9 Ideas For A Bookish Valentine's Day

by Crystal Paul
Couple, coffee shop and forehead kiss for love celebration, anniversary or congratulations for relat...
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So, you’re dating a book nerd? Congratulations! You’ve clearly got great taste. When it comes to dating a book lover, you’re pretty much set when it comes to gift giving. Books are never the wrong answer. But what on earth are you supposed to do for your book nerd on Valentine’s Day — you know, the day of candlelight dinners and expensive wine?

Well, much as your favorite bibliophile might enjoy a nice steak dinner and Merlot, you might want to up the nerdy factor if you really want to win them over. Of course, you can’t exactly just give ‘em a book and a smile, or smooch in the bookstore (though these things should definitely be included!) and call it a day. When it comes to someone who’s pretty easy to shop for on all the other major holidays, it can be pretty difficult to come up with some unique literary date ideas. But, hey, your instincts are already in the right place: nerdy.

If you really want to romance the pants off of your readerly lover this Valentine’s Day,you might want to pair the steak with some Shakespeare, the wine with some Whittier, the romance with some Rabelais. If you’re struggling for some appropriately geeky ideas, try some of these.

1. Take A Trip to A Big Literary Festival or Convention

Throughout the year there are any number of literary festivals, themed for specific books or authors or just general literary mayhem. If you’ve got a Joyce fan on your hands, surprise your honey with tickets to Dublin for Bloomsday. Or, if your book nerd is on the even nerdier side, nab some badges for your local (or the bigger ones) ComicCon.

2. Take a Literary Road Trip

Can’t afford an international trip for two or ComicCon badges? Then, fuel up the Zipcar and head out to some literary museum and sites that are a bit closer. There are tons of museums and sites all over the world that offer tours and book nerdery galore. If you’re in Boston, for example, you could probably hit up a talk at Edith Wharton’s home and have a picnic at Walden Pond in the same day. You could even trace the tracks of Kerouac or follow the tracks of famous literary travels.

3. Go On A Coffee-Fueled Shopping Spree

OK, so this one is only really feasible if you’ve got the money for it, but it’s totally a book nerd fantasy (or maybe just mine). Choosing the right book for the moment is one of the great book nerd problems. We just want to own them ALL! And at $30 bucks a pop these days, you’re usually stuck having to choose just one. So, imagine if you could give your book nerd the chance to go nuts in the bookstore. Load up a Visa gift card with a solid sum and after your fancy coffee date (where you obviously talk about all the books you and your date want to read this year) take them to the bookstore, loaded up on caffeine and book talk, hand them the card and a basket, and watch the nerdiest, most frantic shopping spree you’ll ever see.

4. Go See His Favorite Play or a Theater Adaptation of His Favorite Novel

If your book nerd is more into Shakespeare than Shteyngart, then you can’t go wrong with a night at the theater. There are, of course, also stage adaptations of novels too, so look around. But, if there isn’t a theater adaptation, you could always...

5. Host A Marathon of All The Movie Adaptations of Her Favorite Author’s Books

Stock up on take-out and snacks, get some cozy PJs, make a book-littered pallet on the living room floor and settle in for a night of every Jane Austen adaptation you can find (there are a lot). Or, put on a solid noir accent, stock up on whiskey, and take in every single Dashiell Hammett movie and series until you’re both seeing in black and white.

6. Take a Literary Tour of Your City

You can live in a city for years and never know the treasure trove of literary history you’ve been walking past everyday. Maybe Jack Kerouac bummed at a bar down the block from your apartment, or a favorite character navigated familiar sites in a post-apocalyptic version of your city, or maybe Ishmael Reed wrote a love letter to the streets and landmarks of your city. Happily, the Internet is full of literary maps, like this one, so you can discover the literary history of your city.

7. Dress Up As Your Favorite Literary Couple and Hit the Town in Literary Style

Does your bookish boo love have a thing for Victorian romance? Don a waistcoat and a decent cravat or a bustle and bonnet and walk arm-in-arm to the nearest tea house for little cakes or a casual bar for some sherry. Or maybe your nerdy S.O. is more of a Hammet fan? In that case, you can’t go wrong with a good helping of booze, a murder mystery, and a some witty repartee a la Nick and Nora Charles, and don’t forget the cool hats! All the better if you can find a themed restaurant, bar, what have you!

8. Give Them Time to Read

OK, so leaving your significant other alone isn’t really anyone’s idea of a good date, but for a book nerd having a glorious chunk of time to read just might be the best gift you can give them. That doesn’t mean you should ditch them on Valentine’s Day, but maybe try surprising them with a couple of nights at B&B where no one can interrupt their precious reading time for a whole weekend! (Do try to find a place with a fireplace. Fireplace is key. Beaches are also acceptable.)

9. Build Them A Reading Nook

Reading is, of course, already the very best thing, but reading in a perfect, cozy little nook is heaven itself. It’s also a great way to take the “next step,” if you’re looking to welcome your new boo into your home or build a new home together. Show off the new nook, then cozy up for a nice simple night of reading together… a little preview of the literary domestic bliss you’re soon to share (bottle of wine, optional).

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