Since October of 2004 readers have been flocking to the
New York Times — not for the latest breaking scoop or political analysis (which the daily has been printing since all the way back in September of 1851) but for the . A highlight of the Fashion & Style section (at least, IMO) Times’ weekly Modern Love column Modern Love features reader-submitted essays about navigating the ups and downs of love — often romantic, but not always — in our modern world. And, good news for Modern Love super-fans: a number of these 1500-word essays (approximately one in 10) have gone on to become books inspired by the Modern Love column.
the appeal of Modern Love — other than the fact that we humans have been obsessed with love since long before even Shakespeare was a glimmer in his father’s eye — is the column’s no-anonymity policy, resulting in authentic, quirky, straight-forward, and genuine storytelling that tackles everything from adoption and illness to online dating and divorce, mid-life crises and long-distance relationships to unexpected deaths and unplanned (or, equally, over-planned) pregnancies. And that’s just scratching the surface.
Here are 16
books to read if you love the — and seriously, who doesn’t? New York Times' Modern Love column 'Without a Map' by Meredith Hall Modern Love column: I Gave Him Up At 16. Could We Try Again?
Inspired by the Modern Love column that shared Meredith Hall’s story of reconnecting with the son she put up for adoption when she was 16-years-old, her memoir
begins with that unexpected pregnancy, and takes readers through the raw, terrifying, bruising, and inspiring journey that followed. After being kicked out of her mother’s house, Hall is taken in by her father and stepmother until her son’s birth and adoption. Hall then sets out on a soul-searching journey through the Middle East, grief-filled, broke, and alone. Years after Hall returns to the United States — and 21 years after she put her son up for adoption — the two reconnect in difficult, emotional, and sometimes surprising ways. Without a Map Click here to buy. 'Never Tell Our Business to Strangers' by Jennifer Mascia Modern Love column: Never Tell Our Business to Strangers
Jennifer Mascia’s column,
, is one of the more unique and unlikely Modern Love columns ever run — telling the story of how her parents met: her mother a high school English teacher in a correctional facility and her father an inmate, and their subsequent life on the run from her father’s criminal past (and sometimes, present.) Her memoir, of the same title, takes readers through Mascia’s seemingly magical childhood, albeit one with the long-buried horrors of her father’s true crimes, which Mascia must learn to reconcile with her image of the man she loved growing up. Never Tell Our Business to Strangers Click here to buy. 'This Is Not The Story You Think It Is' by Laura A. Munson Modern Love column: Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear
In Laura A. Munson’s Modern Love column,
Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear, her husband has decided he wants to leave her — but she doesn’t buy it. Her subsequent memoir, , dives deeper. Challenged with her own unmet mid-life expectations, Munson has decided to surrender to life’s twists and turns, and find joy amidst the suffering, even when that suffering involves her husband repeatedly telling her he no longer loves her. Though months of patience and giving her husband space to make his own way through his own pain, Munson manages to keep her family intact while never giving way to the despair that is sometimes easier than the necessarily emotional work of surviving mid-life and thriving beyond. This Is Not The Story You Think It Is Click here to buy. 'Lost Stars' by Lisa Selin Davis Modern Love column: What Lou Reed Taught Me About Love
A rare YA title to follow a successful Modern Love column — one about young love, rough summers, and the power of classic rock —
by Lisa Selin Davis introduces readers to 16-year-old Carrie, a young science nerd reeling from the death of her older sister, Ginny, who immerses herself in the world of Ginny’s school-skipping, music-obsessed friends. But when Carrie’s father tires of his teen’s wayward coping skills, he enrolls her in a summer work program with the nearby state park. There, Carrie connects deeply to nature, and to a boy named Dean as well. Lost Stars Click here to buy. 'I’m the One Who Got Away' by Andrea Jarrell Modern Love column: A Measure Of Desire
Inspired by a Modern Love column about her husband’s newfound sobriety and the effects of that sobriety on their sex life, Andrea Jarrell’s memoir,
, (out on September 5) dives into much deeper and unexpected territory. After a childhood spent on the run with her mother, from a physically violent and improbably T.V.-famous father, Jarrell reconnects with the man whose absence marked her childhood — discovering that many of her own life choices were inspired by Jarrell’s desire to prevent a repeat of her mother’s life in her own. I’m The One Who Got Away Click here to buy. 'My Foreign Cities' by Elizabeth Scarboro Modern Love column: Giving Myself Consent To Let Go
This memoir began with a Modern Love column about Elizabeth Scarboro’s decision to let go of her ex-husband’s Stephen’s sperm, frozen before his death of cystic fibrosis when he was barely 30-years-old.
