Originally a feast day of two Christian martyrs named Valentine, Valentine's Day has changed over time into a more general celebration of love in which cards, flowers and chocolates are often exchanged. If the day puts you in the mood for love, check out this collection. It highlights love letters, famous couples and classic novels. But there's also plenty of love in the movies. For these we've listed some favorite Classic Romantic Comedies, Offbeat Romances and Romantic Dramas. Last but not least, there is a selection of Romantic Music for your listening pleasure.
Books: Love LettersThe 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time edited by David H. Lowenherz: A collector of letters chooses his favorites.
Beloved Prophet by Kahlil Gibran: The correspondence of the poet Kahlil Gibran and Mary Haskell.
Dear Scott, dearest Zelda: the love letters of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda Fitzgerald edited by Jackson R. Bryer and Cathy W. Barks: This collection of letters by the Fitzgeralds to each other covers their entire relationship, from their courtship in 1918 to Scott's death in 1940.
Books: Classic Novels
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: 'It is a truth universally acknowledged' that this tale of the prideful Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennett is one of the finest romances ever written.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: A young governess, a brooding hero, and a foreboding house--what more could you ask for?
Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte: Set on the bleak Yorkshire moors, this is the story of Heathcliff and Cathy, and a love stronger than death.
The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy: Who is the daring Scarlet Pimpernel who rescues people from the guillotine? Marguerite, a beautiful French exile, is married to the foppish Sir Percy Blakeney, who is more than he appears to be.
Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott: Through battles and deadly tournaments, Ivanhoe fights on the side of King Richard--and wins the love of the fiery Rowena.
Books: Famous Couples
An Affair to Remember by Christopher P. Andersen: Chronicles the 26-year relationship of Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.
Napoleon and Josephine by Evangeline Bruce: A carefully researched account of the tempestuous marriage of the French Emperor, Napoleon Bonaparte and his Empress, Josephine.
Gable and Lombard by Warren G. Harris: At first he thought she was too wild and she thought he was too stuffy, but Gable and Lombard were Hollywood's golden couple until her death in a plane crash in 1932.
Victoria and Albert by Richard Hough: Drawing on the letters and journals of Queen Victoria, the author confronts the image of Queen Victoria as a staid matron and shows her love for her consort, Albert.
Dared and Done by Julia Markus: When Robert Browning wrote a letter admiring Elizabeth Barrett's poetry, he began one of the great romances in history. Elizabeth overcame illness and a tyrannical father to elope with him.
The Woman He Loved by Ralph G. Martin: The romance of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor is retold.
DVDs: Classic Romantic Comedies
Desk Set (DVD ): When computer expert Tracy comes to modernize corporate librarian Hepburn's operation, she's suspicious. But all ends well in this delightful 1957 comedy.
It Happened One Night (DVD): Claudette Colbert is the spoiled heiress on the run and Clark Gable is the hard-edged reporter who senses a scoop in this classic screwball comedy.
Ninotchka (DVD): Greta Garbo plays a sour Soviet official who slowly falls in love with Paris" and Count Leon D'Algout, played by Melvin Douglas.
Pillow Talk (DVD): Doris Day is a prim interior designer who unwillingly shares a phone line with lady's man Rock Hudson.
Sabrina (DVD): Audrey Hepburn is the chauffeur's daughter who returns from France to live on the Larrabee estate. Both Larrabee sons fall in love with her - womanizing David (William Holden) and conservative Linus (Humphrey Bogart).
The Shop Around the Corner (DVD): There's no love lost between co-workers Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullavan. But their unknown pen pals just happen to be each other. Plot sound familiar? It was remade in 1998 as You've Got Mail.
DVDs: Offbeat Romantic Movies
Grosse Pointe Blank (DVD): It's a classic plot with a twist: Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy dumps girl on Prom Night, boy becomes a hit man, boy wins girl back.
Harold and Maude (DVD): In this 70's cult hit, death obsessed 19-year-old Harold (Bud Cort) falls in love with life-affirming octogenarian Maude (Ruth Gordon).
Marius and Jeanette (DVD): Jeanette meets Marius when she tries to steal paint from the defunct factory where he is the security guard. But the next day he shows up at her house with apologies, and two cans of paint. (French with subtitles).
The Tao of Steve (DVD): Overweight slacker Dex's luck with the ladies comes from following "The Tao of Steve" (based on the charisma of such famous Steve's as McQueen). When he falls in love with Syd, however, he finds his old rules no longer work.
DVDs: Romantic Dramas
An Affair to Remember (DVD): In this classic tearjerker, Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr fall in love, even though they're both engaged to others. To test their love, they agree to wait six months and then meet on top of the Empire State Building.
Casablanca (DVD): World weary Rick (Humphrey Bogart) helps his former love Ilsa (Ingrid Bergman) and her husband escape from World War II Casablanca to freedom in America.
Romeo and Juliet (DVD): Director Franco Zeffirelli's lush and lyrical version of Shakespeare's tragic love story.
Shadowlands (DVD): Anthony Hopkins plays author and professor C.S. Lewis whose correspondence with American poet Joy Gresham (Debra Winger) leads unexpectedly to a marriage of convenience--which leads even more unexpectedly to genuine romance.
Somewhere in Time (DVD): Christopher Reeves, as a playwright in the 1970s, becomes obsessed with the image of an actress (Jane Seymour) from the 1910s. His love for her is so strong, he is able to time travel back to 1912. Filmed on Michigan's Mackinac Island.
The Way We Were (DVD): Barbara Streisand stars as a passionate radical who falls in love with preppy Robert Redford. But their diverse politics and ambitions drive them apart.
CDs: Romantic Music
Romanza by Andrea Bocelli: Popular and operatic selections from Italian tenor Bocelli.
Let's Talk About Love by Celine Dion: Pop diva Dion sings a selection of ballads.
Ballads by the John Coltrane Quartet: These popular tunes, as interpreted by jazz great Coltrane, have a dreamy, sensual quality.
Italian Love Songs by Dean Martin: The title says it all--and who better to sing them than crooner Martin.
Falling in Love Again: Great Songs From the Movies by Nana Mouskouri: Some favorite cinematic love songs sung by Greek soprano Mouskouri.
Frank Sinatra Classics by Frank Sinatra: What would this list be without the intimate voice of Frank Sinatra?