11th February 2022

Valentine’s: five books for a break-up

If you’re feeling heartbroken this Valentine’s Day, here are the best books to read following a break-up
Valentine’s: five books for a break-up
Photo: Bana Mustafa @ The Mancunion

With Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, you may be in the mood to read about love, or else you may be reminded of the worst heartbreak you’ve ever experienced. If it’s the latter, we’ve got you covered with a list of the best books to read after a break-up.

If you’re looking for serious books offering guidance or advice, this isn’t the right list, but hopefully these recommendations will help provide some distraction and just the right amount of soul searching.   

1. Wild: A Journey from Lost to Found by Cheryl Strayed

Wild is a classic post-break-up choice. In her memoir, Strayed recounts her decision to walk 1,100 miles alone along the Pacific Crest Trail over three months. She has no hiking experience, and she does the entire thing alone. It’s self-reflective, but also funny, moving, and inspiring.

2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It may have its flaws, but The Great Gatsby makes ideal reading material for after a break-up. If you think you’ve got it bad, at least you don’t throw enormous parties just in the hope one married person comes to them, right? This book is the perfect reminder to not get hung up over an ex, because it never works out well. 

3. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz

This Is How You Lose Her, is a collection of linked narratives about love, break ups, heart break, cheating and all sorts of general terrible relationship behaviour, following the Dominican-American protagonist, Yunior. It’s funny and full of energy. Instead of avoiding talk of break-ups, this book will help you to embrace thoughts of them.

4. Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe captivated me more than any book I’ve read in a long time, immersing me into a completely different world. If it’s distraction you’re looking for, this is ideal. The protagonist is independent, living an isolated existence and proving her ability to survive alone. While there are brief moments of romance, the romantic plot is refreshingly off-centre. 

5. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

If you did manage to not read Gone Girl when the New York Times Bestseller was released in 2012, now is the time. It certainly doesn’t make marriage seem attractive or being in a relationship seem enjoyable, in fact, it will make you feel really happy to be single. It’s also a thriller and a page turner, so exactly the type of distraction you might need. 

We hope that, instead of feeling lonely this Valentine’s, these book choices will fill you with comfort and distraction, and perhaps even remind you of the joys of singledom!

Aileen Loftus

Aileen Loftus

Books Editor

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