takes readers deeper into their touching, exhilarating, and heart-breaking journey — the love and sense of adventure that Scarboro and Stephen shared from the time they met as teens through their brief marriage, with his inevitable death always on the horizon. My Foreign Cities Click here to buy. 'What Shamu Taught Me About Life, Love, and Marriage: Lessons for People from Animals and Their Trainers' by Amy Sutherland 'Confessions of a Latter-day Virgin: A Memoir' by Nicole Hardy Modern Love column: Single, Female, Mormon, Alone
Inspired by a Modern Love that had readers buzzing and sharing — about going to Planned Parenthood, while still a virgin at 35 — Nicole Hardy’s memoir,
tells the story of Hardy’s experience as a single woman in the Mormon church and in the larger world: her desire not to parent isolating her from marriage in the church, and her late-life virginity making it difficult for her to connect with men outside the church community. So she salsa dances, travels across the country, scuba dives in the Grand Cayman, and begins to find the middle ground between her personal desires and her connection to her faith. Confessions of a Latter-Day Virgin Click here to buy. 'The Natural Laws of Good Luck: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage' by Ellen Graf Modern Love column: Our Joy Knows No Bounds, Or Lanes
Divorced at 46 and having terrible luck with mid-life love, Ellen Graf takes a crazy leap of faith — traveling to China to meet the equally-lonely brother of a friend, a man with whom she has never communicated or even seen a picture of, and who speaks almost no English. Then, even more improbably, after just weeks they agree to marry. Inspired by the Modern Love column about their crazy courtship,
is a hilarious and unbelievably sweet story about a cross-cultural marriage that succeeds despite the unlikeliest of odds. The Natural Laws of Good Luck: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage Click here to buy. 'The Slippery Year' by Melanie Gideon Modern Love column: A Diesel Engine Woke Up Our Marriage
Inspired by the Modern Love column about an old camper and rediscovering adventure mid-marriage,
Melanie Gideon’s explores the hilarious, heartwarming, and sometimes inevitably snooze-worthy ups and downs of a life lived alongside someone else. Navigating marriage and motherhood, Gideon embarks on a journey to bring a little zest back into her otherwise routine life in a way that is totally relatable. The Slippery Year Click here to buy. 'Moonface' by Angela Balcita Modern Love column: Beneath the Modest Alter Ego, I See My Superhero
Romance and kidney failure don’t exactly go hand in hand — but try telling that to Angela Balcita, author of the memoir
Moonface: A True Romance. Inspired by the column that begins with Balcita’s kidney disease during her freshman year of college, takes readers though her dialysis treatment and kidney transplant, and then dives directly into her romance with a man unafraid of her illness, picks up where Modern Love left off, following Balcita’s 15-plus year illness and kidney donation from her romantic and pragmatic partner, Charlie. Moonface Click here to buy. 'How to Sleep Alone in a King-Size Bed' by Theo Pauline Nestor Modern Love column: The Chicken’s in the Oven, My Husband’s Out the Door is Nestor’s Modern Love-inspired memoir about life in the wake of divorce. After separating with her husband following one too many gambling mishaps, Nestor finds her life slipping beyond her grasp. With two young daughters to care for, she begins to slowly rebuild that life: her career, her bank account, and eventually her belief in romantic love. Diving into her family’s long legacy of divorce, Nestor discovers the answers to family mysteries she’d not explored before, and begins to understand her own place in the complicated, tumultuous landscape of divorce. How to Sleep Alone in a King-Sized Bed Click here to buy. 'Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give' by Ada Calhoun Modern Love column: The Wedding Toast I'll Never Give
Inspired by the viral
New York Times column of a similar name, Ada Calhoun’s is a memoir of marriage — the ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and failures, exhilaration and boredom, expenses, frustrations, hopes and disappointments and everything in between. Reminding readers that the fairy tale is an illusion and great romance comes with lots of hard work and a whole lot of patience, Calhoun tells stories of her own marriage with wit, honesty, and lots of relatability. Wedding Toasts I’ll Never Give Click here to buy. 'How to Fall in Love With Anyone' by Mandy Len Catron Modern Love column: To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This
After writing a Modern Love column about her own relationship — one that began over the recreated experiment of psychologist Arthur Aron, who succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory — Mandy Len Catron’s
is an essay collection about the myriad ways people fall in love and stay in love. Pulling on biological, psychological, sociological, and historical research, Catron’s collection looks at the myths and truths — and the true myths — of romance. How to Fall in Love With Anyone Click here to buy. 'My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward' by Mark Lukach Modern Love column: Out of the Darkness
Inspired by the Modern Love column about his young wife’s yearlong mental illness, Mark Lukach’s
is the deeply passionate account of the couple’s journey through Giulia’s psychotic break and recovery — a journey that would be repeated twice more throughout their marriage, once after the birth of their son, and then again, a few years later. Through it all Lukach explores the fragility of the human mind alongside the resilience of true love and partnership. My Lovely Wife in the Psych Ward Click here to buy. 'The Bright Hour: A Memoir of Living and Dying' By Nina Riggs Modern Love column: When a Couch Is More Than a Couch
Written throughout the last months of her life,
is Nina Riggs memoir, inspired by a Modern Love column about purchasing her family a couch in the wake of her terminal cancer diagnosis. Riggs was just 37-years-old when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Within a year the cancer had spread to her bones, and Riggs and her family — a husband and two young sons — learned that it was terminal. Thus begins a journey through motherhood and marriage, love and friendship, as Riggs chronicles the small, everyday beauty found in the life that she has lived, and the time she has left on earth. The Bright Hour Click here to buy.