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    Updated on 24 Sep 2019. Posted on 24 Sep 2019

    11 Books About Love That Aren't "The Notebook"

    Your bookshelves could use a little ~love~.

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    As a hopeless romantic of the highest order and a self-confessed book addict, I've read my fair share of books about love. So it bothers me the genre gets a bad rap.

    Warner Bros.

    To help reignite your love of romance, here are 11 non-cheesy, non-sappy books about love (masquerading my excuse for revisiting my book collection):

    HBO

    But seriously. You will see my hand holding books a lot in this post.

    1. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman.

    Instagram: @liinabachmann / Via Instagram: @liinabachmann

    Damn this book. It hits you right in all those tender parts that haven't healed since your first love. Elio and Oliver spend a single summer together in Italy, when visiting scholar Oliver stays with Elio's family. Idyllic, sweet and sincere — read to remember how you were before heartbreak made you cynical.

    PRICE: $8.22 for the paperback edition and $7.12 for the Kindle edition.

    2. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary For Lovers by Xiaolu Guo.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    Oh, this book. It came to me when I'd become disillusioned with books about love, and I instantly became besotted with it. Written from the perspective of a Chinese woman learning English for a year in London, the language changes over the course of the book as she develops both her grasp of English and her relationship with an older Englishman.

    PRICE: $23.53 for the paperback edition and $12.99 for the Kindle edition.

    3. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.

    Instagram: @rachnoronha / Via Instagram: @rach.noronha

    A modern classic, this book follows a group of people in Prague in the late '60s, all connected by varying degrees of love and sex. It changes from person to person, but to me, this book is about whether it is better to belong to someone — and be weighed down by expectation and duty — or unattached and know ~lightness of being~. This book left me more conflicted about love, sex and relationships than any other before.

    PRICE: $16.13 for the paperback edition and $4.35 for the Kindle edition.

    4. A Spy in the House of Love by Anaïs Nin.

    Instagram: @megansteller / Via Instagram: @megansteller

    It's still wild to me that this book was written in the '50s. Semi-autobiographical, A Spy In The House Of Love is in part about different affairs New Yorker Sabina has during her marriage. It's about sexual identity, yes, but it's mostly about when our different needs are in direct conflict with one another.

    PRICE: $10.95 for the paperback edition and $12.99 for the Kindle edition.

    5. South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    Most Murakami fans will tell you Norwegian Wood is his most bittersweet, nostalgic book — they're wrong, I tell you. Set in Tokyo, 37 years old Hajime, a successful bar owner, husband and father, is reunited with Shimamoto, his childhood friend. South of the Border is about what happens when a past love (and, let's face it, your past self) threatens your present one. A must-read for anyone who's ever wondered, "what if?"

    PRICE: $22.41 for the paperback edition and $12.99 for the Kindle edition.

    6. The Days of Abandonment by Elena Ferrante.

    Instagram: @alfandloulit / Via Instagram: @alfandloulit

    Sometimes love ends and nothing happens — you don't pull an Eat Pray Love and go discover yourself. Sometimes you don't even leave your house and just stop living. The Days of Abandonment is about Olga's devastation when her husband leaves her and she is made to care for their two children alone. My heart hurt reading this book, so beware my tender-hearted friends.

    PRICE: $19.69 for the paperback edition and $13.29 for the Kindle edition.

    7. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion.

    Instagram: @luciecamara / Via Instagram: @luciecamara

    This memoir chronicling the year following Didion's husband's death is heartbreaking and powerful — because she is devastated by her loss. In a weird way though, don't we all want a love that will leave us heartbroken when it ends?

    PRICE: $13.57 for the paperback edition and $9.99 for the Kindle edition.

    8. Modern Romance by Aziz Ansari.

    Amazon

    If you've watched Master of None (and if you haven't, I'm not sure what you're doing with your life), you'll know Ansari is funny and insightful when it comes to observations of romantic relationships. Naturally, he went and wrote a book about them (with the assistance of a sociologist because ~credibility~), and it was brilliant IMHO.

    PRICE: $16.24 for the paperback edition and $3.99 for the Kindle edition.

    9. The Course of Love by Alain de Botton.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    You know it's a good book on love when you and your mate, a twenty-something year old bloke whose favourite past-time is playing Call Of Duty, both rave about it. The Course of Love interweaves psychological and philosophical musings about lifelong commitment with a story about Rabih and Kirsten — and how their love changes over a lifetime. I love this book for attempting to address the question that few others are game to — just how does one stay in love after years and years with the same person?

    PRICE: $16.50 for the paperback edition and $12.99 for the Kindle edition.

    10. Wildlife by Richard Ford.

    Amazon

    I first came to this book by the movie (amazing, amazing, amazing), and I'm so glad I did. Set in a small town in Montana in the early '60s, the story is told from the perspective of a son whose parents' marriage is falling apart under the pressures of Joe's father's pride. I love this book for its simplicity and the frankness with which it ties duty to love — you can't really have one without the other, can you?

    And I mean, I usually hate on movie adaptation book covers, but this one is quite pretty!

    PRICE: $13.98 for the paperback edition and $8.59 for the Kindle edition.

    11. And finally, Love Letters by Peter Washington.

    BuzzFeed / Mariela Summerhays

    I bought this itty-bitty book in Paris, at the famous Shakespeare and Co. bookshop (see: Before Sunset), because of course I did. There are letters from Mozart, Virginia Wolfe, Franz Kafka — flirting, begging, missing, loving. My copy is underlined and circled (and coffee-stained) for me to return to every once in a while, which I always do.

    PRICE: $20.69