11 Books That Will Make You Happy You're Single
As '70s rockers Three Dog Night said, "one is the loneliest number." Anyone who's ever been single knows this to be an irrefutable fact, like gravity or Beyoncé's reign of world domination. From feeling like the third (or fifth or seventh) wheel at social functions, to worrying about terrifying "what-if" living alone scenarios, going it on your own can be a rough road at times.
However, there are plenty of things to celebrate about singlehood. Relationships aren't always all they're cracked up to be, for one. And flying solo means you have total control over your destiny — where you go, what you do, with whom you spend time. In moments of loneliness, it can be hard to remember the perks of being single, but luckily there are plenty of writers who are all too happy to remind us that oftentimes, being a party of one can be the most fun.
"My Horizontal Life" by Chelsea Handler
Looking for a sassy single-girl role model? Look no further than the indomitable Miss Handler, who milks being single and ready to mingle for all that it’s worth, including dozens of outrageous adventures that can later be turned into a best-selling book.
"I'm Having More Fun Than You" by Aaron Karo
Sort of the male’s response to Chelsea Handler, comedian Aaron Karo, the overactive brain behind the classic website Ruminations celebrates the freedom that comes with being single, and reminds us that, however we choose to wield that freedom, it’s a lot more fun than picking out wedding invitations.
'Love Is a Four-Letter Word' edited by Michael Taeckens
Isn’t it, though? Sometimes, no matter how much you want a significant other in your life, you need reminding that no amount of stress and heartache is worth it. This collection of short stories of highly dysfunctional relationships by writers like Wendy McClure, Kate Christensen, Dan Kennedy and more, will do just that.
'Gone Girl' by Gillian Flynn
'Revolutionary Road' by Richard Yates
It’s like Gone Girl set in the 1950s, basically — with a lot less scheming and a lot more repression. Watching Frank and April Wheeler’s relationship dissolve in the face of infidelity and shattered dreams will make you thankful that the only relationship you have to work on is the one with yourself.
'Sula' by Toni Morrison
OK, so things don’t work out well in the end for the title character of Toni Morrison’s 1973 novel, but damn, does Sula have a good time while it lasts. Even today, being single sometimes means butting up against society’s expectations. Sula didn’t care about any of that, and neither should anyone else.
'All We Ever Wanted Was Everything' by Janelle Brown
Sometimes, a comfortable relationship just holds us back. Learning how to master their own destinies without significant others by their sides is a painful yet often hilarious journey for mother and daughter Janice and Margaret Miller in Brown’s 2009 novel.
'Fear of Flying' by Erica Jong
Isadora Wing, the protagonist of Jong’s 1973 feminist classic, spends most of the novel wishing she had given herself the chance to define herself as an individual, rather than in relation to a man. Fear of Flying reminds us that relationships with a significant other work a lot better when we’ve taken the time to be content with ourselves.
'Eat, Pray, Love' by Elizabeth Gilbert
You know what’s great about being single? Being able to do whatever the hell you want (or at least, whatever your checking account will allow). Gilbert’s 2006 memoir is a paean to that concept, celebrating the adventures you can have when you don’t have obligations to anyone but yourself.
'Anna Karenina' by Leo Tolstoy
There’s nothing worse than being with the wrong person when the “right” person comes along (or at least, the person you think is the right one). Tolstoy’s epic novel of passion, hypocrisy, infidelity and betrayal remains a great warning of the dangerous dark side of romance.
'High Fidelity' by Nick Hornby
Sometimes, in order to move forward, we need to look backward. Let main character Ryan’s re-examination of his romantic life guide you through your own reflection. We all still have baggage, but at least that way, when the right one comes along, hopefully it will at least be neatly packed and easily carried.