Friday, February 6, 2009

V-Day is Coming

Yes, it's an over-hyped holiday revived from Roman times by Hallmark in the early 1900s and now kept alive by manipulative retailers of all kinds, but if you're in a romantic relationship, then it's a holiday you ignore at your peril. If you're still searching for the perfect gift for your valentine, consider a book. It's thoughtful, always classy, and not too over-the-top for these uncertain economic times.

Here are some good ideas:
  • My Mistress’s Sparrow is Dead, edited by Jeffrey Eugenides. This sophisticated compilation of short stories about love is edited by the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Middlesex. I loved this collection when I read it last year and gave it a rare 4.5 out of 5. As I mentioned in my review, however, this isn't a gift for new loves. Given its often dark themes, save this one for a more established relationship so as not to send an ambiguous message. It's available in hardcoverand paperbackeditions. The hardcover edition is particularly beautiful.
  • Franklin and Lucy by Joseph Persico. If your Valentine prefers non-fiction, Franklin and Lucy by Joseph Persico is a good choice. In this biography, Persico paints an intimate portrait of Franklin Delano Roosevelt through the lens of his relationships with various women over the course of his life. Persico's treatment is sensitive and highly readable. It's available only in an attractive hardcoveredition.
  • The Sailor from Gibraltar by Marguerite Duras. This title from Open Letter Books is particlularly well-suited to Valentine's Day, and your gift will support this university press's laudable mission of bringing important international works into English translations. If you order this week, Open Letter will gift wrap your book for Valentine's Day gratis. Get further details here.

  • For the reluctant reader or the person with too many books already, consider Jeff Hoke's Museum of Lost Wonder. This "book" defies description. It's a beautifully illustrated curiosity cabinet for adults, complete with paper models and filled with intellectual potpourri.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great idea! A book is a thoughtful no matter the occasion.