Life Advice for Book Lovers: For All the Single Ladies (The Book You Need Now)
Book Recommendations for the Troubled Soul
Welcome to Life Advice for Book Lovers, Lit Hub’s advice column. You tell me what’s eating you in an email to email@example.com and I’ll tell you what you should read next.
Last year alone, I went to four weddings of close friends. People tell you to expect this in your 20s, but I always thought they were exaggerating! You can probably guess where this is going: I am nowhere close to getting married. I haven’t been in a real relationship since 2018. In fact, I’m just starting to “get back out there” “post-pandemic.”
Don’t get me wrong: I actually like being alone. Most of the time. I live alone, and I love it. I have friends who I see regularly, and family close by. I don’t think I’m lonely. I’m just afraid I’m falling behind. I always thought I’d be married with kids by the time I was in my early 30s, so logically, I guess I should start working towards that?
Please, for the love of god, no romance novels or love stories that will “give me hope of finding that special someone.” Thanks!
Dear Single Snail,
Boy oh boy have I been there! (Last year I attended only three weddings, so you do have me beat, and I feel for you.) One day, you’re sitting on your shitty couch (the cheapest IKEA had to offer) with your friends, overthinking every Hinge message—and the next thing you know, you’re holding someone’s wedding dress train in a bathroom stall. How did we even get here?
It feels like one day, a bell went off and everybody heard it but you. (I feel this way in love and with regards to Roth IRAs. Why didn’t anybody tell me to open one?? Do you have one? If so, you’re already ahead in some respects!)
The book you absolutely need right now is Sex and the Single Woman. It’s a re-envisioning of Helen Gurley Brown’s Sex and the Single Girl—updated for the modern day. This anthology includes essays from Kristen Arnett, Melissa Febos, Morgan Parker, and more. And the subjects really run the gamut: interracial dating, living alone, IVF, abortion, you name it. What this variety of voices really allows for is that nuance of experience.
This collection is so powerful for the way it doesn’t put one person’s story on a pedestal; everyone’s path equally valued and celebrated. (And it does feel like a celebration!) What these pieces do have in common is that they’ll give you a more essential hope—not that you’ll meet your Special Someone, but that you will always be okay. It is honest and heartbreaking and raw and with heart. (So much heart.)
Also, there is no right window for things to happen during. Life isn’t linear like that. And how wonderful that our lives can surprise us with the way they ebb and flow away from the rivers of our friends.
So much love for you,