Gift Ideas from a Valentine's-Day Doubter

The book selections include titles from fiction, memoir, self-help/advice, cookbooks, travel guides, and poetry...

Jesse Kornbluth ’68 doesn't want you to buy a gift this Valentine's Day. On his website,, Kornbluth writes that he views the holiday as something "ginned up by merchants to get Americans to spend any discretionary dollars they haven't blown at Christmas." But if buy a gift you must, Kornbluth offers his picks for books, films, and music in his typical sassy, smart style.

Be warned: Even if you share Kornbluth's Grinch-like attitude toward the holiday, you may find yourself contemplating a purchase from this thoughtful, wide-ranging list. The book selections include titles from fiction, memoir, self-help/advice, cookbooks, travel guides, and poetry. In music, Kornbluth recommends set-the-mood standbys such as Al Green and Etta James alongside names less commonly associated with turning the lights down low.

View the list here; read more about Kornbluth and Head Butler in the Harvard Magazine archives here.

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