A study revealed that the majority of "women (51%) and men (68%) would feel disappointed if they did not celebrate Valentine’s Day with their partner". It's no wonder why many people share wedding anniversaries on February 14 and millions of videos on YouTube feature gift ideas and tips for a romantic Valentine's Day. As such, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the globe and carries with it lots of social norms and expectations.

While it's a happy day for celebrations for many, sometimes – especially for the boyfriends who think they are “responsible” for buying their girls flowers, taking them out for a fancy dinner, etc. –  dread such a commercialized day of celebration and set a bar too high for themselves. What social norms and gender relations are prevalent on Valentine’s day? How do the expectations and norms pressure couples that otherwise would spare them from the headache?

In this blog, we'll introduce some Social Sciences titles to help you get started in understanding the forces behind the norms and expectations. We hope that the recommendations bring you some food for thought and give you insights into social expectations and our relationship with it.

Read along to find out about race/gender relations, sexuality, social inequality, power relations, and more!

1. For Couples
2. For Singles
3. For Women

For Couples

Reminiscing about the memories with your partner from the past Valentine's Day? Or are you looking for ways to improve your relationship? Look no further than the following recommendations. Understanding the power relations and the social norms in relationships can affect how we approach conflicts and resolve issues in romantic relationships. Get ready to receive advice for a lasting relationship, or learn how to strengthen your relationships.

The Four Seasons of Marriage

By Gary Chapman

The author provides an easy-to-grasp framework to help couples understand their marriage and seven practical strategies for strengthening or improving their marriage relationship. A valuable resource for couples regardless of how long they've been married, this book is a reference tool to help couples through every season of marriage. Whether you are happily married to your partner or are struggling to improve your relationship, this book will be a bit of great advice to make your relationship stronger and healthier.

No Cheating, No Dying: I Had a Good Marriage. Then I Tried to Make It Better.

By Elizabeth Weil

Written with charm and wit, No Cheating, No Dying investigates one of the most universal human institutions–marriage. Through bravely recounting her own hilarious, messy, and sometimes difficult relationship, Weil examines the major universal marriage issues–sex, money, mental health, in-laws, children.

Funny, forthright and extensively researched, the result is an illuminating and entertaining read that is a fresh addition to the body of literature about marriage and marriage improvement. You may find Weil's view unconventional, but that's exactly what we hope you find in this read: a new way to look at relationships and ways to change its social norms.

The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships

By Neil Strauss

Some of you might have heard of Neil Strauss, the author of The Game, who was part of a sub-culture of pick-up artists. This autobiographical book covers his struggles to form and maintain a long-term relationship following his years in the seduction community.  He's ashamed and confused and doubtful that monogamy is a realistic goal for him, or for any of us.

In his search for answers, he went to sex addiction clinics, cutting-edge science labs, Hollywood orgies, love commune, and, most terrifying of all, to his own mother. What he learns changes everything he knew about love, sex, relationships and, ultimately, himself. Though it may feel uncomfortable at first, this book provides surprising insights into relationships. If you are looking for real relationship talks, give this a go.

The Body Language of Love

By Allan Pease

From using body language to increase your mating rating to finding a long-term partner, The Body Language of Love will help you to identify and correct the body language that could be letting you down. This book covers essential tips when looking for love. Often, actions speak louder than a thousand words, and this book can be a testimony.

Sacred Influence

By Gary L. Thomas

If you're sick of all the ways you've tried to bring about change in your marriage–the silent treatment, nagging, one-way discussions, or pleading-it's time to set aside those broken methods. This book demonstrates how women can inspire, influence, and help their husbands move in positive directions. Replacing your plan of action with God's leads to a marital transformation where both partners are moving in sync. Gary shows how marriages were transformed through these methods employed by real-life women. In these pages, you'll also find a fresh perspective to help you understand your husband: the view of the marriage relationship through a man's eyes.

Why Mars and Venus Collide: Improve Your Relationships by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress

By John Gray

Writing with both humour and empathy, the author offers practical solutions to common points of conflict and gives clear ways forward for greater intimacy and trust. In Mars and Venus Collide, Gray looks at how the pressures of our modern work-oriented lifestyles are putting added stress on our relationships and making it harder and harder for them to work out long term. Written with his signature insight and humour, Gray's classically unconventional approach will empower men and women alike to adapt to their new roles in our modern work-driven society without compromising the intimacy and lasting love everybody craves and needs. If you are struggling to bridge the differences with your partner, you may want to give this a read.

For Singles

For those of you singles, we got you! Master the art of self-love and learn the beauty of really knowing who you are as an individual. Whether you are going through a breakup or want to be more independent, these recommendations can be an encouragement. Slowly but surely, you will learn to build healthier and more meaningful relationships.

It's Called a Break-up Because it's Broken: The Smart Girl's Break-up Buddy

By Greg Behrendt

The book is filled with solid advice to help you let go of your ex – for example: 'It's 3 am, the bottle of wine is empty, do you really want to make that call? How hot is that?' Each insightful chapter is complemented with a Q-and-A with Greg on what he's thinking, case studies, and games. The authors tackle tough issues such as break-up sex, how not to lose your friends during a break-up, and 10 great places to cry. If you are recovering from the aftermath of a broken relationship or helping someone through one, this book can be a good reference.

