Essential Reads: Books for Surviving Valentine’s Day

Valentine'sDay-smThis isn’t a list of heart-bursting love stories (although we have included some) or I-hate-my-ex tirades, but rather a list that we hope will include at least one perfect book to match whichever mood zaps through you when you think, “Whoa, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner!”

THE HORROR, THE HORROR! (Though maybe with the right person…)

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Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari – Aside from actual horrors (famine, disease, institutional racism/sexism/religionism, torture, death), is there anything worse than dating? No wonder people prefer to sext than to actually meet up. Ansari’s hilarious, heartfelt, and surprisingly informative stories of travels through the dating world are eye-opening as well as gut-busting.
 

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It’s Not You: 27 Wrong Reasons You’re Single by Sara Eckel –A bracing yet loving smack upside the head for yourself or your best friend who is wondering what’s wrong with you/him/her, because of course there must be something wrong if you’re still single. Spoiler: There’s nothing wrong. Read this to find out why.
 

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Date-onomics: How Dating Became a Lopsided Numbers Game by Jon Birger – Man shortage? Yep, it’s true. Birger breaks down the numbers to show just how rigged the dating game is—and then gives tips on how to tilt that game your way. May the odds be ever in your favor.
 

I’M KEEPING THE FLAME OF HOPE ALIVE!

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Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Both “flame of hope” titles are young adult books, but that just means that the glory and pain of new love is set on full throttle. More a sword-and-sorcery fantasy novel than a romance, Graceling nonetheless has one of the best love stories I’ve ever read (and I read a lot of love stories). I curl up with this book at least once a year, and it remains as sharp and beautiful on each rereading as it was the very first time.
 

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Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins – Seventeen and at boarding school in Paris, Anna has to learn a new culture, figure out what of her old life she wants to keep and what she should leave behind, and what is truly important to her. A lovely coming-of-age novel that uncovers the rich inner landscape of a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. The perfect book for reawakening hope for a love-rich life.
 

WELL, THE ROAD TO TRUE LOVE AIN’T PAVED SO SMOOTH

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Fast Women by Jennifer Crusie – This is the perfect recover-from-heartbreak book. I should know because I started reading it the day I moved into a new place after my fiancé and I broke up, and I finished it early the next morning, all my belongings except my toothbrush still packed in boxes around me. What’s marvelous about Crusie’s books is that they are so wry, clear-eyed, funny, and caring, all at the same time. And did I mention funny? Yes? Laughter is the best medicine, especially for a broken heart. (PS – My ex and I got back together and then got married. So the book works.)
 

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All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – Well, I don’t want to give too much away about this book, except know that just about everyone loves it (20,000+ customer reviews on Amazon), and it’s about a blind French girl and a young German soldier whose paths intersect during World War II. Your own life's travails will seem pretty OK in comparison.
 

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Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples – She has wings. He has horns. They used to be on opposite sides of an intergalactic war and now they’re having a kid together. A smartly written graphic novel, Vaughan’s Saga explores the always-under-fire relationship between Alana and Marco in a crazy-exciting swirl of love, space, morality, action, and tough decisions. Read the first volume and you’ll be hooked.
 

“AWW, I LOVE YOU, HONEY BUNCH”

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Me without You by Ralph Lazar and Lisa Swerling – Cute sketches on each page highlight scenarios in which one thing (or person) is not enough. A sweet and kind of arty-hip way to say, “I love you.”
 

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Letters to My Love – Stop sending texts with heart emoticons. Pour out your heart in a real made-from-paper letter. Maybe give one on Valentine’s Day, and then slip another into his or her suitcase before the next business trip, or leave a letter in a boot to be discovered months later… Ah, the scenarios are endless for those with a romantic soul or for those who need a little extra help to free those romantic instincts.
 

 

 

 


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