by Lana Citron

Harlequin, $13.95, 220 pages

What do catching a monk mug, giraffing, and suckers prospecting have in common? They’re all slang for kissing! In order to pucker your lips, it takes the use of all 34 facial muscles along with 12 other muscles! What a lot of work. Readers will learn this and more in Lana Citron’s A Compendium of Kisses, the all you need to know guide to one of life’s sweetest pleasures. Find out the Rules of Competition Kissing (there’s a contest?!), the Perfect Kiss Recipe, the best songs to kiss to (Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On” or Seal’s “Kiss from a Rose”), and how to say “kiss” in every language, including Morse Code! Interspersed among the short entries are quotes (“Soul meets soul on lover’s lips” – Percy Bysshe Shelley), poems (“Kate hates moustaches; so much hair/makes every man look like a bear”), and lines from plays (Romeo: “Eyes look your last! Arms take your last embrace! and lips, O you, The doors of breath seal with a righteous kiss”). Citron presents her research eloquently, romantically, and often humorously. This would make a wonderful gift for any couple deeply in love.

Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin