We talk about break-up songs all the time, and even break-up movies. But why doesn’t anyone ever talk about what to read after a broken heart? When I googled break-up books, I found a whole bunch of bullshit self-help books that made me feel worse about myself. But these books, they’re everything you want in a break-up book. They’re funny, they’re sad, they’re insightful, they’re pictures!, they’re relatable, they’re strange, they’re life changing, and they’ll make you feel better. So get in your jammies, tell everyone to fuck off, and pick up one of these books. I pretty much want to do that all the time, anyway.
Add the books I missed in the comments!
Ant Farm, Simon Rich and/or The Underminer: The Best Friend Who Casually Destroys Your Life, Mike Albo — I do not care which. But preferably both.
After a break-up, sometimes you need a quickie. A book quickie. One that is not a huge commitment and pleases you immediately. These books are shit your pants hilarious, and they will take you an hour to read. An hour and a half if you are a really hearty laugher.
DUMPED, Maryjane Fahey & Caryn Beth Rosenthal
If you’re one of those stubborn types who really, like really can’t pick yourself up after a breakup, it’s okay. But you really do need someone to scream in your face. You need someone to tell you to get off your ass NOW — you were going to dump him (he just beat you to it), and that this is the best thing ever. And you need it to e told to you with huge laughs and hugs. Regular volume will not do. Dumped is the bible to picking yourself up. Just try to read 2 pages without shouting out a huge hallelujah. I bought 5 copies and just keep them around for emergency situations. If I can’t help my friend, I know this book can.
Outliers: The Story Of Success, Malcolm Gladwell
In this book, Malcolm Gladwell asks the question, “what makes high-achievers different?” After a failed relationship, everyone could take a few tips from software billionaires, impossible-to-defeat soccer players, genius mathematicians, and the Beatles. Make special note of “The 10,000 Hour Rule”, which states you have to do something for 10,000 hours before becoming a master. You’re on your way. A few hours closer, now.
The Pirate Lord, by Sabrina Jeffries
In this book, Pirates want to get married, have abandonment issues, are incredibly romantic (when having sex with virgins, they constantly ask them if they are hurting them), are really attractive and wonderful smelling, and like to tell small children stories and cuddle with them in bed. In other words, this book is hilarious. You need a good laugh right now, don’t you? And that har-dee-har-har is always best with a side of pirate sex.
Best lines: “Obey me, me lady, or I will brandish you with my saber.”* “What on earth was she thinking, having a pirate carry her to his bed? But not just any pirate. A pirate that drove her mad with desire and made her feel things she had never felt before.” “Your body is corruptible, me lady, and tonight I’m going to corrupt it in every way possible.”** DO YOU WANT TO READ THIS YET?
*He did not mean saber like the weapon kind.
**I am not making this shit up.
A Short History Of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson
If you want to be thinking about just about anything other than love, A Short History Of Nearly Everything will keep you happy for a long time. (It’s 544 pages.) Not only will you hear interesting facts that have nothing to do with your own tiny (relatively speaking) dramas, this book will allow you to ponder the much, much bigger questions that humans have been asking since the Big Bang banged.
“Stretch your arms to their fullest extent and imagine that width as the entire history of the Earth. On this scale… the distance from the fingertips of one hand to the wrist of the other is Precambrian. All of complex life is in one hand, and in a single stroke with a medium-grained nail file you could eradicate human history.” [p. 213]
It’s not always good to remember this, but maybe it’s good to remember this now: you’re just a speck. And so are your problems.
Bridget Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding
Bridget Jones is a hilarious shit show who will make you feel better about everything. You can either pick up some of Bridget’s life improvement tips, “visit the gym three times a week not just to buy a sandwich, form a functional relationship with a responsible adult”, etc.) or you can just say, fuck it all. There is someone out there just like the very worst side of me, and her name is Bridget Jones and she is just fine so I will be just fine, too.
High Fidelity, Nick Hornby
This is one book that you could read after a break-up, and then hand over to your ex if you’re feeling nice (it speaks to men and women.) It tells the story of Rob, who has been dumped by Laura for the guy upstairs, and how he deals. And it’s not sappy, and it’s not unrealistic, and it’s cool and it’s funny. And if you loved High Fidelity, check out Hornby’s other books, that are equally suitable to beat the break-up blues.
tiny beautiful things, Cheryl Strayed
You could read 1,000 advice books and ask the 1,000 smartest people you know your relationship quandaries, and you would not get better advice than this. Cheryl Strayed answers real questions in zero-bullshit, beautiful stories and bits of advice she has picked up from her pretty interesting life. She will make you laugh and say “hell yeah” and you are sure to find yourself in the people she writes to. You’ll underline passages, I promise, to carry with you to your next relationship (which will definitely happen.)
The Fountainhead, Ayn Rand
If somebody just took a dump on your ego, pick up some Ayn Rand. You might need to be given a refresher course in Objectivism. Facts are facts, independent of your feelings, wishes, hopes and fears. Man is an end in himself, not the means to the ends of others. Your own happiness is what matters now. And Rand’s beautiful yet bitter words will remind you that You Were Right.
How To Be A Woman, Caitlin Moran
If you are a woman, this book will remind you how awesome you are. How you should stop worrying about silly things like getting married by the time you are X years old and having children and being thin and wearing makeup. This book will make you want to kick ass. Oh, and it will make you laugh hard. Harder than Bossypants hard. If you are a man read this book just because it will make you a better person and you just might get laid. I don’t mean to speak for women everywhere, but I would probably want to bone any guy who thoughtfully read this book and talked to me about it. Total turn on.
The Harry Potter Series, J.K. Rowling
If you really want to get lost in something, pick up the first Harry Potter and do not stop reading until you reach your way to the seventh. These are the perfect lock yourself in your apartment books — people lock themselves in their apartments/bedrooms/bath tubs to read Harry Potter even when they aren’t suffering a break-up — these books are that intoxicating. If you don’t want to talk about your break-up and your friends are trying to get you to go out, just say, “I’m staying in this weekend to finish Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and you won’t have any more explaining to do.
Calvin And Hobbes, Bill Watterson
Before you were a dater, you were a kid, and Calvin and Hobbes will bring you back to the time that your biggest problem was homework and having to eat your mom’s nasty cooking. Plus, you just might not feel like really fucking reading anything right now. Break-ups can be exhausting.