"All There Is: Love Stories From StoryCorps" (The Penguin Press), by Dave Isay: A new collection of love stories, published just in time for Valentine's Day, is so sweet even Cupid would swoon.
The heart-poundingly good book is the work of StoryCorps, a group that has recorded interviews with ordinary people across the nation since 2003, broadcasting some of them on public radio. The group's new book, "All There Is: Love Stories From StoryCorps," is just a sliver of the 75,000 stories that have been collected.
If there's one thing readers will come away with it's the affirmation that love takes many different forms. Couples describe growing closer as mortars fly in Iraq, as a result of a misdirected email and even in the toll lane of a New York roadway.
One couple marries after dating for three days. Another couple waits 10 years before tying the knot. There are gay couples and interracial couples, newlyweds and one couple married so long ago they honeymooned for three days on $20.
No story is more than a few pages long, making reading a little bit like an extended round of speed dating.
Not all the stories end happily. The book's second section, this one on lost love, is best read with a tissue box nearby. One woman describes unwittingly infecting her partner with HIV. Another finds out she's pregnant right after her boyfriend dies. A third describes calling her husband on 9/11 as he is trapped on the 105th floor of the World Trade Center's South Tower and staying on the phone until the tower buckles beneath him.
Thankfully the book doesn't end there. Instead, readers get a final, hopeful series of stories about second chances including a couple that calls it quits and then remarries five years later. For readers with easily touched heartstrings there's just one word for the book: lovely.