9 Books That Celebrate Being Single To Read For Valentine's Day
Hey, all you single ladies, it's time to stop feeling bad for yourselves on Valentine's Day and every day beyond, and start celebrating your awesomeness. Step one: grabbing some awesome books that celebrate being single. It can be hard to watch seemingly everyone pairing up around you, especially during "the most romantic day of the year" and the extensive build-up leading to it. You can't walk into a drug store without being bombarded with sickly sweet red and pink everything, and every network seems to play their most romantic sitcom episodes.
But it's time we've all admitted to this fact: there is nothing wrong with being single! Whether you're holding out for a deeper connection, are focusing on your career, or just want to spend more of your time being free to do exactly as you please, more and more women are choosing to remain single for extended periods of time. So, as an antidote to all of the coupled-up posts you'll be seeing around for the next couple of weeks, we've compiled a list of reads that reaffirm, inspire, and celebrate the single gal. Grab one for yourself, your group of Galentine's or a single friend in need of a pick-me-up. Once you're done with these, you'll feel unstoppable and singly amazing.
1. 'All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation' by Rebecca Traister
All the Single Ladies has become the modern rallying cry of uncoupled women everywhere, and this groundbreaking book has been one of its most validating voices. Today, only 20 percent of Americans are wed by age 29, compared to nearly sixty percent in 1960. The Population Reference Bureau calls it a “dramatic reversal.” But over the course of her vast research and more than a hundred interviews with academics and social scientists and prominent single women, Traister discovered that the phenomenon of the single woman in America is not a new one. And historically, when women were given options beyond early heterosexual marriage, the results were massive social change — temperance, abolition, secondary education, and more. All the Single Ladies is exhaustively researched, brilliantly balanced, and told with Traister’s signature wit and insight.
2. 'Choosing Me Before We' by Christine Arylo
Christine Arylo's book focuses on what you have, rather than what you lack. A must for any woman feeling a little less when she's not part of a couple. Designed to challenge and guide women to create the relationships they want instead of the ones they often find themselves stuck in, this book is packed with questions, techniques and personal anecdotes that dive into discovering more about yourself, your habits, your wants and needs, so that you can stop settling, get real about the kind of partner you're looking for, and to start exploring and creating what you truly want in yourself and your relationships. This book will give you permission to take time out of the dating scene and put that effort into loving yourself first, a reminder we could all use now and again.
3. 'My Life On The Road' by Gloria Steinem
Not only is Gloria Steinem one of the preeminent modern feminists, she is also one of the most famously single women in pop culture. Remember her famous, "A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle" line? Yeah, Steinem is clearly still living by it, and doing it in the most inspiring way possible. Her latest memoir, My Life on the Road, offers a candid account of how her early years led her to live an on-the-road kind of life, traveling, listening to people, learning, and creating change. She reveals the story of her own growth in tandem with the growth of an ongoing movement for equality, and how living her life by her own rules has made all the difference. We defy you not to feel inspired by all she has accomplished, without a husband by her side.
4. 'Talking As Fast As I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls, And Everything In Between' by Lauren Graham
Yes, Lauren Graham is famously coupled up with fellow actor Peter Krause. But it wasn't always that way, and in her first essay collection, Graham does not shy away from that fact. Not only does she spend a vast majority of the book discussing her childhood, her formative years in small theater companies and in college and her own creative life sans man, she also dedicates an entire chapter to discussing being unmarried and single into her thirties. Graham talks about the the worried looks she would get from strangers on planes and going to parties she didn't even want to attend just in case Mr. Right was there. Ending on the note, "Because here's the thing: I was fine on my own and so are you" is nicely gratifying, especially from the mouth of our favorite Gilmore Girl.
5. 'Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors and Trailblazers Who Changed History' by Sam Maggs
If you ever wanted to feel more inspired to focus wholeheartedly on your career and creative aspirations in lieu of a romantic relationship, this book is for you. Wonder Women pairs adorable illustrations with short profiles on 25 incredible women that changed the course of history...most you've probably never even heard of. There's Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a Muslim woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous.” There's German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition. There's Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China. While some of these women were married, its their own creations and triumphs that are focused on here, and you will be pleased to see how many of them weren't coupled up at all. A little bit of learning and a whole lot of woman power is the perfect antidote to dating FOMO.
6. 'Spinster: Making a Life Of One's Own' by
A modern classic of single girl status, Kate Bolick's book takes a look at the pleasures and possibilities of remaining single. Using her own experiences as a starting point Bolick weaves together the past and present to examine why she, and over 100 million American women, remain unmarried. She also includes the stories of a cast of pioneering women who have emboldened Bolick to fashion her life on her own terms: columnist Neith Boyce, essayist Maeve Brennan, social visionary Charlotte Perkins Gilman, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, and novelist Edith Wharton. By animating their unconventional ideas and choices, Bolick shows us that contemporary debates about settling down, and having it all, are timeless—the crucible upon which all thoughtful women have tried for centuries to forge a good life. Thoughtful and well-researched, this book will inspire any sister to do it for herself.
7. 'The Sisters Are Alright: Changing The Broken Narrative Of Black Women In America' by Tamara Winfrey Harris
The Sisters Are Alright has one main premise: What's wrong with black women? Not a damned thing! This is the starting point for her exploration of the damaging stereotypes of black women that persist to this day through newspaper headlines, Sunday sermons, social media memes, cable punditry, government policies, and hit song lyrics. Winfrey Harris maintains that when African women suffer under three main stereotypes—servile Mammy, angry Sapphire, and lascivious Jezebel—followed close behind. In the '60s, the Matriarch, the willfully unmarried baby machine leeching off the state, joined them. This book delves into marriage, motherhood, health, sexuality, beauty, and more, taking sharp aim at pervasive stereotypes about black women. It counters warped prejudices with the straight-up truth about being a black woman in America. “We have facets like diamonds,” she writes. “The trouble is the people who refuse to see us sparkling.” This is a book that will affirm any choice a modern black woman chooses to make with her own life, relationships and sexuality; the perfect read for a single woman making her own way in the world.
8. 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
An oldie, but a goodie, Mindy Kaling's first memoir focuses on her upbringing, her first big job in theater, and her break into television, all done with heart and hilarious insight. Kaling talks about the stereotypes she has endured as an Indian American woman, the prejudices she faced when trying to write her first TV pilot, thoughts on her weight, how SNL inspired her life, her time spent as one of the only female writers on The Office... and she hardly touches on romance at all. Kaling's book will make you want to write, to create, to binge watch The Mindy Project and live vicariously through Dr. Lahiri's many romantic screw-ups, or call up your best friend for an hours-long talk sesh. One thing it won't make you do? Cry over not having a date for Valentine's Day. Because, like Mindy, you're just too fabulous for that.
9. 'Bachelor Girl: The Secret History Of Single Women In The Twentieth Century' by Betsy Israel
In this lively book, journalist Betsy Israel shines a light on the old stereotypes that have stigmatized single women for years and celebrates their resourceful sense of spirit, enterprise, and success in a world where it is no longer unusual or unlikely to be unwed. Drawing extensively on sources including private journals, newspaper stories, magazine articles, advertisements, films, and other materials from popular media, Israel paints remarkably vivid portraits of single women -- and the way they were perceived -- throughout the decades. From the nineteenth-century spinsters, of New England to the Bowery girls of New York City, from the 1920s flappers to the 1940s working women of the war years and the career girls of the 1950s and 1960s, single women have fought to find and feel comfortable in that room of their own. Witty, well researched and thoughtful Bachelor Girl is a must-read for women everywhere, especially the single ladies.