Congratulations – you can read! (Presumably. Unless you just look at Londonist for the pictures.) Literacy is sexy. Hyper-literacy, even sexier. Or so we at Londonist tell ourselves as we don our Coke-bottle glasses and curl up each night with a bottle of wine and a dictionary.
But enough about our steamy Valentine’s Day plans. What have you got planned? Now, you may have inferred that we’re a jaded lot over here at Londonist. And you’d be right. V-Day ordinarily inspires in us a fair amount of nausea. Yet, lurking among next week’s sap and cheese are some book events that strike us as genuinely worthwhile. So arm yourself with some Alka Seltzer and take your book-loving lover – or your book-loving self – to the following.
Tuesday, 12 February: If you can get past the title, the PEN-sponsored ‘How Do I Love Thee?’ promises an interesting discussion of the state of love poetry in an age of overwrought Hallmark sentiment (and supremely sarcastic bloggers). Poet and editor of The New Faber Book of Love Poems James Fenton will be in conversation with poet and novelist Jackie Kay. At the Guardian Newsroom, 7pm, £5 PEN members, £7.50 nonmembers. Glass of wine included – to put you in the mood? or dull the pain? You decide.
Wednesday, 13 February: Singles events mostly make us cringe. Still, if we were to choose a place to get over this phobia, it would have to be the British Library’s Mingle/Late Date. Flirting among the book stacks: a bibliophile’s fantasy? If that scenario fails to materialise, there’s always late access to the library’s Breaking the Rules exhibition as fall-back entertainment. 7–10.30pm, £5.
Thursday, 14 February: What are you in the mood for tonight, friends? Scandalous ‘Sex and the City’ Samantha-style antics? Then head to the Notting Hill Waterstone’s to hear Suzanne Portnoy read from her memoir, The Not So Invisible Woman, recounting tales from Portnoy’s “naughty life in swinging London”. 7–8pm, £3. Turtlenecked Charlottes may prefer the British Museum’s Poetry, Myth and Music: East Meets West: poetry readings and musical performance commingle in an exploration of Eastern art and the Western artists inspired by it. 6.30–8.30pm, £5 tickets, £3 concessions. A similar fusing of words and music goes into the National Portrait Gallery’s Language of Love. Born Free actress Virginia McKenna and Doctor Who actor Gabriel Woolf perform, with Richard Furstenheim on piano. 7pm, £5 tickets, £3 concessions.
No fear: The Book Grocer will return in full unsentimental glory at its regularly scheduled slot next week.
Image courtesy of Steve Rhodes’ Flickr photostream