Paulette Kouffman Sherman is a dating expert and psychologist with a holistic approach to finding a mate. In her practice, she noticed that her clients' negative thoughts were actually driving away the partners they desired. Therein lies the genesis of Dating from the Inside Out: How to Use the Law of Attraction in Matters of the Heart. In this guide, Sherman claims that the pathway to an enduring, fulfilling relationship begins with "setting clear intentions for love, and learning to be the partner they wish to attract." It's no secret, Sherman insists, that if you live consciously, love will follow. Meaning, know thyself and love thyself before you ask someone else's self to do the same. Anyone who's heard of that not-so-secret book The Secret will find themselves on familiar terrain here.

DESKTOP DATING
According to Leslie Oren, top Hollywood publicist and author of Fine, I'll Go Online!, finding someone you click with might be just a click away. Internet dating is no longer considered a mysterious, shady endeavor; instead it is, in this day and age, an accepted and legitimate way to meet a mate. But there are rules in this ether-world and a certain protocol to follow. Oren intends this guide to be both entertaining and informative. If anyone knows about effective marketing, which she surmises is just what the dating game is all about, it is Oren. Here she shows readers how to create an image, "the best possible version of your authentic self," for online dating. She outlines how to write the perfect online profile, why you must post a photo, what not to write in an e-mail, why the first date should only be meeting for coffee or a drink and what constitutes online dating success. If this book had a theme song, it might be something like "Lookin' for love in all the MySpace pages . . ."

LAUGHING MATTERS
There really is a guide for everything. Having survived the wilds of the dating world, you now need help navigating those early years of matrimony. In There's a Spouse in My House Peter Scott, author of Well Groomed: A Wedding Planner for What's-His-Name (And His Bride), shows us how to achieve and maintain marital bliss—well, if not bliss, at least some semblance of harmony. (If he writes a sequel, may we suggest the title There's a Crib in My Crib?) Chapter topics range from cohabitation to the challenge of staying in shape after the wedding. Scott has clearly learned a thing or two about being a good husband, judging from chapter titles such as "So, These Hand Towels are Merely Decorative and Never to Be Used, Right?" Laughter is key, the author insists, and if you need an infusion of it into your relationship, this book is a good place to start.

STRESS TEST
Now if you really want to shed some light on those issues you've just made light of, John Gray's new book, Why Mars &andamp; Venus Collide: Improving Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress, is the next stop on the love train. Gray's writing career was launched into the stratosphere with the publication of the original Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus and the follow-up Mars/Venus books. The latest in that galaxy of bestsellers builds on Gray's previous work and examines how traditional male and female roles have evolved and how this evolution contributes to stress, which in turn affects relationships. He explores the different ways men and women approach their problems and then offers a practical program to get those planets aligned. Looking at the science of the sexes, he examines the roles testosterone and oxytocin play in our daily lives and relationships. The information therein is both thought-provoking and illuminating.

DOWN AND OUT
The aforementioned guides are bent on creating lasting partnerships, but, alas, not every love story is a success story. Thankfully, there's Ben Karlin, who offers us Things I've Learned from Women Who've Dumped Me, an homage to failed relationships. Karlin, best known as the former executive producer of both "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" and "The Colbert Report," knows what's funny, possibly with the exception of Neal Pollock's off-color essay involving his cat (mee-EWWWW). Here Karlin invites some of today's greatest comedic minds, or dare we say hearts, to pontificate about heartbreak. Not sentimental or touchy-feely (unless by touchy-feely you mean actual groping), this anthology offers insights from the likes of Stephen Colbert, Andy Richter and Nick Hornby.So this year, put on that novelty tee that says "I'm with Cupid" (arrow pointing sideways), and fall in love—with a tall, dark and handsome book.

comments powered by Disqus