Bookish: Love, Love, Love and More Love; A Valentine’s Day Post on The Four Loves (According to the Ancient Greeks)

Feature.jpgHello my loved up lovelies!

That is, if you are loved up? You may or may not be or you may not even be too sure if you are.

Whatever, we’re all good here and everyone is welcome.

I wasn’t actually going to do a blog post for Valentine’s Day because despite being happily married we don’t really ‘do’ the Valentine’s thing. The reason I am doing a blog post is because I was supposed to have had an ARC review up today and I don’t on account of not having read it yet.


Because I don’t like leaving an empty space unfilled* (that’s what she said) I needed to fill it with something and because today is all about love, love and love that’s what I’ve decided to fill it with.

Bear with me, I’m doing this on the fly with no prep whatsoever and it will show. 

*in my blog post schedule (yes I am a nerd, yes I have a schedule)

The Four LovesThere’s eight apparently but I cannot stress to you enough how much I have not prepared for this post. I’m going to struggle with four so I’m definitely going to struggle with eight!

We say ‘love.’ The Ancient Greeks said, ‘eros,’ philia,’ ‘storge,’ ‘agape,’ ludus,’ ‘mania,’ ‘pragma,’ and ‘philautia.’

Phew. Can you imagine anyone trying to squeeze those eight into the lyrics of pop chart hit?

For the Ancient Greeks, love was more complex than simply using one encompassing term and applying it to everything. The love that was felt for a husband or wife was different to the love felt for a son or daughter. The love felt for your child is different for the love felt for your friend.

The love I feel for my cat is different for the love I feel for cake, for example. I love them both, just in different ways.

I’m going to focus on the four principle ones:-

  • Eros
  • Philia
  • Storge
  • Agape

But just in case you’re interested in the rest:-

Ludas is ‘playful love’ and although is linked to eros (the romantic love) it’s more about flirting, teasing and general giggling.

Mania is ‘obsessive love’ and is actually more of a negative type with connotations of possessiveness, jealousy and co-dependency. Some may say this isn’t love at all.

Pragma is an ‘enduring love’ that is based on practicality or companionship and has been reached via reason or duty. Arranged marriages may begin with this.

Philautia is ‘loving one’s self’ and not in the sexual sense. Get your head out of the gutters people. This is caring about one’s self and understanding your own value. Something we all should do.

Let’s take a look at the four principle ones, what they mean and what books in particular demonstrate those types of love.

ErosEros is all about passionate and romantic love. It has lent itself to the term ‘erotic’ and so also describes sensual and sexual love.

This type is named for the Greek god Eros who was the god of sensual love and desire. He went around causing all sorts of issues with his bow and even had a love story of his own.

This type of love is commonly found in books and movies and if not a side dish then it’s the main course. There is a whole genre called ‘romance’ after all and also one called ‘erotica’ so this love type is obviously doing something right.

Here are my top three choices for books that feature the love of Eros as either a prominent plot point or as the plot.

In a heartbeat: Princesses and jesters, forbidden romance, enemies to lovers, fantasy setting, gets steamier than your bathroom mirror after a hot shower.

The Winner's Trilogy

In a heartbeat: Complex relationships, master and slave boundaries done well, forbidden romance, enemies to lovers, fantasy setting, slow burn that leaves you biting your fingernails.

the hating game

In a heartbeat: Office romance, modern setting, enemies to lovers (gosh can you see a theme), not so friendly ‘friendly’ competition, you know where it’s going and you can’t wait until it gets there.


Philia is all about friendship and the deep rooted affectionate love you have for your friends and that sense of camaraderie that being with someone brings.

Aristotle believed in three different types of friendship all down to how and why they were initially formed; utility, pleasure, and good.

Utility means you’re friends with someone because one person (or both) benefits from the other in some way (this type is usually more acquaintance than friend). Pleasure means you’re all about the fun times and good means you truly care for the other person and accept them for who they are. Warts and all.

Here are some Philia picks for you.

Harry Potter.jpg

In a heartbeat: We all know what this series is about but anyway – wonderful magical world, being at school, being a hormonal teenage angst machine at school, fighting with your hormonal teenage angst machine friends at school, realising that your friends are the best thing about your life.

six of crows

In a heartbeat: I haven’t even read this one yet and yet I somehow know every single bloody thing (thank you internet), fantasy YA, heist fiction, mixed bunch of friends, they’d all die for each other but pretend they wouldn’t, too cool for school, no mourners, no funerals.

Eleanor Oliphant

In a heartbeat: Modern fiction, Glasgow, unique character voice, surprisingly sweet and surprisingly sad, people need people and that’s OK.


Storge (stor-gae, not storage without the ‘a’) is the love that exists between family members; either parent to a child, child to a parent or between siblings. Storge can also mean the love that exists between a human being and their pet because as we all know – love transcends species.

Marley and Me

In a heartbeat: It’s a cheat because I haven’t read the book but I have watched the movie, real life, it’s about a dog, you will cry.

The Book Thief

In a heartbeat: Magical realism, world war two, death as a narrator, family is more than who made us/ gave birth to us, this will reach inside your chest and pull your heart out, you will cry.


In a heartbeat: Contemporary YA, racism in the USA, #ownvoices, gritty realism with a beating heart of gold, it’s all about family.


Agape is not ‘a grape’ as my brain always seems to misread it to be the love that is considered to be the most spiritual. I say ‘the most’ spiritual but by its definition it is a spiritual love.

Agape is considered to be a god’s love for humanity or even humanity’s love for god. This can extend outwards to human’s love for other human’s operating on a pure and altruistic level.

American gods

In a heartbeat: Fantasy, USA, twisted road trips, an ex-con protagonist, lots and lots of gods, not so much agape as the gods desperately needing the love of believers. a christmas carol.png

In a heartbeat: Classic literature, Victorian times, Christmas (obviously), bah humbug or to not bah humbug, be kind to yourself and other people, love begets love.

The Green Mile

In a heartbeat: Another cheat because I haven’t read the book but instead watched the movie, non-horror Stephen King, makes you feel sad but makes you feel hopeful but then makes you feel sad again, people suck but not all of them.


So here is my post on the fly about love, love, love and more love!

Enjoy your valentine’s day whether it is with yourself, your romantic partner, your cat/ dog/ mouse, or your friends and family.

Have a big kiss from me – mwah!



8 thoughts on “Bookish: Love, Love, Love and More Love; A Valentine’s Day Post on The Four Loves (According to the Ancient Greeks)

  1. The Book Thief totally rocks – one of the most powerful books I have ever read. I also consider Lord of the Rings, especially Frodo and Sam, examples of the four loves (except eros of course), but Gandalf and Aragorn exhibit them too, all self-sacrificial loves. Haven’t read Crows either but I’ve added to my TBR list.

    Namarie, God bless, Anne Marie, with hopes your work will calm down soon 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Book Thief is a painful and beautiful read at the same time and I love when I find books like that. I very almost put Lord of the Rings in because it demonstrates all the loves! I think eros is present in the book – there is romantic love between Arwen and Aragorn, Sam and Rosie and eventually Eowyn and Faramir. But the most prevalent is definitely the friendship love. I adore Sam very much and think he’s often the unsung hero!


  2. Considering this is an unplanned post I thought it was still well written and very informative! It didn’t feel rushed and had enough information about the 4 love types plus book recommendations!

    Liked by 1 person

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