Imagine it: the room is aglow with the soft whisper of candlelight, the carefully selected vintage red has been poured, the dishes from the thoughtfully planned cuisine have been cleared, and your valentine is passing a beautifully wrapped present across the table, eagerly awaiting your approval of the gift that’s been chosen. No, it’s not a tiny, expensive-jewelry-shaped box, nor freshly clipped fragrant roses. And no, it’s not an adorable wiggling puppy or two tickets to your version of paradise. It’s even better: it’s a book.
Wait, wait. Let me explain! There are moments in literature so romantic that they could never be completely duplicated in person, but giving that literature to the one you love is a close second in proving that you truly tried this Valentine’s Day. A romantic book can speak, well, volumes. And luckily, here are five great choices to get you going in the right direction.
For Making a Romantic Gesture
The Love Letters of Great Men, Volume 1
Remember the days when men’s success at wooing women was based mostly on their ability to put together words in endearing ways? Sigh. Gone are those days, but luckily if you’re going to be making a move this year to win a valentine, “The Love Letters of Great Men” is a good place to start. The words of Jack London, Lord Byron, Beethoven, James Joyce — these are the words you should use to woo your valentine this year. “I hope to hold you in my arms before long, when I shall lavish upon you a million kisses, burning as the equatorial sun.” If Napoleon Bonaparte can find love just by using those words, you know it can do wonders for you.
For the Couple Whose Flame is Flickering
Questions for Couples: 469 Thought-Provoking Conversation Starters for Connecting, Building Trust, and Rekindling Intimacy
One of the most exciting aspects of new love is the possibility and the mystery, not knowing how someone takes their coffee, not knowing their favorite movie or restaurant. After years together, the mystery is often replaced with comfort and intimacy, and sometimes this can make it feel like that flame has a bit of a flicker. This Valentine’s Day, remind your partner that there is still more to learn with “Questions for Couples,” a conversation-starting book that will fan that flame and spark the kind of all-night discussions you had when your love was new.
For the Wordless Writer
Letters to My Love: Write Now. Read Later. Treasure Forever.
No matter how much you love someone, you may not know exactly how to say it, much less write it, but “Letters to My Love” makes it easy. This small yet mighty book is a collection of twelve fold-and-seal (or save) notes that offer writing prompts to help you wax poetic, like “It’s the little things, like when…” and “I promise you…” It’s a nice way to remind your valentine what they mean to you, and putting it in writing lets your special someone re-read your words on days when you’re not quite so, ahem, eloquent.
For the Love of Love (The Classics)
Valentine’s Day is about love, and sometimes the love of love is worth celebrating in itself. Some of our history’s most romantic moments are between fictional people, adding fuel to the fire of hopeful romantics everywhere. Celebrate the V-Day holiday this year by curling up with your favorite beverage and a thick, cozy blanket to read one of the classics, because nothing says love like “Love in the Time of Cholera,” “Bridges of Madison County,” “Pride and Prejudice,” “Wuthering Heights,” “A Farewell to Arms,” “The Notebook,” “The Great Gatsby,” “Like Water for Chocolate,” or other greats.
For the True Love
(Love Poetry at Its Finest)
There are crushes, there are flings, there are in-between great love romances, and then there is the one true love, the soul mate, the perfect counterpart to you, and it is that valentine that deserves the love poetry of the greats, including “Love Poems” by Pablo Neruda (which actually caused a scandal for its sensuality when it was published anonymously in 1952), “The Love Poems of Rumi” (translated by Nader Khalili) and “The Love Poems and Sonnets of William Shakespeare,” which of course features some of the English language’s most beautiful words describing history’s most true loves (see also: Romeo and Juliet). For Valentine’s Day this year, surprise your true love with the truest words of love ever published.
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