Love is in the air: books for romantics at any stage
It's Valentine's Day again, and men and women alike are measuring their relationships (or lack thereof) against the picture-perfect images presented by jewelers, candy makers and Hallmark cards. But take heart: whether you're searching for someone to share your box of chocolates with or unabashedly disposing of the whole box yourself, BookPage has found the advice book for you.
Looking for love
Mr. Right, Right Now!: How a Smart Woman Can Land Her Dream Man in 6 Weeks, by E. Jean Carroll, takes a proactive, humorous approach to capturing (and captivating) a great guy in short order. Carroll has written an advice column for Elle magazine for more than 10 years and is the co-founder of the highly trafficked site, GreatBoyfriends.com. (There's an accompanying GreatGirlfriends.commen walk on Lonely Street too!) This man mogul candidly explains how to use your innate feminine wiles to make first encounters memorable, learn to ask men out and otherwise "mop up the floor with men." She starts with a program designed to get a woman feeling and looking her best because, as she points out in Man Catching Law #4: "Delight in Your Own Attractions, and You Will Attract."
And getting to that mutual attraction, that "synchronizing," is the name of the game. Carroll's advice will get you out of the unproductive (and boring) practice of man-searching in grocery stores and take you to where the men really are. She lists hockey rinks, the Belmont Stakes, yacht clubs, marinas and film festivals among the many places where meeting Mr. Right would be more amenable than experiencing the magic "clicking" moment over wilted spinach in a produce aisle. Besides, think of all the fun you'll have!
If you found your Mr. Right a while back, married him, and are now wondering where in tarnation toleration went, let alone magic, Lasting Love: The 5 Secrets of Growing a Vital, Conscious Relationship, by Gay Hendricks, Ph.D. and Kathlyn Hendricks, Ph.D. (Rodale, $21.95, 272 pages, ISBN 1579548326) can help breathe new life into your long-term relationship. The married authors readily admit to being their own "best customers, as any relationship experts should be." The Hendricks have discovered that although couples may have different surface issues, such as arguing over sex or money, the underlying source usually boils down to problems in one or more of five distinct areas: commitment, emotional transparency (the ability to clearly identify and state one's feelings), sharing responsibility, creative individuation (expressing your own creativity on a regular basis), and appreciation (feeling it and communicating it). While this is a couples book, if you are currently between relationships or wondering how to make love last beyond the initial blind infatuation stage next time, Lasting Love can arm you with romantic insights and relationship savvy for the next go 'round.
For satisfied singles
Finally, Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics (HarperSanFrancisco, $19.95, 176 pages, ISBN 006057898X), by Sasha Cagen, fills a niche that has long gone unrecognizeda relationship book for singles! Cagen defines a "quirkyalone" as "a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship), and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple."
A famous example of a quirkyalone would be Katharine Hepburndespite her strong feelings for long-time love and fellow actor Spencer Tracy, she never wanted to marry him. Cagen claims that QAs are "romantic, wistful, idealist, and independent." She explains that many quirkyalones enjoy "the surplus energy for work and friends, and the exhilarating feeling of waking up unfettered" that comes with "singledom." If this sounds like you, you may be quirky (i.e. "distinctive; unintentionally different; without artifice") and alone (i.e. "apart from others, uncoupled") but you are not alone. Cagen's book offers numerous testimonies from happy QAs, mainly female, but male as well, and contains a chapter on being "quirkytogether" which explains how QAs can and often do, find each other.