An installation at Melville House in Dumbo.Photo: Courtesy of Melville House
Photo: Courtesy of NLVI

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.”

Photo: Courtesy of Melville House Press

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.”

Photo: Courtesy of Rizzoli

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.”

Photo: Courtesy of Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

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.”

Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins

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.”

Photo: Courtesy of Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

David Del Vecchio, Idlewild Books
12 W. 19th St., nr. Fifth Ave.; 212-414-8888
The gift: The Arabian Nights, translated by Husain Haddawy
Why: “Some of the tales are very sexy. The tales themselves were collected over centuries from India, Persia, and the Arab world, and this beautiful edition is the best translation yet.”
Excerpt: “She rose like the morn as she shone through the night
And she gilded the grove with her gracious sight.
From her radiance the sun taketh increase when
She unveileth and shameth the moonshine bright.”

Photo: Courtesy of HarperCollins

Linda Marotta, Shakespeare & Co. Booksellers
Various Locations
The gift: Latin Love Lessons, by Charlotte Higgins
Why: “Let this book fool your valentine into thinking you have some class. Its expressions of love include pain, passion, positions, and paintings. ‘Procul hinc, procul este seueri.’ (Prudes, this book is not for you.)”
Excerpt: “With Propertius, experience the traumas of obsession, and encounter an almost Proustian determination to express precisely what being in love feels like. With Horace, learn how to grasp life by the balls and live it to the full.”

Photo: Courtesy of HNA Books

Gabe Fowler, Desert Island
540 Metropolitan Ave., nr. Union Ave., Williamsburg, Brooklyn; 718-388-5087
The gift: Erotic Comics: A Graphic History, by Tim Pilcher and Gene Kannenberg Jr.
Why: “This is an amazing history of sexy drawings, from Victorian smut to R. Crumb and his progeny. It’s extremely sexy, hilarious—even a little educational.”
Excerpt: “Erotic Comics have always had to battle with the tricky debate of erotica versus pornography….As the late artist Stephen Gilbert quipped: ‘The difference between erotica and pornography is simple. Erotica is what I like. Pornography is what you like, you pervert.’”

Photo: Courtesy of Picador

Anne-Marie Belli, Crawford Doyle Booksellers
1082 Madison Ave., nr. 82nd St.; 212-288-6300
The gift: Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman
Why: “This Proustian novel of love takes place in the crucible of a leisurely summer abroad. It’s a story of yearning and learning, love and compromise that speaks to all with delicious intensity.”
Excerpt: “Perhaps the very least I wanted was for him to tell me that there was nothing wrong with me, that I was no less human than any other young man my age. I would have been satisfied and asked for nothing else than if he’d bent down and picked up the dignity I could so effortlessly have thrown at his feet.”

Photo: Courtesy of Verso

Dustin Kurtz, McNally Jackson
52 Prince St., nr. Mulberry St.; 212-274-1160
The gift: From A to X: A Story in Letters, by John Berger
Why: “This is the most romantic book I’ve read in years and, strangely enough, I don’t mean that as an indictment.”
Excerpt: “When I hold a letter of yours in my hand, what I feel first is your warmth. The same warmth that’s in your voice when you sing. I want to press myself against it but I don’t, for, if I wait, the warmth will surround me on every side.”