Why Love Hurts: A Sociological Explanation

By Eva Illouz

Few of us have been spared the agonies of intimate relationships. Psychoanalysis and popular psychology have succeeded spectacularly in convincing us that individuals bear responsibility for the misery of their romantic and erotic lives. This book wants to change our way of thinking about what is wrong in modern relationships - the problem is not dysfunctional childhoods or insufficiently self-aware psyches, but rather the institutional forces shaping how we love. Eva Illouz shows that love is shaped by social relations and institutions and circulates in a marketplace of unequal actors.

Perhaps understanding the social forces and owning the process of forming and breaking relationships can reduce the unnecessary pain?

The Five Love Languages for Singles

By Gary Chapman

Gary Chapman first penned the bestselling The Five Love Languages more than ten years ago. The core message has hit home with over 5 million people and showed people how to love their partners better.  This need to "feel" loved is felt by married and singles alike and applies to non-romantic relationships as well.

Dr. Chapman now tackles the unique circumstances that singles face and integrates how the same five love languages apply in their relationships, be it with their family, friends, and even somewhat distant friendships such as co-workers. If you are looking to improve your relationships with those around you, this book is an eye-opening and practical guide.

This Is Me Letting You Go

By Heidi Priebe

Letting go is not easy, and does not come naturally to us. In a world that teaches us to cling to what we love at all costs, learning to move on is something that we need to constantly relearn. In this series of honest and poignant essays, Heidi Priebe explores the harsh reality of what it means to let go of the people and situations we love most (often before we are ready to) and how to embrace what comes next. If you are recovering from a breakup, this book can be a great companion and source of comfort.

For Women

Have you ever felt pressured by society to act in a particular way, wear specific clothes, or say certain things? What are the expectations that women may consciously or unconsciously struggle with daily? We hope you find some insights and encouragement through the following recommendations.

Daughters Of Asia

By Dawn Tan

In this book, the first of its kind anywhere in the world, women leaders of Southeast Asia recount their life journeys in poignant portraits that will at once make you laugh and make you cry. Through candid interviews across the region, these women have come together with one common voice to share their stories in support of the empowerment of the Asian woman. Powerful forces for influence and change in the countries they call home and yet remaining the never-silent voices of mothers, they are the cornerstones of their families. Filled with inspiration, this book can provide hope, courage, and adventure for many!

The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty are Used Against Women

By Naomi Wolf

In the struggle for women's equality, there is one subject still shrouded in silence–women's compulsive pursuit of beauty. The myth of female beauty challenges every woman, every day of her life. Naomi Wolf exposes the tyranny of the beauty myth through the ages and its oppressive function today, in the home and at work, in literature and the media, in relationships between men and women, between women and women. With pertinent and intelligent examples, she confronts the beauty industry and its advertising and uncovers the reasons why women are consumed by this destructive obsession. I mean, who doesn't want to be beautiful? But let's not let the external image consume our inner beauty.

Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace

By Jessica Bennett

The idea that gender can be a reason for workplace discrimination is troublesome yet a real concern. Hard-hitting and entertaining, Feminist Fight Club blends personal stories with research, statistics, and expert advice. With original illustrations, Feminist Fight Club tackles both the external (sexist) and internal (self-sabotaging) behaviours that plague women in the workplace as well as the system that perpetuates them. This book can make a great guide for a more equal workspace.

Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business

By Barbara Annis

Bridging differences and assumptions about men and women at work, this book helps readers discover the false assumptions and opinions men and women have of each other, and in many ways, believe of themselves. Through research, science, and stories, the authors expose the blind spots that cause our misunderstandings, miscommunications, mistrust, resentment, and frustrations at work. Readers will discover the biology and social influences that compel men and women to think and act as they do, and direct how they communicate, solve problems, make decisions, resolve conflict, lead others, and deal with stress, enabling them to achieve greater success and satisfaction in their professional and personal lives. We hope this book provides some encouragement and confidence to women–and men alike–looking for an equal workspace.

The Sisterhood: How the Power of the Feminine Heart Can Become a Catalyst for Change and Make the World a Better Place

By Bobbie Houston

At the core of Sisterhood is a message of value and a genuine desire for women to unite in friendship and cause in order to bring hope where hope has been lost. The spirit of Sisterhood is seen and felt in the fervent prayer of thousands of girls who faithfully uphold nations where injustice and darkness rage out of control. It is seen and felt in young women being inspired by the wisdom and grace of their mothers and the women ahead of them in this journey of life. A story of women looking to the future to make a difference, find out how a feminine heart can make the future a better place.

Unseduced And Unshaken

By Rosalie De Rosset

As a woman, you were born into a deluge of expectations, and it's easy for us to prize beauty and desirability above the more enduring traits of self-possession and dignity. This collection of essays calls for us to go against the current and be intentional with our choices, cultivate our intellect, and take seriously our voice. To speak well, read often, make choices that reflect the character of God.

Going against expectations isn't always easy, but this collection of essays can be your first step in.

Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books

By Azar Nafisi

For two years, Azar Nafisi secretly gathered seven of her most committed female students to read forbidden Western classics in the Islamic Republic of Iran every Thursday morning. As Islamic morality squads staged arbitrary raids in Tehran and fundamentalists seized hold of the universities, the girls risked removing their veils. Their stories become intertwined with the ones they are reading.

Reading Lolita in Tehran is a remarkable exploration of resilience in the face of tyranny and a celebration of the liberating power of literature. I hope the story of these girls brings inspiration and empowerment against your battles against social pressures, if any.

I hope you find these recommendations helpful. To browse more Social Sciences titles, head to our website below! Be sure to order in time to enjoy Buy 2 Get 1 Free promotion only during our Book Fair.