As a sappy romantic, it doesn’t need to be Valentine’s Day to get me in the mood for a good love story. I’ll take it whenever I can get it — the sappier, the better. I’ve been leaning toward nonfiction lately, so most of these are real-life love stories, but please add your faves to the list, fiction or nonfiction. Go steamy or go home. — Amy Azzarito
Missed Connections: Love, Lost & Found — Artist Sophie Blackall became so completely captivated by Craigslist missed connections that she had to illustrate them. Her illustrations are available on Etsy, but there’s nothing like seeing the entire collection together in book form. (We peeked into Sophie’s home back in 2009, you can see it here.)
Uncommon Arrangements: Seven Marriages — This book got me through my Christmas cross-country plane trip with ease. The story of seven unconventional marriages in the British literary community from 1910 to the Second World War is a fascinating look at the most private part of some very famous lives.
Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love — This book by bloggers Sherry and John Petersik is filled with advice to help you give your home a little love.
More great book ideas continue after the jump . . .
Swoon: Great Seducers and Why Women Love Them — I read the sample section of this book and was totally hooked. This one is on my reading list. Author Betsy Prioleau examines ladies’ men throughout history — from Casanova and Lord Byron to Ashton Kutcher. She even looks at contemporary culture and asks, where are the Casanovas of today?
Love Letters of Great Men: The Collection of Love Letters Drawn from Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City — This book of love letters that Carrie checked out from the New York Public Library was so pivotal to the plot of Sex and the City: The Movie that the fictional book was published as its own volume. (There is a companion book of letters from great women, too.)
Love Letters of Famous Men and Women — When the Sex and the City: The Movie came out, the New York Public Library wrote this blog post, attempting to discern exactly which book Carrie might have checked out from the collection. This book is a reprint of one of the volumes mentioned in the blog post.
Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love — Author and anthropologist Helen Fisher takes a look at what happens to the brain, our bodies and our behavior when we fall in love. Working with a team of scientists to scan the brains of people who have just fallen in love, Fisher proves that certain areas of the brain light up when we fall in love. She offers answers to the questions, what is love? Why do we love? And how do we keep love? (She also has great TED Talks, “The Brain in Love” and “Why We love, Why We Cheat.”)
Love, Life and Elephants: An African Love Story — This book covers love between humans, elephants and the African wilderness. Do I need to say more? Daphne Sheldrick, whose ancestors arrived in Africa from Scotland in the 1820s, is the first person ever to have successfully hand-reared newborn elephants. This memoir is the story of her relationship with the animals and with David Sheldrick, the warden of Tsavo Park, one of the oldest and largest parks in Kenya.
Data, A Love Story: How I Gamed Online Dating to Meet My Match — After one particularly bad Internet date, author Amy Webb decided that she would take matters into her own hands and see if she could game the system. She realized that she wasn’t evaluating the right data in suitors’ profiles, and after making a 72-point list of what she was and wasn’t looking for in a mate, she hit the dating sites and came out on the other end with her future husband.
How the French Invented Love: Nine Hundred Years of Passion and Romance — I’m a sucker for almost any book that delves into the top of French culture. Author Marilyn Yalom analyzes French literature, paintings and songs in her part memoir/part history lesson to discover how the French invented love, what is unique about French love and how it has been kept vibrant.