Your beloved is getting on your last nerve.

You can probably blame it on the pandemic — you're both working from home, and that's a lot of togetherness. Or you're separated by miles and masks. Or, well, to heck with this Valentine's Day stuff, anyhow. So why not do something about it with these three books?

Columnist Terri Schlichenmeyer picked three books for Valentine's Day. (Contributed photo)
Columnist Terri Schlichenmeyer picked three books for Valentine's Day. (Contributed photo)

First, try to remember why you fell in love in the first place with "Tiny Love Stories: True Tales of Love in 100 Words or Less," edited by Daniel Jones and Miya Lee. This book is filled with pages and pages of small random anecdotes from big random people and the Modern Love column in The New York Times.

Each tale tells of love found, created, lost, or never there, and it's not just about romantic love. Some of the stories are about realizing that love is gone, loving one's self, loving one's children, knowing where love is (or isn't), and finding the good in strangers, too. Bonus: It's quick to read, but it sticks to your mind.

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Next, change your focus.

It used to be that people said marriage was a 50/50 proposition. Then it was 80/20, and you were supposed to alternately share the larger number in partnership decisions and actions. But in "The 80/80 Marriage" by Nate Klemp and Kaley Klemp, you'll learn a "new model" for today's modern marriage.

Using interviews with dozens of married couples of all ages and walks of life, Klemp and Klemp explain how a marriage is enhanced when both partners give 80% to make things work. This book helps when you're out of sync with one another, when you're unsure of the "roles" you should have (especially when you're both at home, and so are the kids), and how to set boundaries for this new way of being a team.

There are plenty of takeaways in this book, as well as exercises to share — and if all else fails, Klemp and Klemp offer ways to deal with a partner who's reluctant to try this new method.

But what if none of the above is relatable to you?

Well, then, you need "Single and Forced to Mingle" by Melissa Croce, a book for anyone who puts on a brave face and goes forth, valentine-less.

Not just about finding Mr. Perfect (or, no thanks, Mr. Thinks-He's-Perfect), there are three big benefits to reading this quick-to-read book: One, you'll find irreverent advice on dating apps, awkward outings, stupid things that daters do, single women in literature, and the ridiculousness of Dating 2021. Two, you'll get a bit of comfort, knowing that there are lots of other folks whose grandmas are trying hard to set them up. And three, you'll get plenty of LOLs because, why not? Dating stinks, so you might as well laugh.

So hunker down this winter with your honey, or lock down tight. Grab something for yourself for the kind of Valentine's Day you're going to have this year. For you, Romantic Soul, these books will truly hit a nerve.

Book notes

  • "Tiny Love Stories" edited by Daniel Jones and Miya Lee is available at the Rochester Public Library and through online booksellers.
  • "The 80/80 Marriage: A New Model for a Happier, Stronger Relationship" by Nate Klemp and Kaley Klemp is available for preorder through online booksellers.
  • "Single and Forced to Mingle: A Guide for (Nearly) Any Socially Awkward Situation" by Melissa Croce is available at Barnes & Noble in Apache Mall in Rochester and through online booksellers.

"The Bookworm" is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3 years old, and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on the prairie in Wisconsin with one man, two dogs and 16,000 books. Look for her at bookwormsez.com or bookwormsez on Twitter.