Sure, you can find lists all over the place for what books and gifts you SHOULD buy for Valentine’s Day, but only your friends at Porter Square Books will ensure your Valentine does NOT open a sparkling fuse of relationship dynamite. So here are the books you SHOULD ABSOLUTELY NOT GIVE AS A GIFT ON VALENTINE’S DAY. (Though they’re good books, just for other situations.) (Which is a roundabout way of saying there are a few readers out there for whom these are perfect Valentine’s Day gifts, but that risk is all yours, my friends.)
Autobiography by Morissey and Call Me Burroughs by Barry Miles. Sure, both Morissey and Burroughs are major figures in contemporary Western culture with enduring effects on music and writing, and both are absolutely fascinating people, but neither one was particularly good at the whole romance thing.
This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz. Diaz is one of the finest short story writers putting pen to paper and This Is How You Lose Her is another masterpiece…but there’s a lot of infidelity. A lot of infidelity.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov. One of the single greatest works of literature written in English. I really hope I don’t have to tell you why this is a very bad Valentine’s Day gift.
Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Runaway bestseller, soon to be major motion picture, bookseller favorite, and about the best argument we’ve ever read for NOT getting married. So, I guess, if that’s the message you want to send on Valentine’s Day…
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. A world wide phenomenon? Yes. But not exactly evocative of stable, healthy relationships. (See also: Wuthering Heights.)
Double Indemnity by James Cain. Pro tip: stay away from books where getting rid of a spouse is a major plot point.
Regarding the Pain of Others by Susan Sontag. Rarely does someone pine for a mixed message on Valentine’s Day, but I’m pretty sure a mixed message would be much preferred over Sontag’s examination of our consumption of suffering.
Killer Inside Me by Jim Thompson. Though it would be the absolute best way to say, “It’s not you, it’s me.”
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. Unless you can somehow spin it as “Your love hits me like a tolchock to the gulliver,” (which, if you can, bravo) this work of ultra-violence it probably best left for a different holiday/occasion. Like Thanksgiving!