The tail end of the gift-giving holiday season is upon us, and whether you celebrate Valentine's Day, Galentine's Day, Anna Howard Shaw Day, Singles Awareness Day, or none or all of the above, it can be a tough time of year. Ideally, it's a great, if commercialized, opportunity to celebrate the joy love has brought into your life by writing a heartfelt card to your spouse, finally telling your crush how you feel via a heart-shaped box of chocolates, or splitting a bottle of wine with your best friend and reminiscing about the good times you've shared.
On the other hand, Valentine's Day has a tricky tendency to remind us of just how difficult and disappointing love can actually be. Do you feel a wave of fatigue at the thought of hunting down another "heartfelt" Hallmark card? Are you cringing at the prospect of another tacky or thoughtless gift from your boyfriend -- if he even bothers to get you anything this year?
Perhaps that's why Valentine's Day often makes us think lovingly of the less complicated relationships in our lives: with Nutella, with Netflix, with our pets. By virtue of being inanimate objects -- or, in the case of pets, unconditional love machines -- these things ask for little and bring us unlimited joy in return.
As great as Nutella and Netflix are, however, there comes a time when you fall into a sugar coma and your brain turns into mush from watching too much TV, right? There's just one love in life that will truly never let you down: books. Books will never become unhealthy for you; they'll never get dull; you'll never run out of new material to explore. They truly are the perfect significant other. Here are 24 (of countless) reasons books are the greatest love of your life, whether you're happily coupled or adamantly single this Valentine's Day:
They always have the right words.
They will never give you cheap lingerie or a drug store teddy bear -- or worse -- as a "romantic" gift.
Every day is a new adventure with them.
They really don't care about your garlic breath.
They may not give you chocolate, but they won't judge you for eating as much of it as you want...
And they'll never ask you to share. Or, say, eat half your stash while you're taking a nap.
They're always down to spend the whole morning in bed with you...
Or to go out to a nice dinner.
They're the perfect date: Always there to distract and amuse you no matter how dull or unpleasant the occasion.
They always move at your pace, no matter what.
They may seem demure and traditional, but you can enjoy them in all sorts of positions.
When you're together, you just want the rest of the world to fade away.
They'll never let you feel lonely.
Even though they're just paper and ink, they somehow can make you feel more sexy and empowered than any person can.
They'll let you share their darkest secrets.
You'll never get bored with each other, because they'll never stop surprising you.
But they also know how to make you work for it, at least a little bit.
They bring you the quiet contentment of a long partnership (when you curl up with your dog-eared favorite for yet another cozy reread), but they also still make you feel butterflies (when you see a new book from an amazing author is FINALLY out).
They open whole new worlds to you.
They never expect to be wowed with sexy outfits -- sweats do them just fine.
They may not keep you warm at night, but they also don't overheat you, drool on you, kick you or snore loudly at night.
They invite you into their weird, wacky families, but they don't mind if you leave whenever you want.
They're wise, thoughtful, funny and worldly. They're so complex you feel like it will take you your whole life to figure them out, and there's always more to discover.
They don't always agree with you, but they DO always let you have the last word. And what's more romantic than that?