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FEBRUARY 14, 2011
Happy Valentine's Day

While browsing Between the Covers : the Book Babes' guide to a woman's reading pleasures , a book that give suggestions of what to read next, I came across this great side-bar by Margo Hammond, one of the authors. Entitled Books a Aphrodisiacs it ponders what was the first book that was given away as a gift. Margo bets it was a book of poetry, given by a man to his lady love. 

Margo feels books are natural aphrodisiacs and tells us the story of how when she was first married, she gave her husband a book for Valentine's Day. His gift to her...the very same book of Mexican Art. Serendipity, fate, whatever you call it, Margo took it as a sign they were meant for each other. 

Doing some research she discovered that the book swap they performed echoes a yearly exchange between lovers in Catalon, Barcelona. April 23rd, El Diada de Sant Jordi, St. George's Day, men throughout Spain give roses to their sweethearts much like our St. Valentine's Day. In 1923, a bookseller varied this tradition by suggesting that women return their man's favor by giving him a book. The day became known as Dia de la Rosa (Day of the Rose) and el Dia de la Libro (Day of the Book). 

Day of the Book, celebrated April 23, a festival of book selling is held, with booksellers setting up stalls, authors making appearances and reading and more than 400,000 books are purchased. It has even become a popular day for publishers to launch new books. 

As one website states "Last, but not least, there is nothing nicer than lovers exchanging a book and a rose." 

Both Megan and I have book displays with Valentine picture books,  poetry, and love stories to help you enjoy the day. Hope you check one out.

Have you ever given or received a book instead of candy or flowers on Valentine's Day? I still have a book of Haiku love poems given to me by my husband when we were dating and he was far more romantic!

Add a comment  (3 comments) posted by CarolK



Mercedes said, on Feb. 15 at 3:46PM
I love this post! It fascinating to see what other cultures do to celebrate their love for one another. I, sad to say, have not given a book to my husband but it's a fabulous idea since we both love books so much! This could be a tradition he could get behind. While he is romantic, we don't do much for Valentine's Day but one tradition we read about in a children's book on Valentine's Day was that in Denmark they press snowdrops and give them to each other. I love this! If I could find a snowdrop I would carry on this tradition.


CarolK said, on Feb. 15 at 6:00PM
Oh, what a lovely story about celebrating Valentine's Day in Denmark. We certainly have enough snowdrops to press ourselves this year!


bas bleu said, on Feb. 19 at 10:11AM
When my husband and I married many years ago, I gave him a book for his wedding gift: The Complete Works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He has reread it throughout the years, something that gives me pleasure as I witness his enjoyment of these classic stories.

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