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Indie bookstore clerks recommend the best kinky, artsy, and swoon-worthy titles to give as Valentine's Day gifts.


An installation at Melville House in Dumbo.  

Jonas Kyle, Spoonbill & Sugartown Booksellers
218 Bedford Ave., nr. N. 5th St., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-387-7322
The gift: Diary of an Oxygen Thief, Anonymous
Why: "Women seem to be very fond of this book, about a down-and-out guy who has lots of trouble with women. It's a surprise dark-horse Williamsburg bestseller."
Excerpt: "I ended up having sex with her on the kitchen floor in the middle of her making some bullshit vegetarian meal."

Clara Heyworth, Melville House
145 Plymouth St., at Pearl St., Dumbo, Brooklyn; 718-722-9204
The gift: A Simple Heart, by Gustave Flaubert (from the Melville House "Art of the Novella" series)
Why: "A heartbreaking tale of a simple servant woman and her lifelong search for love. It’s small, $10, and the palest shade of pink. Cheap, classic, pink, French—it screams Valentine’s Day."
Excerpt: "He bought her cider, coffee, cake, a kerchief, and, thinking she guessed his intentions, offered to take her home. On the edge of a field of oats, he threw her down suddenly. She was afraid and began to scream. He took himself off."

Stephanie Anderson, Word
126 Franklin St., at Milton St., Greenpoint, Brooklyn; 718-383-0096
The gift: Erotic French Postcards, by Alexandre Dupouy
Why: "It's classy, it's sexy, and it'll make you appreciate armpit hair."
Excerpt: "He took one last photograph. When he closed the door behind me, it was night. Now I know how women desire men, and how they can die for it."

Bibbi Taylor, Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway, at 12th St.; 212-473-1452
The gift: The History of Love, by Nicole Krauss
Why: "Beautifully written, and easily read, this book follows the depth of first love. As a manager in the fiction department, I enjoy reading books about people who lead literary lives. I never expected to find one so tender."
Excerpt: "Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering."

Susanne König, powerHouse Books
37 Main St., nr. Water St., Dumbo, Brooklyn; 212-604-9074
The gift: The Pop-up Book of Sex, by Melcher Media
Why: "It's a scandalously clever tour of the erotic arts.
3-D pop-ups offer a unique perspective on positions like the classic Missionary, the naughty Mile-High Club, the exotic Lotus, and the whimsical Fantasy."

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