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21 Books to Give Your Friends or Lovers This Valentine's Day

Jan 30 2016 - 8:00am

When trying to find a Valentine's Day [1] gift for your single partner in crime or current lover, there's a lot to love about books. They are sweetly simple, making them acceptable for a new man in your life. But books also can convey that you put a lot of thought into the present, since you can draw on how well you know your best friend or longtime love to find the perfect title to add to their bookshelves. We've rounded up some books on love, sex, marriage, and the single life that range from humorous to earnest. We hope they help you spread some love come Feb. 14.

— Additional reporting by Tara Block

101 Quizzes For Couples

101 Quizzes for Couples: Take These Tests to Find Out Who Really Knows Who! [2] by relationship expert Natasha Burton is perfect for old and new couples alike. Spend a date night really getting to know your partner by asking each other these fun questions that range from silly to serious.

Eleanor & Park

I can't emphasize enough how delightful and heart-wrenching Rainbow Rowell's YA novel Eleanor & Park [3] is. It's a tender tale of misfits finding each other that will have you reminiscing about your own first love.

Modern Dating: A Field Guide

Modern Dating: A Field Guide [4], a collaboration between writer and blogger Chiara Atik and HowAboutWe [5] cofounders Brian Schechter and Aaron Schildkrout, is jam packed with real-world advice on courtship for singles in this modern dating jungle of sexting, online dating apps, and Google searches. But while the guide tackles these new technologies and the complications of contemporary dating, it's also full of sweet and simple dating rules that ring true no matter what decade you were born in.

Love: Quotes and Passages From the Heart

Who doesn't love love quotes? Love: Quotes and Passages From the Heart [6] is a collection of heartfelt and funny quotes on romance and relationships that I can't wait to dive into.

Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date

Katie Heaney hilariously chronicles her lackluster love life in Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date [7]. At 25, the blogger and writer had a college degree, plenty of friends, and a loving family — but she'd never had a boyfriend or even been on a second date.

A Million First Dates: Solving the Puzzle of Online Dating

Give Dan Slater's A Million First Dates: Solving the Puzzle of Online Dating [8] to any single girlfriends you know who've been wading in the online dating pool.

Sex After . . . : Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes

Iris Krasnow gets insight from real women in Sex After . . . : Women Share How Intimacy Changes as Life Changes [9]. Some of the topics include a loss of sex drive, getting intimate after cancer and other illnesses, coming out later in life, adultery, and dating again after divorce.

The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex

Comedian Kristen Schaal and her husband, Richard Blomquist, who used to write for The Daily Show, present a sexy guide appropriately titled The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex [10]. Perfect for anyone who has a sense of humor about the bedroom, it includes sex myths and facts, vintage sex guides, and helpful information like various methods of contraception demonstrated on a banana.

The Science of Kissing

Even a good kisser can learn a thing or two. The Science of Kissing [11] provides a lesson in the evolutionary and cultural history of the kiss.

A Jane Austen Education

Austen scholar William Deresiewicz's A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter [12] intertwines the life lessons that can be gleaned from Jane Austen's novels and how they affected his own personal experiences.

All There Is: Love Stories From StoryCorps

For almost a decade, Dave Isay and others behind StoryCorps have conducted over 30,000 interviews for the oral-history project. Some of these interviews have aired on NPR's Morning Edition, and all are catalogued in the Library of Congress. All There Is: Love Stories From StoryCorps [13] highlights the everyday yet revealing stories on love and marriage from the vast collection.

Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love

"Never date a philosopher" is what nobody ever told me. But apparently these extraordinary overthinkers are exceptionally bad at romance, and Great Philosophers Who Failed at Love [14] puts their thoughts on love together for a fascinating and funny read.

The Science of Single

The Science of Single: One Woman's Grand Experiment in Modern Dating, Creating Chemistry, and Finding Love [15] chronicles Rachel Machacek's attempt to date scientifically: committing one year of dating by every means possible.

Much Ado About Loving

The long title of Much Ado About Loving: What Our Favorite Novels Can Teach You About Date Expectations, Not-So-Great Gatsbys, and Love in the Time of Internet Personals [16] pretty much tells you what to expect. In the book, Jack Murninghan and Maura Kelly push aside the advice of self-help books, friends, and even psychiatrists, instead turning to timeless novels for relationship and dating wisdom.

The Lover's Dictionary

YA author David Levithan takes on adult readers in The Lover's Dictionary [17]. In it, a nameless narrator explores the complexity of love with 26 chapters, broken down by letters of the alphabet.

Neü Sex

Sasha Grey has become some kind of thinking-woman's porn star. In Neü Sex [18], she turns the camera on her world, showing us the daily grind of an adult actress.

Girls in White Dresses

Jennifer Close's Girls in White Dresses [19] follows a group of young women in the city who must deal with postcollege realities, relationships, friendship, and the disappointments of life not turning out quite how you expected it to. Sound familiar?

No Cheating, No Dying

Elizabeth Weil gets real about relationships in her book No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried to Make It Better. [20] by telling the story of how she and her husband took measures to improve their pretty good marriage. This funny and honest book covers sex, money, in-laws, children, and more in relation to the crazy journey of marriage.

Going Solo

In Eric Klinenberg's Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone [21], the sociologist explores the growing single movement in the US and the many benefits of living alone.

Paris: A Love Story

Journalist Kati Marton tells her own story of romance and loss in the the city of love in her memoir Paris: A Love Story [22]. Très romantique.

150 Shades of Play

If you managed to get through S&M hit Fifty Shades of Grey, then you know it probably shouldn't be treated as a bedroom how-to manual. But the latest book from sex-writer duo Em & Lo, 150 Shades of Play [23], promises to be a smart, funny, and helpful illustrated guide to making your sex life more adventurous.

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