Notable: Setting the hook

No one to give a valentine to? Three new books offer advice on forming relationships, long- or (very) short-term.

Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough (Dutton) by Lori Gottlieb is a provocative look at how finding a suitable spouse can be undermined by women's unrealistic expectations about men — and themselves.

Meeting Your Half-Orange: An Utterly Optimistic Guide to Using Dating Optimism to Find Your Perfect Match (Running Press) by Amy Spencer argues, on the other hand, for an approach reminiscent of The Secret: Just have positive expectations and the right person will appear.

The Pickup Artist: The New and Improved Art of Seduction (Villard) by Mystery is the VH1 personality's advice to men for hooking up, a combination of "duh" (smile a lot) and the even-a-blind-pig-finds-an-acorn theory: Try to pick up every woman you see and eventually one will say yes.

Colette Bancroft, Times book editor

Notable: Setting the hook 01/23/10 [Last modified: Saturday, January 23, 2010 3:30am]

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