Book publishers know how to make love pay.
They've released a flotilla of books on the subject in time for Valentine's Day.One of the most readable is Jon Winokur's "Curmudgeon's Garden of Love," subtitled "Romance, sex and love's myriad delusions - 1,000 irreverent quotations, anecdotes and interviews" (Plume, $10.95). This is the editor who made hay with "The Portable Curmudgeon," a similar tome with broader focus.
Some examples of a curmudgeon's view of love:
- "Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties." Jules Renard.
- "When you're in love it's the most glorious 21/2 days of your life." Richard Lewis.
- "Marriage is a wonderful institution. But who would want to live in an institution?" Henry Mencken.
The book also features interviews with contemporary grumps.
Humorist and newsman Lewis Grizzard is full of sexist stereotypes and raw language. Author and college professor Paul Fussell's comments are understated and thoughtful:
Question: "What's the difference between love and sex?"
Answer: "I've never understood the relation, exactly. I think you can have love without sex and obviously you can have sex without love - a great deal of that goes on. When they coincide maybe you've really got something, but I think it's fairly rare."
In any event, Winokur is on to something. He has popularized, in book form, compilations of quotations that used to be just for scholars.
Other love books:
- "Kisses," edited by Lena Tabori (Citadel/Turner, $22.50) is an interesting hybrid by Citadel Press and Turner Broadcasting System (TBS). It's a slick, coffee-table book, featuring black and white photos of Hollywood smooches.
They range from Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney in a chaste buss from the 1943 teen movie "Girl Crazy" to Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton smoldering before a kiss in the 1963 "Cleopatra."
The book is a tie-in with TBS's show, "Kisses." It's obviously fluff rather than heavy reading, but kind of sweet.
- "True Love - How to Make Your Relationship Sweeter, Deeper and More Passionate," by Daphne Rose Kingma (Conari Press, $7.95), with a rose on the cover, looks like it could be attractively packaged fluff.
Actually, this 143-page paperback packs a lot of wisdom in a small, square package.
Kingma, a therapist, uses an easy-to-read format of two-page "chapters" with such titles as "Love Is a Process, Not a Destination," "Walk a Mile in Your Sweetheart's Shoes" and "Shower Each Other With Kisses." In each, she dispenses intelligent advice distilled to the essential.
- "Light His Fire - How to Keep Your Man Passionately and Hopelessly in Love with You," by Ellen Kreidman, is newly out in paperback (Dell, $4.95). The book includes this revelation: "The best-kept secret about men . . . that inside every man, no matter how old, how successful, or how powerful, there is a little boy who wants to be loved and to feel as if he's special. . . "
The same author has a new companion book, "Light Her Fire - How to Ignite Passion and Excitement in the Woman You Love" (Villard, $18.95).