Heartstrung: Last Minute Valentine’s Day Gifts from Brooklyn Booksellers


In honor of Valentine’s Day, Vol. 1 asked some of our favorite local indie booksellers to offer suggested purchases from their store for an acutely romantic customer. A book that’s great for the lovelorn, the broken-hearted, the lustful, the newly smitten, or those committed for life. It could be a book for one’s self or to give as a gift to your lover, your ex, or your crush. Here now, a variety of choices that are spot on for this upcoming day of sexual reckoning, either because they’re apt fodder for anti V-day sentiment, or because they’re foxy as all hell. Support these borough Cupids today and henceforth!


Adam Tobin, Unnameable Books (600 Vanderbilt Ave, Prospect Heights,718.789.1534)
“How about A Lover’s Discourse by Roland Barthes? It’s the worst valentine’s day gift I’ve ever received, but it’s a great book. The perfect gift for that awkward introspective fellow you’ve just started seeing who is already saying “I love you” and yearning like a sorrowful young Werther without quite being aware of what he’s saying. This book will lay his longing language bare, and you can walk calmly away while he reads.”


Gabe Fowler, Desert Island (540 Metropolitan Ave, Williamsburg, 718.388.5087)
Henry and Glenn Forever by Tom Neely and Igloo Tornado, $6. Starring notorious musclebound punk dudes Glenn Danzig and Henry Rollins, Henry & Glenn Forever is a hilarious satirical a love story to end all love stories. The premise of this comic is explained at the front of the zine: “Henry and Glenn are very good friends. They are also roommates. Daryl Hall and John Oates live next door, and they are satanists.” What follows is a series of gags by different artists, including sobbing diary entries, cringing self-doubt and mega-hilarious emo-meltdowns. Who knew Danzig was such a vulnerable, self-conscious sweety-pie? Who knew Rollins was such a caring spouse? Who knew Hall and Oates were so infernally evil – yet so considerate?”


Stephanie Anderson, WORD Brooklyn (126 Franklin St, Greenpoint,718.383.0096)
The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante. Ferrante, who is one of Italy’s most loved authors, is a master of narrative tension, which is perfect for this story of a woman going slowly insane after her husband leaves her for a younger woman who is a friend of the family. Trapped in her apartment with her children and dog, she descends into a broken-hearted morass. It is one of the most cathartic books I’ve ever read and I recommend it all the time as a post-breakup read; it’s perfect for losing yourself in someone else’s horrible life and having an excuse to weep a little.”


Angel Nafis, Greenlight Bookstore (686 Fulton St, Fort Greene, 718.246.0200)
“I’ve purchased Changing, Changing by Aracelis Girmay, for seven separate occasions. From a one-year-olds birthday to a wedding gift to a Valentine gift to a condolences gift. It is a story of a little boy and girl who keep finding each other in each life, reincarnation after reincarnation. Changing from children, to rain, to sky, to houses to stars. Changing, Changing is part collage, part poem, part folk tale, part myth, part children’s book, part olive branch, and part wedding ring. Though there need not be a specific occasion to gift someone with this timeless beauty-force of a book, let Valentines Day give you an excuse to enchant and uplift someone really lucky.”
Image: “My Heart is an Open Book” by Margarita Korol
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