When you find yourself single in a world of couples, there's no worse time than Valentine's Day. While the rest of the world is bathed in a pink cloud of flowers, chocolates and heart-shaped baubles, you're eating sour grapes in solitude.
This year, instead of giving in to a 24-hour tear fest, why not swap those soggy tissues for some reading material with attitude, certain to improve your spirits and repair your battered ego.
"The Hell With Love: Poems To Mend a Broken Heart," (Warner Books, $14.95), edited by Mary D. Esselman and Elizabeth Ash Velez, is for the millions of women who are in and out of relationships, and who are weathering the inevitable breakups that accompany them. It's a sassy collection of poems that expresses the anger, hurt and depression of loss; that asks why, analyzes rifts, strives for explanation; and that builds resolve and revels in the present. Chapter themes move through rage, sadness, self-hatred, false hope, resolve, relapse, real hope, and then, of course, moving on.
This is no collection of candy-coated greeting-card verses. Poets include Margaret Atwood, Louise Gluck, John Donne, Billy Collins, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sharon Olds, Pablo Neruda, Elizabeth Bishop, Jane Kenyon, Galway Kinnell, Robert Frost and Carolyn Creedon.
"How To Spot a Bastard by His Star Sign: The Ultimate Horrorscope," by Adele Lang and Susi Rajah (St. Martin's Press, $18.95), is the perfect consolation for a lonely Valentine's Day, or ideal gift for a recently dumped friend. Well-written and witty, the book includes the down and dirty info you need to know about the astrological signs of potential beaus. While modern astrology says that all signs have their good and bad points, these authors say that's bunk.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, the authors of the bestselling "The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook" are back, and this time they've brought a date. "Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Dating and Sex," (Chronicle Books, $14.95) by Joshua Piven, David Borgenicht and Jennifer Worick contains dozens of scenarios covering every phase of the romantic-or not so romantic-turn of events.
Hands-on, step-by-step illustrated instructions help guide you through such perils d'amour as ditching a blind date, dealing with a bad kisser and of surviving a meeting with your date's parents. Tasteful and useful, and with an appendix of great pickup lines, breakup lines and all-purpose excuses, this is the book you need to read before heading back out into the singles fray.
Tired of depending on a guy for your home-improvement projects? "100 Things You Don't Need a Man For," by Alison Jenkins, (Laurel Glen, $21.95), will help you learn to love your toolbox and enjoy your local hardware store. In these pages, readers learn to fix it, lay it, paint it and nail it. From the installation of flooring (baseboards, molding, tiles, linoleum, tile repair, stripping and staining) to building (changing the direction a door swings, tiling a shower, making cabinets for the kitchen, bath or storage), you'll find you really can make it on your own.
Finally, for those looking to match-make or match-break, put a hex on their ex or simply enjoy some solitary, pin-sticking vengeance, "Voodoo Lou's Love Voodoo Kit," by Lou Harry (Running Press, $9.95) provides just the right tongue-in-cheek revenge, along with romantic insight that can't help but bring comic relief.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times