Valentine’s Day is swiftly approaching. Rather than rush to buy roses that will fade or candy that will sabotage your honey’s New Year’s resolutions, how about buying them a book? The gift will last and your thoughtfulness will be appreciated. Here are some of our suggestions:

For Kings and Planets by Ethan Canin is literary but it’s never dull. It’s a love story about male friendship. When Orno leaves a farm in Missouri to attend college in New York City, he is befriended by a brilliant, erratic classmate. Orno’s admiration and eventual wariness of his genius friend forms an attachment that Orno chafes under but can never quite escape. – Kelly Sarabyn

American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History by Chris Kyle is the perfect book for those interested in reading about what it’s like to be in combat. This book isn’t political; it is simply one person’s account of serving in the Army. It features passages from Chris’s wife Taya, who shares the toll military life can take on a marriage. – Kelly Sarabyn

The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides is set at Brown University in the early 80s, and it follows Madeleine, “an incurable romantic” and her two male suitors. The book seamlessly switches perspective among the three main characters, illustrating the intensity, and folly, of youthful love.  – Kelly Sarabyn

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett is a beautiful book about love, language and music. At a party in an unnamed South American country, a Japanese businessman is thrilled to hear one of his favorite sopranos sing. But the party comes to a sudden halt when a band of revolutionaries takes the partygoers hostage. Danger and suspense lurks as the businessman, the translator, the singer and even the revolutionaries find themselves forming unexpected relationships and loves. – Kelly Sarabyn

The Griffin & Sabine Trilogy by Nick Bantock. I read this back in the early nineties, at the height of the Griffin & Sabine hysteria. Nick Bantock’s romantic trilogy is a long-distance love story told entirely through beautifully illustrated letters. You will fall in love with Griffin Moss, a London-based postcard maker, and Sabine Strohem, the South Pacific stamp illustrator who may or may not be his soulmate. What is it about? One day Griffin gets an extraordinary letter from Sabine revealing that she knows all kinds of things about his life and work—suggesting that she knows him. And the journey begins… – Maribel Garcia

The Rosie Project: A Novel by Graeme Simsion. One of my close girlfriends spent a year in Holland, and, afterward, she went on and on about this novel. What’s that have to do with Holland? Well, she loved it so much that she read the Dutch Edition. I can’t see myself reading an entire novel in a language that I am not 100% fluent in. Dang! I thought. This must be one great read! The novel did not disappoint (I read the English version). In this romantic story, Donn Tillman, a genetics professor lacking social skills (the book never mentions Asperger’s, but he is so extremely challenged when it comes to negotiating human emotions that it makes you think so). After many disastrous dates, Don comes up with the idea of the Wife Project, a questionnaire that would help find the perfect mate via scientific analysis. Well, you can just imagine how a 16-page questionnaire fared with the ladies. Enter Rosie, a wise and witty bartender whom he quickly eliminates … or does he? – Maribel Garcia

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry. My husband is an avid reader. He’ll check out anything from The Help to The StandNot to make assumptions, but I don’t know if all husbands are quite so receptive! So, if you’re looking to find your guy a good read, I recommend the Joe Ledger series. Action thriller meets military fiction, with a healthy dose of horror noir thrown in for good fun. These books are page turners! And, how about this for an opening hook: “When you have to kill the same terrorist twice in one week, then there’s either something wrong with your skills or something wrong with your world. And there’s nothing wrong with my skills.” Joe Ledger is the bad-ass hero that both my husband and I have grown to love. Patient Zero has Joe and his team racing to save the world from a bio-weapon that can turn ordinary citizens into zombies. Happy reading and Happy Valentine’s Day! – Tabitha Lord

The X-Files Origins: Devil’s Advocate by Jonathan Maberry–yes, you just saw his work featured aboveand The X-Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia are both perfect for your favorite X-Files lover–pun intended! These gripping tales of Scully’s and Mulder’s teenage backstories are perfect to take on a plane. Hopefully, you’ve planned a Valentine’s treat for the two of you to go someplace warm! I type as I escape the Noreaster happening back home while I’m vacationing in the LA area. – Amy M. Hawes

Running with the Champ: My Forty-Year Friendship with Muhammad Ali by Tim Shanahan is a surefire winner for the sports aficionado in your life. Tim shares his inside perspective on this renowned and controversial figure from both inside and outside the ring. His friend, Rod Laver, the tennis great, also has a new book out, Rod Laver: An Autobiography, that is great for tennis buffs and those who appreciate stories of determination and dreams coming true! My brother, an avid tennis player, loved it! – Amy M. Hawes

If you’re flying solo this Valentine’s Day, there are three books that are my all-time favorites in the category of poignant love stories that are nothing like Nicholas Sparks’ heart-tugging followed by happiness bestsellers. These are mined from much deeper ore. The first is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy. Let’s assume you know the basic plot. If you’re lucky enough not to and this story is fresh for you, I’m not going to introduce spoilers here! Reading this classic, you’ll soak in the deep sensual tenor of the book and feel deeply for the characters. But please be patient with Tolstoy. He’s from a different time and if you allow him, he will take you on a journey there! – Amy M. Hawes

My second recommendation is Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, an exquisitely created love story that ranks as one of the best ever told. Though I last read it decades ago, I can still recall the line:

 . . .the scent of bitter almonds always reminded him of the fate of unrequited love.

If you’re looking something in the ilk of a Hollywood romantic comedy, this one’s not for you. However, if you want something deep, beautiful and gorgeously written, I can think of few better choices. – Amy M. Hawes

The Summer of Katya is another story I’ll never forget. As with Anna Karenina and Love in the Time of Cholera, giving a brief plot synopsis seems too mundane for such transcendent works. If you aren’t familiar with these stories already, perhaps you’ll simply trust my deep passion for them and give them a try! At least you’ll know if you should follow my advice in the future! – Amy M. Hawes

And, I simply can’t forgive myself if I leave out Pablo Neruda’s gorgeous poems from this Valentine’s list. Neruda’s poetry captures the visceral essence of love, desire, passion, sensuality, and the deliciousness and pain of human experience. He, essentially, is the quintessential drop-the-mike word artist when it comes to using language to conjure sensation. – Amy M. Hawes

As I read over this list myself and my colleagues have composed for you, I realize how well it conveys our philosophy at BCB. We are each different and our recommendations reflect that truth. But, we are united in our desire to offer carefully curated choices that will truly satisfy,

Happy Valentine’s Day to all our subscribers! We appreciate you and hope to do our part to help create a world in which we all appreciate one another!

 

 

 

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