Can I “Book” You to Be My Valentine?

Calling all lovebirds and book lovers — happy Valentine’s Day!


Have you been shot by Cupid this year? Or are you boycotting the day by wearing black? Maybe you’re just looking forward to the after-Valentine’s-Day sale on candy at the supermarket (or is that just us?). Don’t sweat it — regardless of your Valentine’s Day mood, PUP has compiled a holiday roundup of reading selections just for you.

For those who… are their own Valentine. What’s wrong with self love? You know just what type of chocolates you like. Perfect!

Mirror, MirrorPUP author Simon Blackburn takes on the issue of narcissism in his new book, Mirror, Mirror. Everyone deplores narcissism, especially in others. The vain are by turns annoying or absurd, offending us whether they are blissfully oblivious or proudly aware of their behavior. But are narcissism and vanity really as bad as they seem? Can we avoid them even if we try? In Mirror, Mirror, Simon Blackburn, the author of such best-selling philosophy books as Think, Being Good, and Lust, says that narcissism, vanity, pride, and self-esteem are more complex than they first appear and have innumerable good and bad forms. Drawing on philosophy, psychology, literature, history, and popular culture, Blackburn offers an enlightening and entertaining exploration of self-love, from the myth of Narcissus and the Christian story of the Fall to today’s self-esteem industry.

So before you answer “who is the fairest of them all,” this Valentine’s Day, check out the introduction to Mirror, Mirror.

For those who… are spending the day with a valentine. Today is your day! But don’t worry — we won’t tell your partner that sometimes during the other 364, you wonder whether opposites really do attract.

Odd CouplesAfter reading Daphne J. Fairbairn’s Odd Couples, you may have a new appreciation for your partner’s different style of folding laundry. While we joke that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, our gender differences can’t compare to those of other animals. For instance, the male garden spider spontaneously dies after mating with a female more than fifty times his size. Female cichlids must guard their eggs and larvae–even from the hungry appetites of their own partners. And male blanket octopuses employ a copulatory arm longer than their own bodies to mate with females that outweigh them by four orders of magnitude. Why do these gender gulfs exist? Introducing readers to important discoveries in animal behavior and evolution, Odd Couples explores some of the most extraordinary sexual differences in the animal world.

Share the introduction with your special someone.

For those who… find that their relationship is best described as “it’s complicated.” You’re not alone in your confusion about today’s world of dating and relationships.

The Paradox of LoveIn fact, PUP author Pascal Bruckner tackles the explanation of love’s supreme paradox, epitomized by the 1960s oxymoron of “free love”: the tension between freedom, which separates, and love, which attaches. The sexual revolution is justly celebrated for the freedoms it brought–birth control, the decriminalization of abortion, the liberalization of divorce, greater equality between the sexes, women’s massive entry into the workforce, and more tolerance of homosexuality. But as Bruckner, one of France’s leading writers, argues in his book, The Paradox of Love, our new freedoms have also brought new burdens and rules–without, however, wiping out the old rules, emotions, desires, and arrangements: the couple, marriage, jealousy, the demand for fidelity, the war between constancy and inconstancy. It is no wonder that love, sex, and relationships today are so confusing, so difficult, and so paradoxical.

This Valentine’s Day, we remind you to keep calm, and… read the introduction here.

For those who… forgot that it was Valentine’s Day. The local CVS is out of candy, and the Hallmark cards display only has envelopes left. What is a valentine to do?


Well, according to PUP author Joel Waldfogel, the annual gift giving at holidays may in fact be a waste. How many of us get gifts we like? How many of us give gifts not knowing what recipients want? Did your cousin really look excited about that jumping alarm clock? Lively and informed, Waldfogel’s Scroogenomics illustrates how our consumer spending generates vast amounts of economic waste–to the shocking tune of eighty-five billion dollars each winter holiday season. Waldfogel provides solid explanations to show us why it’s time to stop the madness and think twice before buying gifts for the holidays.

Check out the video below for an interview with the author.