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What's love got to do with it? The month of Valentine's Day has arrived, and whether you're in a committed relationship, looking for love or happily single, we've got a few books you may want to have on your nightstand.

HORMONAL

By Martie Haselton

Little, Brown $28, 288 pages ISBN 9780316369213

The perfect Valentine's Day read for:

Heterosexual women interested in understanding how their hormones help them choose potential dates--or any woman who's ever been pissed off by a guy calling her "hormonal."

Between the covers: The world's leading researcher of ovulatory cycles offers insight into the hidden intelligence of women's hormones. It's heavy on the science, so it can be dry, but knowledge is powerful.

Best advice for the lovelorn: Sexually active Soay sheep in Scotland are often sick and succumb to the elements, while those less driven to reproduce remain healthy. Sex is dangerous, Haselton writes, so stay home with your Wi-Fi.

Strangest tidbit: Only primates, bats and elephant shrews have menstrual periods.

Choice quote: "[W]e are not under strict hormonal control, locked in the sway of 'heat,' weakened by the loss of blood, or depleted as our fertility fades. Still, when we do feel these ancient forces stirring in rhythm with our hormonal cycles, we can tap into a uniquely feminine power."

HOTTEST HEADS OF STATE

By J.D. Dobson and Kate Dobson

Holt $19.99, 240 pages ISBN 9781250139689

The perfect Valentine's Day read for: Those who have reached a point--whether single, taken or navigating online dating territory--where all you can do is laugh. Between the covers: Combining biting satire with gleeful absurdity, this is a relentlessly funny, bipartisan exploration of America's presidents that judges each as a potential partner. Check out a fearless expose of John Tyler (who was obviously a swamp monster) and a timeline of struggles with our greatest foe--Canada.

Best advice for the lovelorn: You can have a meet cute with Richard Nixon by doing the following: "Identify the sketchiest nearby location. . . . Go there, take out your wallet, and start visibly counting your money. When someone hits you on the back of the head with a sap, that's Richard Nixon!"

Strangest tidbit: If you want to get into taxidermy in order to impress Teddy Roosevelt, you have to first murder an animal and then be cleared by a jury of its peers. Only then you may proceed with the taxidermy.

Choice quote: "Did you know that over time, people grow to look more and more like their favorite pastime? That is why the very handsome young Dwight D. Eisenhower gradually grew to resemble a golf ball."

THE ROUGH PATCH

By Daphne de Marneffe

Scribner $26.99, 368 pages ISBN 9781501118913

The perfect Valentine's Day read for: Married couples and middle-aged singles who are struggling with parenting, finances, aging, loss of libido or drug and alcohol abuse, and are looking for practical, experience-based advice from a professional psychotherapist.

Between the covers: Daphne de Marneffe tackles the cliche of the midlife crisis in its many forms. Using examples from her practice, she illustrates how to cope with feelings of isolation, desire, longing and distress, offering a necessary guide for those who wish to heal and grow in their relationships.

Best advice for the lovelorn: If you're feeling left out of the fun that young people supposedly are having--the excitement of falling in love, the freedom from caring for children and elders--perhaps it's time to start an affair with understanding (and loving) your flawed self.

Strangest tidbit: A discussion of the differences between terms like "polyamory," "swinging" and something called "sexual anarchy" might leave you wanting--and maybe or maybe not daring--to research their meanings further.

Choice quote: "Occupying the panoptic position of a therapist who sees people at all phases of life, I sometimes have the Ghost of Marriage Future impulse to tell women in their thirties, who currently feel hounded by their partner's sexual demands, that in a decade or two they might be hankering for more attention, not less."

THE LOVE GAP By Jenna Birch

Grand Central Life & Style $26, 304 pages ISBN 9781478920045

The perfect Valentine's Day read for: Heterosexual millennial women who are well educated, successful, confident, independent--and really frustrated that they can't get a guy to commit.

Between the covers: Health and lifestyle journalist Jenna Birch gets to the bottom of this major modern dating problem with her theory of the Love Gap, which she defines as "the reason men don't always pursue the women they claim to want; frequently, women like you."

Best advice for the lovelorn: "The exact love that you want is out there. But it takes patience, growth, tenacity, investment, discernment, a dash of timing, and just the right chemistry."

Strangest tidbit: "I'm also here to tell you that men have pertinent needs that may overwrite the qualities they desire in a partner." Sometimes logic really does go out the window.

Choice quote: "A relationship with the 'right' person should excite you with its potential for growth. A 'right' commitment should feel like it expands your possibilities in life, instead of shrinks them."

THE KISS

Edited by Brian Turner

Norton $24.95, 240 pages ISBN 9780393635263

The perfect Valentine's Day read for: The literature-loving romantic in your life. Between the covers: Across cultures and time, the kiss has always been there. In this collection, a diverse assemblage of writers contribute their own unique takes on that singular act and all that it can mean.

Best advice for the lovelorn: There are billions of humans out there, and anything you're feeling has been felt before, many times over. You're not alone out there--even if you're single. We're all connected by something as simple as a kiss. Strangest tidbit: Who knew a kiss could mean so many different things? It can be loving, sad, a goodbye or a hello--or even ambiguous. The full spectrum of human emotions can be pinned on a kiss.

Choice quote: "She will reach out, bridging the abyss between any two humans, and offer this kiss, this true gift, this brief meeting of spheres, and you'll feel like a balloon being inflated, and believe quite suddenly in the possibility of grace."(Excerpt from Steven Church's "Kiss, Bounce, Grace.")

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Title Annotation:RELATIONSHIPS
Publication:BookPage
Date:Jan 19, 2018
Words:1000
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