From The NPR Bookshelves
5:03 am
Thu February 14, 2013

Sick Of Valentine's Day? 6 Book Stories To Soothe Your Soul

This Valentine's Day, if you're feeling lonely, heartbroken, or just a bit jaundiced, we've got some archive treasures for you — tempestuous relationships, cartoon heartbreak, and a few books that may make you feel less alone — plus a bonus playlist from our good friends at NPR Music.


3 Biting Books For Those Bitter On Valentine's Day
For some people, Feb. 14 is not all hearts and candy. Without a sweetheart, the holiday can be dreary — and you might not want to make it worse with books about star-crossed lovers and hopeless pining. For those not in love this year, author Alex Gilvarry prescribes three books that will cure the worst of those Valentine's Day blues. (All Things Considered review, Feb. 13, 2012)


Archie Broke My Heart! Now What?
The Archie Comics website shows Archie on the cover of issue No. 600 down on bended knee proposing to ... Veronica! After 67 years, it appears the carrot-topped Archie will marry va-va-voomy rich-girl Veronica instead of girl-next-door Betty. That has many fans angry, but their pain is nothing compared to what Betty is going through. Commentator Amy Dickinson has some advice for the heartbroken blonde. (All Things Considered commentary, Aug. 19, 2009)


Cartoonist Sees Bad Relationships In A Funny Way
The divorced artist behind a relationship advice column has a new collection of his work. Nick Galifianakis' drawings, originally done to accompany his ex-wife's column, evoke a side of relationships that doesn't really fit the romantic mold. "I try to put myself in the intimate context of the relationship," he says, "and then think, 'What is true — but often inappropriate?' " So, a word of warning: If you give this book to your sweetheart, you may find yourself spending Valentine's Day alone. (Weekend Edition Saturday interview, Feb. 12, 2011)


Defining Joy And Heartbreak In A 'Lover's Dictionary'
In The Lover's Dictionary, young adult author David Levithan defines the good, bad and ugly moments of a relationship, and tackles the grownup material of love and squalor, piece by piece, in a dictionary format. Over the course of the novel, the small details about two lovers combine to create a heartbreaking (and often uplifting) whole. Levithan says the book began as part of his tradition of writing a Valentine's Day story for friends and family. (All Things Considered, Feb. 14, 2011)


Six-Word Memoirs: The Valentine's Day Edition
Can you sum up your love life in exactly six words? Hundreds of famous and not-so-famous authors rose to the challenge for Smith magazine's Six-Word Memoirs on Love and Heartbreak. The results are sometimes romantic: "He sees the me I don't." And sometimes devastating: "For the children, I remain his." (Talk of the Nation interview, Feb. 11, 2009)


History, Heartbreak And The 'Chemistry Of Tears'
The hero and the heroine of Peter Carey's new novel are separated by 150 years — and are brought together by an enormous, 19th-century mechanical duck. As the two narratives unfold, the duck becomes a swan, and many of its inner workings are revealed. But that's not exactly true for the difficult, mysterious characters who populate the book. The Chemistry of Tears is the 12th novel by the Australian-born, two-time Booker Prize-winning author. (Weekend Edition Sunday interview, May 13, 2012)


Musical Bonus: So, Your Tiny Black Heart Is Broken
These five songs are for those wishing to wallow in Valentine's Day's sheer, soul-wrecking brutality. Each has been carefully selected to provide a vivid soundtrack for those moments when alcohol isn't even necessary, so drunk is the listener on his or her own misery. (Songs of Love and Loathing, Feb. 12, 2008)

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