Aaaah! Valentine’s Day is tomorrow! (A late blog post for procrastinators.)

by Rachel on February 13, 2014

I know there are a lot of people out there who are scrambling to pull together a little Valentine’s Day gift for their beloved.  I know this, because I am one of these people.  (Oops.)  I will acknowledge the fact that, not only am I still in need of a gift, I am also finally managing to write this blog post the day before Valentine’s Day.  Clearly, I am exactly the person you should go to for advice.

Anyway, I had the best intentions, but the days got away from me and now it’s almost Friday.  I’d like to present to you a few Valentine’s Day gift ideas, as well as some variations on the traditional approach to the jewelry and candy gift-giving.  Not into the Valentine’s Day thing?  Go ahead and pick up a little something for yourself— you deserve it!

For all your little Valentines!
The Bookstore Valentine
by Barbara Maitland, illustrated by David LaRochelle
Valentine’s Day is coming, and Mr. Brown’s bookstore is so busy that he decides to hire someone to help out. Miss Button is perfect for the job. She loves books, she loves cats, and she even understands the special ghost in Mr. Brown’s bookstore. There’s only one problem. Mr. Brown and Miss Button like one another, but they’re both too shy to say so! (Penguin Young Readers)

A touching lesson on love and life.
Fill in Love for Life by Barbara “Cutie” Cooper with Kim Cooper & Chinta Cooper

In a world of 72-day celebrity marriages, a 73-year marriage is nearly unimaginable. Against all odds, Cutie and Harry Cooper persevered through seven decades of marriage, enjoying triumphant milestones and enduring devastating losses, all while keeping their sense of humor and connection intact. Here, Cutie chronicles their story and extracts time-tested advice on how to know if you’ve met “the one,” the art of fighting fair, and everything else that goes into staying blissfully bonded. With vintage photos charting their relationship from newlyweds to nonagenarians, this nostalgic and romantic gift book is a practical resource for anyone who dreams of falling in love for life. (Chronicle Books)

Historical fiction + artists + Paris= perfect.
I Always Loved You by Robin Oliveira

The young Mary Cassatt never thought moving to Paris after the Civil War to be an artist was going to be easy, but when, after a decade of work, her submission to the Paris Salon is rejected, Mary’s fierce determination wavers. Her father is begging her to return to Philadelphia to find a husband before it is too late, her sister Lydia is falling mysteriously ill, and worse, Mary is beginning to doubt herself. Then one evening a friend introduces her to Edgar Degas and her life changes forever. Years later she will learn that he had begged for the introduction, but in that moment their meeting seems a miracle. So begins the defining period of her life and the most tempestuous of relationships.  (Viking)

Deciphering love:
Love Illuminated: Exploring Life’s Most Mystifying Subject (with the Help of 50,000 Strangers)
by Daniel Jones

Love is unrivaled in its power to thrill, crush, and sustain. No subject in human history has been more thoroughly examined. And yet, as desperately as we have tried to unlock love’s mysteries–to “decode” it through scientific experimentation, philosophical inquiry, and even mathematical algorithms–do we really understand love any better today than Shakespeare did nearly five hundred years ago?

As the editor of a column about love in the New York Times, Daniel Jones has been privy to the deepest personal revelations of tens of thousands of strangers. Deluged with stories of scheming cheaters, hopeless romantics, racy texts, and fierce devotion, he has spent much of the past decade wading through love’s muck and majesty–and has taken plenty of notes along the way. In Love Illuminated, he uses his unique perspective to tease apart life’s most mystifying subject.

Drawing from the 50,000 tales of love that have crossed his desk, Jones traces the arc of human relationships through ten phases, starting with the pursuit, destiny, vulnerability, connection, and trust of new love, and then turning to the practicality, monotony, infidelity, loyalty, and wisdom of love matured. With empathy and wry humor, he takes readers on an enlightening journey through the highs, lows, and enduring unknowns of this universal experience that rattles the head and stirs the heart.  (William Morrow & Company)

A Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra

A Washington Post Top Ten Book of the Year *A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

In a small rural village in Chechnya, eight-year-old Havaa watches from the woods as Russian soldiers abduct her father in the middle of the night and then set fire to her home. When their lifelong neighbor Akhmed finds Havaa hiding in the forest with a strange blue suitcase, he makes a decision that will forever change their lives. He will seek refuge at the abandoned hospital where the sole remaining doctor, Sonja Rabina, treats the wounded.

For Sonja, the arrival of Akhmed and Havaa is an unwelcome surprise. Weary and overburdened, she has no desire to take on additional risk and responsibility. But over the course of five extraordinary days, Sonja’s world will shift on its axis and reveal the intricate pattern of connections that weaves together the pasts of these three unlikely companions and unexpectedly decides their fate. A story of the transcendent power of love in wartime, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is a work of sweeping breadth, profound compassion, and lasting significance.  (Hogarth/ Random House)
*Don’t miss Anthony Marra’s event on 2/26 at 7pm! 

Books and more books!  Any title makes a great gift and we have a lot of wonderful new books in stock.

You’re a Sweetie postcards, $1.95

Literary Love: Great Writers on Love and Romance by Isobel Carlson
A collection of quips and quotes from some of the greatest writers ever, on the subject that has inspired so much of their work— love.
All around the world, every second of the day, people are falling in love. It has been the subject of books and songs for centuries, with many great writers, past and present, having something to say on the matter–from Aristotle (“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies”) to Stefan Zweig (“I am sure that no one else has ever loved you so lavishly, with such doglike fidelity, with such devotion, as I did and do”). This collection of heartfelt quotations from diaries, letters, poems and prose is perfect for anyone feeling the heady rush of romance, whether it’s an old flame still burning bright or a new one just beginning to spark.  (Skyhorse Publishing)

Crabtree & Evelyn’s new men’s fragrance, West Indian Lime, is divine!
West Indian Lime products, $8.50- $49.95

Apothecary candles by Paddywax, $19.95 each

LOVE box, $11.50

Braided & beaded bracelets, assorted colors, $9.95 each

Sea Salt Caramels by Little Flower Candy Co. = the most spectacular confection you could ever give your Valentine.  Ever. $8.95 per bag.

Love and Kisses glass tray, $63.95

Glass tray, $83.95
Love coupons (Breakfast in Bed, Weekend Away, and Champagne & Chocolates), $3.50 each

Write a sweet love letter on some darling stationery.
Assorted boxed notes and cards, $14.50- $15.00 each set

Or write a tiny message in a bottle!
Message in a Bottle, $6.95 each