We all should be so lucky to find love—in family and friends as well as in romantic partners. These six new books fit into anyone’s life, regardless of relationship status.
How to be Loved: A Memoir of Lifesaving Friendship
By Eva Hagberg Fisher
Eva Hagberg Fisher built a career writing about architecture in her 20s, but her raw and honest debut memoir, How to be Loved, is quite a departure from chronicling design and the hottest goings-on in New York real estate. Fisher doesn’t sugarcoat her journey from a confused social climber who was struggling with addiction to a person who discovers, for the first time in her young life, true friendship with Allison, an older woman in her recovery group. Fisher confesses to being selfish and withholding for most of her early adult life, seeing her relationships with men and women as means to an end, whether that end be social status, housing when she was jobless or artistic fulfillment. But when Fisher was diagnosed with a brain tumor, it was Allison, steadily coping with her own cancer diagnosis, who gently but persistently loved and cared for her. Allison showed Fisher a way to engage with another person to an extent she didn’t know was possible, which in turn helped prepare her for her relationship with her current husband. Grab a box of tissues for this one and have your best friend on speed dial. You’ll definitely want to call them after you turn the last page.
Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions
By Briallen Hopper
As Fisher’s memoir proves, romantic partnerships aren’t the only life-altering relationships built on love. And in Briallen Hopper’s first collection of essays, Hard to Love, she takes a deep dive into many essential but far less glamorized types of relationships: found families, platonic friendships, emotional connections with inanimate objects, fandom (you’ll never look at the classic Ted Dansen-helmed sitcom “Cheers” or its theme song the same way ever again) and the hard-won beauty of learning to love yourself. And yes, Hopper even spares some ink to cover marriage and romance, but as a whole, this is a refreshing collection that probes the expanse of the human heart.
Love Understood: The Science of Who, How and Why We Love
By Laura Mucha
If you have a dogeared copy of Aziz Ansari’s 2015 bestseller, Modern Love, then British poet and artist Laura Mucha’s Love Understood, a well-researched and deeply human study of the intricacies and science of love, is right up your alley. After observing her grandparents’ strong, decades-long relationship, Mucha decided to spend some time trying to figure out how love works. She interviewed strangers from all over the world in order to better understand love’s common themes, and she presents their stories alongside related scientific studies. You’ll find sections on dating, love at first sight, monogamy, cheating and how people heal from lost love.
How to Date Men When You Hate Men
By Blythe Roberson
Do you struggle to connect with men in the midst of our inescapably patriarchal society? Well, Blythe Roberson, New Yorker contributor and researcher for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” definitely has her fair share of complaints. In her hilarious and relatable How to Date Men When You Hate Men, the 27-year-old chronicles her many false starts (like many Millennials, she’s never had a boyfriend in the traditional sense), rants about rape culture, parses her “type,” offers her own thoughts on the complicated dance of defining the relationship, champions the pleasures of being single and more. It’s a very funny read from someone who has many thoughts on love but never claims to be an expert.
Eight Dates: Essential Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
By John Gottman & Julie Schwartz Gottman
John and Julie Gottman know that a strong and healthy relationship is built on the small, everyday gestures and moments of intentional connection. So they’re burning a candle for one of the most overlooked aspects of modern relationships: date night. “Make dedicated, non-negotiable time for each other a priority, and never stop being curious about your partner,” they write in the introduction to Eight Dates. If you’re really looking to see some results, then this is the book for you—the Gottmans’ ideas are based on hard data and proven studies. Although the dates all focus on different topics of conversation, they apply to any relationship, young or old.
You Always Change the Love of Your Life (for Another Love or Another Life)
By Amalia Andrade
If you’ve ever gone through a breakup, you probably know that you’ll get the same pat advice over and over again. Looking for a new, more hands-on approach to processing your feelings and dealing with heartbreak? Chilean-born author and illustrator Amalia Andrade’s You Always Change the Love of Your Life blends charming, down-to-earth advice with cheeky cartoons, illustrations, journal prompts, soul-warming recipes, playlists and more.