So. You’ve plunged into the dreamy, confusing, wonderful-but-melancholic realm of love. You’re so head over heels, you find yourself staying up until 2AM baking sugar cookies in the shape of lumpy hearts, and rehearsing exactly what you’re going to say to your new love. The thought of seeing them again makes your insides turn to mush —they’re the only thing you can possibly think about.
Well, you happen to be in good company. When you find yourself falling in love, find a book that gets you on a spiritual, deep level —a story or book of poems that’s all about that love life and understands your struggles, as well as your triumphs. Here are 25 suggestions:
1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
The smart and lovely governess, Jane Eyre, falls in love with Mr. Rochester —her boss. Who’s uh, married. The love story highlights female empowerment in the Victorian age and how love can transcend even the most dire of situations.
2. Every Kiss a War by Leese Cross-Smith
Every Kiss a War encompasses every love story, every story about kissing strange men, every story about wanting too much, and every story about not wanting enough. Comprised of 27 short stories, Every Kiss a War is funny, bizarrely relatable, and gorgeous. Literally every single sentence is poetry —it sucks you in and doesn’t allow you to leave until your heart is devastated (in a good way).
3. Love, an Index by Rebecca Lindenberg
Published by McSweeney’s, Love, an Index is a collection of poems that explore the real relationship Lindenberg had with Craig Arnold, a poet who disappeared while hiking in Japan. Harrowing, beautiful, and intensely sorrowful, every single poem will not fail to slay every bone in your body.
4. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss
A book I always seem to come back to (probably because I wish I wrote it), The History of Love is a story that intertwines the lives of Leo Gursky (a Holocaust survivor), Alma, Alma’s mother, and the people they love. Much like her husband (Jonathan Safran Foer), Nicole Krauss’ playful language allows her to focus on a million things all at once: love, loss, Jewish culture, lists, childhood, translations, writing, and how angels sleep.
5. Dancing in Odessa by Ilya Kaminsky
Winner of practically every award there is (and I’m sure some were even invented just for this book), Ilya Kaminsky’s collection of poems are endlessly tender and so beautiful, you’ll swear you’re being haunted by a phantom waltz.
6. Love is a Mix Tape by Rob Sheffield
In this memoir told through the rhetoric of mix tapes, Rob Sheffield writes about the first lady love of his life, Renee. You’ll probably cry a lot, so get that roll of tissue paper ready.
7. Love in a Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Oh, Gabriel Garcia Marquez. No one’s romantic gusto can match yours, that’s for sure. Love in the Time of Cholera is about Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza, a pair that fall into a bottomless kind of love. Alas, Fermina marries a rich doctor instead of Florentino because that’s just what happens sometimes. Florentino is no quitter, though. He holds on to this love for 50 years before he gives it another shot.