dating is hard, and online dating is certainly no exception. If you've ever spent more than a few evenings swiping through Bumble or have talked a friend through a sticky conversation with a suitor on Coffee Meets Bagel, you know that the whole process can be just as disappointing, nerve-wracking and awkward as trying to pick someone up at a bar. If the year's halfway point, or just plain old frustration, have prompted you to give up your quest to meet The One and you're about to delete all your dating apps (at least for the time being), it might be the perfect time to live vicariously through other people's dating trials and tribulations. And luckily, books have got you more than covered.
The 10 books below range from nonfiction and memoirs to novels, but all of them delve into some aspect of the difficulties of the dating life, finding yourself while looking for someone else, and balancing all the other weird and wonderful parts of your life at the same time. Whether these encourage you to give swiping another try or have you feeling even better about your decision to take a step back, you'll definitely find yourself nodding your head in recognition with each turn of the page.
'Places I Stopped On The Way Home' by Meg Fee
The essays in Meg Fee's memoir each take their title from the part of the city where they occurred, and map the decade she spent coming of age in Manhattan, and the men who, for better or worse, helped define who she is and what she wants. It's a moving and unflinching take that weaves together her joys and sorrows, expectations and uncertainties, for a collection about love, friendship, and above all, hope.
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'Playing With Matches' by Hannah Orenstein
Playing With Matches is Orenstein's fictionalized account of the matchmaking industry in New York City. It follows recent college grad Sasha as she falls into her strange new career, while grappling with some serious romantic, personal, and professional drama. Disclosure: Hannah Orenstein is an editor at Bustle Digital Group. Click here to buy.
'Save The Date: The Occasional Mortificatons Of A Serial Wedding Guest' by Jen Doll
Weddings are not only a joyful occasion — they offer endless opportunities to reexamine love and what we want for ourselves. In
Save The Date, Jen Doll charts the course of her own perennial wedding guest-hood, while turning a keen eye to a varied assortment of wedding experiences, and delivering a heartfelt exploration of contemporary relationships. Click here to buy.
'The Kiss Quotient' by Helen Hoang
The Kiss Quotient follows 30-year-old Stella Lane, a math whiz with Asperger's who has zero romantic experience. She decides she needs lots of practice — with a professional — which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic. Click here to buy.
'Would You Rather? A Memoir Of Growing Up And Coming Out' by Katie Heaney
When Katie Heaney published her first book of essays,
Never Have I Ever, chronicling her singledom up to age 25, she was still waiting to meet the right guy. Three years later, a lot changed. For one thing, she met the right girl. In this book, Katie opens up about realizing that she is gay. Click here to buy.
'From The Corner Of The Oval' by Beck Dorey-Stein
While Dorey-Stein's memoir chronicles her experience as a White House stenographer under President Obama, it also takes an honest and unflinching look at her romantic life throughout her eight years there. It's exactly what you need to read on your dating hiatus, especially if you're using that extra time to get ahead at work.
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'Ten Girls To Watch' by Charity Shumway
Ten Girls To Watch follows recent college grad (and recently single) Dawn as she navigates heartbreak and career discouragement. When she lands a temp job helping to track down the past winner's of Charm magazine's "Ten Girls To Watch" contest, she discovers that success, love and friendship can be found in the most unlikely places. If you're looking for the girl power ending to a year of disastrous dating, this is the book for you. Click here to buy.
'Unwifeable' by Mandy Stadtmiller
Mandy Stadtmiller came to Manhattan in 2005 at 30 years old, newly divorced with a job at the
New York Post and ready to conquer the city. Like a “real-life Carrie Bradshaw” she chronicled her dating life for the next decade. But underneath the glamour, there are too many failed hookups and nights she can't remember. Soon she realizes that falling in love won't fix her — she needs to fix herself first. Click here to buy.
'Heartburn' by Nora Ephron
If you're at the "romance is trash" stage of your dating app journey, Nora Ephron's
Heartburn is a must-read. The novel, loosely based on Ephron's own divorce from Carl Bernstein, follows a seven months pregnant Rachel Samstat after she discovers that her husband is in love with another woman. In between trying to win him back and wishing him dead, Rachel loses — and then finds — herself in her favorite recipes. Click here to buy.
'All The Single Ladies: Unmarried Women And The Rise Of An Independent Nation' by Rebecca Traister
And if you truly are done with dating for a while, no book could be more self-affirming than Rebecca Traister's
All The Single Ladies. Today, only 20 percent of Americans are wed by age 29, compared to nearly 60 percent in 1960. The book traces the history of unmarried and late-married women in America who, through social, political, and economic means, have radically shaped our nation. Click here to buy.