PUBLISHED: 3:52 PM on Wednesday, February 14, 2007
Reads that pull at the heart

Flowers wilt.

Chocolates are good, but they end up directly on the thighs.

Lingerie might not be appropriate, stuffed animals are too cutesy, and a card?

Come on, use some imagination. Instead, get your Valentine something that lasts and looks great on a shelf: a book that says "I love you."

Valentine's Day and poetry simply go hand in hand, and "When Angels Speak of Love" by bell hooks (Atria, $16.95 / $19.99 Canada) is a great place to start. Read these free-flowing poems aloud in front of a roaring fireplace, add chocolate-covered strawberries and see what happens next.

If you're writing a love letter this Feb. 14, then get a little help with "Love: Quotes and Passages from the Heart", edited by B.C. Aronson (Random House Reference, $14.95/ $19.95 Canada). This handy little book is filled with full of heart-felt sentiments by philosophers, writers, actors, poets, and others who know all about marriage, romance, love, relationships, and, yes, writing love letters.

So let's say you're planning on giving the Ultimate Valentine's Gift: a diamond ring. First, be prepared by reading "The Guy's Guide to Dating, Getting Hitched, and Surviving the First Year of Marriage" by Michael Crider (DaCapo Press Lifelong, $12.95/ $15.50 Canada). Get ideas, get pointers, get how-to's, get prepared... and most of all, get a woman's point of view on romance and marriage.

Ah, but you're saying that the Valentine's Day Massacre happened on Feb. 14 for a reason. Bah, humbug on hearts and flowers? Then look for "Secret Keeping: Overcoming Hidden Habits and Addictions" by John Howard Prin ($15.95 US). The author says millions of people hide things from their friends and family every day. Read this book and thank your lucky stars you're single.

Then again... you see all those happy couples walking around and you think there's a place for romance in the world after all.

But does Mr. Right exist? Author Brenda Della Casa will help you find out in "Cinderella Was a Liar" (McGraw Hill, $21.95 US). Find out why you gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find a real prince.

Ask your local librarian or bookseller for more great Valentines and books you'll love.

Happy (romantic) Reading.