Ponder. Conspire. Digitize.

I was asked to do a book review by News-Journal Books Editor Karen Gallagher after she and I got to talking about all the how-to-find-romance books she gets in the mail. We joked (I thought) about how it would be funny for one of the newsroom’s single girls to write a review of these books.

The next day I arrived at my desk to find a copy of “The Man Plan: Drive Men Wild – Not Away” by Whitney Casey. Turns out I was the single girl Karen had in mind.

“The Man Plan” is a how-to guide for making sure every inch of a woman’s independence is tucked in and is slightly perfumed (careful, not TOO much smell-well girls).

Kidding aside, this book does have some merit as a cheap replacement for a proper finishing school. I received some good tips about balancing my jewelry as not to distract my date. And how to make sure things smell fresh and that I’m always groomed properly – all over.

According to Casey, you never know when you’ll have the opportunity for a healthy romp. Of course, she agrees that it is best to wait for whoopee, but like any good Girl Scout, you should always be prepared for anything.

“Why Him? Why Her?” by anthropologist Helen Fisher is an interesting and slightly

scientific review of how love is powered by animal instincts and serotonin, or the lack thereof.

This is the guide for you if you really want to dissect your dating situation, complete with personality tests. “Why Him? Why Her?” is what you want if you are looking to brush up on your-reading-between-the-lines skills.

You will be able to diagnose your date’s personality and coax him into falling in love with you simply by outsmarting him.

Then there is the book that stopped me cold, “How to Make Someone Fall in Love with You in 90 Minutes or Less!”

What the heck? Now seriously, 90 minutes?

I have to be honest. I couldn’t read it. Every time I picked it up all I could think was: “90 minutes, isn’t that pushing it a bit?”

Ultimately my top choice was the most unlikely candidate, “The Things I Learned from the Women Who Dumped Me,” edited by Ben Karlin.

This is a compilation of short articles by men, most of whom are now married, discussing the heartache they’ve been handed by the women they loved. I would suggest this book to anyone. It is a quick and funny read, but I especially recommend it for the single woman who has all but given up on love. It sheds light on the fact that men are just as clueless as women, if not more so. Man after man describes the painful, heartbreaking, and sometimes traumatizing situations that made them the lovers they are today.

Steven Colbert weighs in with a story about an old girlfriend in the chapter titled The Heart is a Choking Hazard. According to Colbert, his wife edited the article leaving it so heavily marked up it was left looking like a censored war document.

In Chapter 1, titled Sex is the Most Stressful Thing in the History of the Universe, actor Dan Vebber tells the story of his first attempt (note the word “attempt”) at intercourse with a red-headed, full-blooded Irish girl and the four layers of contraceptives she demanded. And novelist Neal Pollack writes about a really bizarre incident involving his cat Gabby and a wet dream. (All I will say is “Yuck!”)

The other books encouraged deep self-evaluation or encouraged women to overhaul their appearance in order to catch a good man, this one lays love out as it really is — some luck mixed a bunch of embarrassment, topped off with a teaspoon of spermicide.