Courtesy of William Morrow & Company, Grand Central Publishing, Harper Perennial, Vintage
This is the season for star-crossed romance, unrequited love and emotions galore. While Valentine’s Day is usually spent watching juicy romantic comedies or munching on heart-shaped candies, never underestimate the joy of reading a great love story. With titles ranging from erotica and non-fiction to novels and poetry, we bring you 10 books that are guaranteed to make your days a little tender.
All about love: new visions by bell hooks
You can’t talk about love without referring to bell hooks. The late scholar and author published All About Love in 1999, but it is still as relevant as ever. Hooks explores love as an act of caring and compassion, for others as well as for yourself. As she so brilliantly puts it, “The word ‘love’ is usually defined as a noun, but we would all love more if we used it as a verb.”
How Stella got her groove back by Terry McMillan
For the lovers of fiction, you can’t go wrong with Terry McMillan. In this classic love story, a wildly successful (read: overworked and stressed) single mother, Stella, decides to take a trip to Jamaica for some relaxation. While sunbathing in the tropics, she meets a man who exceeds all her expectations and makes her think about what she thought she knew about love. When you’ve finished the book, be sure to watch the movie starring living legend Angela Bassett.
Seven days in June by Tia Williams
When former teenage sweethearts Eva and Shane reunite at a literary event, their chemistry is still as strong as ever. The erotica writer and novelist then spends the next seven days reconnecting and reminiscing amid a hot Brooklyn summer. But when old wounds begin to surface, the two writers reevaluate their second chance at love.
Gastric acid by Nora Ephron
The late Nora Ephron gave us romantic comedies for days – from When Harry Met Sally and Sleepless in Seattle to You’ve Got Mail and Heartburn, which was based on her 1983 novel of the same name. Loosely based on her own life, Heartburn is a story about love. and betrayal. When Rachel, a pregnant cookbook writer, finds out that her husband Mark is in love with someone else, chaos ensues. In true Ephron fashion, the story is still undeniably cozy and features several recipes throughout the book (like cheesecake, pot roast, and bread pudding). The film, starring Meryl Streep and Jack Nicholson, is a wonderful compliment.
Delta of Venus by Anaïs Nin
Erotica and Valentine’s Day go hand in hand, right? In this collection of short stories, Anaïs Nin explores desire and intimacy through a whole host of characters. One of the many stories is that a Parisian hatter leaves her husband and reacquaints herself with her sexuality, and in another story, a woman in disguise seduces strangers to her liking.
Everything I Know About Love: A Memoir by Dolly Alderton
In this funny and heartfelt memoir, journalist and former Sunday Times columnist Dolly Alderton goes back to the first time she fell in love, got her heart broken and then put it back together. Personal anecdotes are coupled with cultural observations as she tries to understand love, romance and partnership.
love poems by Pablo Neruda
What could be more romantic than poetry – or better yet, poetry written on an Italian island? Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda ventured to Capri to write this quintessential collection of love poems. It even inspired the idyllic and heartwarming 1994 Italian film Il Postino.
The Lonely Hunter: How Our Search for Love Was Broken: A Memoir by Aimee Lutkin
This time of year can evoke feelings of loneliness and Aimée Lutkin can relate to this. In her new memoir, the author embarks on a year-long journey to expose society’s “deep biases against the disconnected” by going on plenty of enlightening dates and delving into the latest research on singlehood.
Foreverland: On the Divine Boredom of Marriage by Heather Havrilesky
Acclaimed Ask Polly columnist Heather Havrilesky is back with her latest book on intimacy and relationships. This time, she’s investigating her 15-year marriage. In this refreshingly candid portrait of a marriage, she peels away the gritty and poignant layers of an ancient institution and its role in the modern age.
The Art of Online Dating: Style Your Most Authentic Self and Cultivate a Mindful Dating Life by Alyssa Dineen
How do you put together a dating app profile perfectly? Stylist Alyssa Dineen may have the answer. In The Art of Online Dating, she offers a step-by-step guide to making sure your IRL personality matches your URL persona. Learn how to create a cute biography, pick the perfect selection of photos, and even decide which app is best for you.
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