"Romance is everything," said Gertrude Stein, who must have been thinking of Valentine's Day, which comes around once again Thursday.
As a token of your affection for your significant other, you could spend $487,000 on the "52 Love Salute" package from the Four Seasons Hotel in New York. It involves a chartered jet, a Rolls-Royce, a diamond necklace and 52 love poems.
As Christopher Marlowe said, "Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position."
True, but let's focus on the love poems part, as in books of poetry for her, for him or for the lovey-dovey couple.
We asked Sacramento poet laureate Jeff Knorr and former poet laureate Bob Stanley for some recommendations.
We also invited poet Cynthia Linville to give her suggestions. She will host the free "Marathon of Love Poems" live reading at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Sacramento Poetry Center, 1719 25th St., Sacramento.
For her: "Risking Everything: 110 Poems of Love and Revelation," edited by Roger Housden.
For him: "To My Husband and Other Poems" by Anne Bradstreet and Robert Hutchinson.
For them: "Thomas and Beulah" by Rita Dove.
For her: "Rumi: The Book of Love" by Jalal al-Din Rumi.
For him: "The Nearness of You: Poems for Men" by Carolyn Kizer.
For them: "Into the Garden: A Wedding Anthology," edited by Robert Hass and Stephen Mitchell.
For her: "Because Red is Your Favorite Color" by Shawn Aveningo.
For him: "Love: Selected Poems" by e.e. cummings.
For them: "The Love Poems of Rumi" by Jalal al-Din Rumi.
While we're at it, the Poetry Box in Sacramento will create custom, framed love poetry (and toasts) for special occasions, with accompanying photos and art. Details: (530) 409-0721, www.thepoetrybox.com.
Mystery times four
Four mystery writers will be at the Assistance League of Sacramento's third annual Authors Day Event, themed "Mystery and Mayhem."
It benefits the ALS, a nonprofit group that aids children, adults and seniors.
The writers are Robin Burcell ("The Dark Hour"), Todd Borg ("Tahoe Trap"), Nan Mahon ("Blind Buddy and Mojo's Blues Band") and Cindy Sample ("Dying for a Date").
Featured will be presentations, interviews, question-answer sessions and book signings, along with lunch and an authors reception.
The event will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 2 at the Marriott, 11211 Point East Drive, Rancho Cordova.
Tickets are $75. For information and to buy tickets: (916) 485-2310, http://www.sacramento.assistanceleague.org
Get books to kids
The United Way is sponsoring its second Star Readers Book Drive, Feb. 18 through March 8.
The goal is to "increase graduation rates by improving early reading skills."
To buy books for children in kindergarten through third grade, go to www.yourlocalunitedway.org or call (916) 856-3910.
To foster the Stars program, Barnes & Noble in Citrus Heights will sponsor the "Starry Night" reading event for children, 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at 6111 Sunrise Blvd; (916) 853-1389
Take your book club pick
Tina Ferguson, owner of Face in a Book in El Dorado Hills, has set up two reading groups open to everyone.
The Group in a Book Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. the last Tuesday of each month. The Feb. 26 title will be "Caleb's Crossing" by Geraldine Brooks. It's based on the true story of a Puritan girl in the 1660s who befriends a Wampanoag Indian.
The Lunch Bunch Book Club will meet at 11:30 a.m. the last Wednesday of each month. The title for discussion Feb. 27 will be "Arcadia" by Lauren Groff, a novel about a group of counterculturists who set up a utopian commune in 1970s rural New York.
RSVP in advance in person or at (916) 941-9401, and get a 15 percent discount on the featured title.
Face in a Book is at 4359 Town Center Blvd.; http://www.getyourfaceinabook.com
Travis McGee roars back
The late John D. MacDonald helped lay the foundation for the two generations of thriller writers.
His iconoclastic PI character Travis McGee was a "problem-solver" who operated by his own set of moral principles the law be damned. McGee's "office" was aboard the Busted Flush, a 52-foot-long houseboat he won in a poker game, docked in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The 21-title McGee series, published from 1964 to 1984, has been reissued by Random House and will be released over the next 10 months. The first one, "The Deep Blue Good-By" ($16, 240 pages), is in bookstores now.
The introduction is by thriller writer Lee Child, who appeared for The Bee Book Club in November.
Magic and mystery
The Magic Castle in Hollywood is celebrating its 50th anniversary, and its founder, magician Milt Larsen, tells the inside story of the mecca of magic in "My Magical Journey" (Brookledge, $40, 296 pages).
The Castle is a showcase for the world's best magicians, as well as a private club and restaurant for members of the Academy of Magical Arts and their guests.
A movie is in the works, though most of the details are wrapped in a cloak of secrecy, of course. What is known is that Radar Pictures is working with director Joseph McGinty "McG" Nichol ("Charlie's Angels," "Terminator Salvation) on a project that could be a mystery, or a thriller, or a comedy or
Listen to a good book
OK, guys, it's time to man-up and listen to an audiobook during the daily commute, instead of plugging in to that oldies rock station that's getting way too redundant.
If James Lee Burke's "Two For Texas" isn't manly enough for you, then you've got issues. The veteran novelist has created an Old West tale of high adventure, with all the guy elements revenge, close calls, overdrinking, Indian raids, horse rustling, fistfights, gunfights and cannon fire.
It starts when two convicts escape a Louisiana camp, and concludes after they hightail it to Texas and join the Texas Rangers.
Plenty happens in between. It's read by actor Will Patton, who brings nuance and character to all the voices.
This one's a winner all the way around (Simon & Schuster Audio, $29.99, 5 1/2 hours).
LET US KNOW
If you have information on author appearances or other book-related special events, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks before the event. To read the online calendar, go to www.sacbee.com/books. Questions? Call The Bee's Allen Pierleoni, (916) 321-1128.