Some of us are the type who can read love poems to no end. Some of us want nothing to do with anything heart-shaped. Some of us fall in the middle. We’ve got reads for every type as Valentine’s approaches…
FOR THE LOVER OF LOVE: Love Poems, Pablo Neruda. It doesn’t get much more intense than Neruda’s love poems. This edition presents them in both Spanish and English, and is swirled with dreamy curlicues for bonus points.
FOR THE HISTORICAL/CLASSICAL BUFF: Letters to Véra, Vladimir Nabokov. Follow renowned author Nabokov through his long romance with his wife Véra, from the Berlin charity ball where they meet in 1923, to his return to her after an affair in 1937, to the inseparability of their later years. An intimate journey through a tumultuous relationship.
FOR THE GOTHIC ENTHUSIAST: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Patrick Süskind. This singular tale of a boy born in 19th-century Paris with a nearly supernatural ability to smell, which leads him into the perfume-making world, is dark enough to make you squirm and delightful enough to keep you devouring it. Best read at night with a scented candle lit.
FOR THE ESCAPIST: The American Lover, Rose Tremain. A series of short stories that explore different kinds of love—ruinous affairs, fathers who miss their daughters—and the ways it can both wreck our lives and bring us closer together.
FOR THE ‘QUIRKY’ ONE: Vampire in Love, Enrique Vila-Matas. A little absurd, a little surreal, these stories take plots and surroundings you might think you know and insert a stranger element: a young boy who doesn’t speak until he’s eleven, a fat actor who looks for a skinny partner to balance his act. Definitely not a boring read.