Wherever you go these days you see red balloons, hearts and chocolates – it’s looking very like the month of love.
And it doesn’t have to be love for a person – as a colleague quipped: “Oh books, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”
Exclusive Books has seized the opportunity to mark Valentine’s Day on February 14 with a selection of books about love, from how to do it right, how to make your relationship deeper and more spiritual, to some jokey pun books.
And then of course there are always the shelves of love stories, and poetry, starting with Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s work which features her famous love sonnet, How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways, which celebrates her devotion to the poet Robert Browning.
In fact their Victorian love story, complete with an elopement, is worth rereading at this romantic time.
A self-help book that could keep your love on track is Jay Shetty’s 8 Rues of Love – How to find it, keep it, and let it go. He’s the author of the New York Times bestseller Think Like a Monk.
In his volume on the rules of love he draws on ancient wisdom and new sicence to lay out specific steps to help you develop the skills to be a better lover. Falling in love is wonderful, but long-term relationships are something else again. The guidelines from romance movies and pop culture aren’t really enough preparation for this – but Shetty’s advice might help introduce a little rigour to a subject swathed in pink clouds.
Another is Closer to Love by music producer Vex King, who has written a practical, emotional and spiritiual guide to more fulfilling love. Modern relationships might be complex, but we all still need love.
If you want to learn from example, Marisa Morea has written I Will Always Love You, a look at musical couples who have made love work.
If you fancy a giggle, you can’t go wrong with Olive You – Valentine Knock-Knock Jokes by Katy Hall.
And then there are two picture books that will tickle the fancy of young and old: Mr Men Little Miss Love Gift Book, featuring the iconic characters, and How to be Loved like Paddington by Michael Bond, which is full of quotes that capture the impact of one of the most loved characters in children’s literature.