle. For that reason, I would choose "The Transit of Venus," by Shirley Hazzard. It is an exquisite tale of doomed love set within an absolutely ingenious plot. Written in heartbreakingly beautiful prose - each paragraph containing an entire universe - "Transit" is my favorite novel of all time.

Wally Lamb is the author of "I Know This Much Is True" and "She's Come Undone."

I've always been partial to Daphne du Maurier's "Rebecca": the unlikely pairing of dashing deWinter and his insecure second wife, the mansion torched as an act of love and exorcism. More recently, I've been moved by Ron McLarty's "The Memory of Running." The narrative follows a fat guy on a bicycle, but at the heart of this novel is a poignant love story, eccentric and sweet.

H.W. Brands 's most recent work of history is "Lone Star Nation."

My favorite is Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "Love in the Time of Cholera." Love is a state of altered consciousness, and no one writes better about altered states. The dreamy, the pedestrian, the bizarre mingle here in intimate confusion. And those almonds....


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