Sure, Valentine's Day can be awful. There's the endless barrage of pictures on social media — no matter where you turn, you're bombarded by Instagrams of flowers and date nights. If you're not in the spirit, it can be rough.
Me, however? I say whatever. I love Valentine's Day. You're no more single on February 14 than you are any other day, and if you're not, your significant other loves you just as much as the day before. It's just a fun holiday, and has been since kindergarten. I love the cards and the entire section of Target that becomes dedicated to candy, baking, and all things pink and red. Who has anything against candy and baking? No one.
So, if you're going to go full-speed-ahead with Valentine's Day, you're going to need to pick out a good gift. And you, bookish person, know that you're going to give a read. Because obviously. Here are 14 books that go beyond tear-inducing romances like The Fault in Our Stars and Pride and Prejudice. These titles about life and love are perfect to give your bookish Valentine this year.
My Favorite Things by Maira Kalman
Though not a particularly "romantic" book in the literal sense, Kalman's hand painted book explores all the little things in life that we come to love. Objects, lamps, photographs, nothing is too small to be included. This will make your Valentine reflect on how much he or she loves the little things in life, too. You included!
Lullabies by Lang Leav
Lang Leav writes love poems that speak to the souls of anyone who has ever been in love. Both deeply personal while still being entirely relatable, this collection is an ideal way to tell someone you love him. Leav also enables her readers to send personalized poems from her collections, which would make for an extra thoughtful gift.
How to Tell Toledo From the Night Sky by Lydia Netzer
14,000 Things to be Happy About by Barbara Ann Kipfer
For all the Valentine's Day naysayers, this one is for you. Kipfer details all the little things in life there are to be happy about — 14,000 of them, as the title suggests. From puppy kisses to strawberry ice cream, there is something (aside from love!) for everyone to be happy about.
Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Jennifer Close's novel of friendship and dating disasters is the gift to give all of your girl friends this year for Galentine's Day, of course. Read it, laugh, and maybe even realize that you might not have it so bad after all.
Your Illustrated Guide to Becoming One With the Universe by Yumi Sukugawa
This metaphysical book will show you nine ways to open your mind and your heart and feel more at peace with both yourself and the universe as a whole. Single or taken, this book is for anyone looking to make a better connection with herself.
The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
Don Tillman, the adorably awkward protagonist of The Rosie Project is looking for love, and he has the scientific survey that is sure to bring him the perfect partner. He hopes. But when Rosie walks into his life and challenges everything he thinks he knows, Don might be in trouble. It'll be your quirky Valentine.
Never Have I Ever: My Life (So Far) Without a Date by Katie Heaney
Single on V-Day? You're not alone. Katie Heaney's memoir of being 25 without ever having had a boyfriend will have you laughing out loud and feeling slightly less cynical this February 14.
Second Star to the Right by Mary Alice Monroe
Perfect for anyone looking for a fairytale romance (even a fictional one). Faye O'Neill is a down on her luck single mom who moves into an old Victorian home and swears of men. That is of course, until she meets Jack, who is amazing with her children, and might just have Faye reconsidering all the promises she's made to herself.
The Tiny Book of Tiny Stories by Joseph Gordon Levitt
Tiny stories that are only a page long fill this small but meaningful book compiled by various illustrators by Joseph Gordon Levitt and his HitRecord team. Though the stories are tiny, they're pretty much guaranteed to bring a smile to your Valentine's face.
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
Is there a more romantic dance than ballet? Probably not. In her second novel, Astonish Me, Maggie Shipstead brings to life the relationship between ballet dancer Joan and Arslan Ruskov, a world famous dancer. Emotional, filled with the power of dance, this is the book gift for fans of ballet, or just a beautiful story.
A personal account of Julie Klausner's misadventures in dating, I Don't Care About Your Band is the book about love and life — no matter where you are in it.
Us by David Nicholls
Douglas and Connie have been married forever, it seems, but when their marriage takes a turn for the worst, a family trip to Europe could be just what they need to save them. A stand in for a romantic getaway, David Nicholls writes the perfect Valentine's Day vacation.
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante
The third in a series of books about the love and bond a lifelong friendship can hold, Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay is a fantastic book to help you appreciate all the friends in your life, and the things you've faced together.
Image: Paul Sturgess/Flickr