Fifty Shades of Grey
E L James
All a woman needs is a good book and her imagination. When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man both brilliant and intimidating. The unworldly Ana is startled to realize she wants this man, and—despite his enigmatic reserve—finds herself desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms. When the couple embarks on a passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian’s secrets and explores her own desires. (Maybe now’s a good time to think about yours?)
This book is an edge-of-your-seat take on just how toxic and destructive a marriage can be. When Nick’s wife, Amy, disappears on their fifth wedding anniversary, he becomes suspect No. 1—and his elusive, sometimes inappropriate behavior doesn’t help his case. Neither does Amy’s diary, which reveals that the pair’s love story may not have been all it appeared to be. Lose yourself in the thrills, and count your lucky stars you’re not in this relationship.
Sometimes we need a reminder of how fulfilled and strong we can be, all on our own. For young Cheryl Strayed—reeling from the destruction of her marriage and her mother’s death—that reminder came through hiking more than a thousand miles on the Pacific Crest Trail. All alone and with no training to to draw from, Strayed rediscovered her own strength and tenacity, and navigated her grief across some of the toughest, most beautiful terrain imaginable.
Oh, the Places You'll Go!
The last time you read this book might’ve been your high school graduation, but we recommend revisiting the classic. Seuss’s wisdom is perfect for all new phases of life, including this one. What better way to describe a breakup than “being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch”? Seuss will encourage you to reach for success, accept the highs and lows of life, and have fun along the way.
Good friends are often the cure for what ails you, and revisiting the BFFs from Ann Brashare’s Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series may be just what you need. It’s been ten years since we last saw Tibby, Lena, Carmen, and Bridget, and the young women are leading successful but restless lives. They miss their closeness, so they all show up when Tibby reaches out for a reunion—but it’s not the girls weekend they were expecting.
A Year by the Sea
Inspiring without being cloying, Joan Anderson’s memoir of her year of self-discovery recounts the extraordinary changes in the author’s life. After an entire era as a dutiful wife and mother, she decided against following her husband out of state for a new job and set up her own home in Cape Cod. The steps that Joan took to revitalize herself and rediscover her potential have helped thousands of readers uncover and release untapped resources within themselves.
After years of loneliness and hardship in the home of her heartless aunt and an impossibly strict boarding school, Jane Eyre’s finally grasped an ounce of power and freedom through her post as governess at Thornfield Hall. She also finds love with her employer, Rochester. But when she discovers his terrible secret, she must decide whether to stay or go. If you skipped this Brontë classic, now’s the time to find out what you’re missing.
The Devil Wears Prada
Why not transfer all your post-break-up angst into a fictional boss who’s fun to hate? The trials of Andrea Sachs—small-town college grad just hired as the infamous Miranda Priestly’s assistant—are enough to keep any reader riveted and riled up, either cheering Andrea on to success at Runway magazine, or urging her to get out while she can. At its heart, The Devil Wears Prada is the story of a young woman learning to trust herself, a valuable lesson at any life stage.
From another Brontë sister comes Wuthering Heights, a thrilling—and disturbing—tale of passion, betrayal, and vengeance that spans generations. At its center is the love been Heathcliff and his wealthy benefactor’s daughter Catherine, a connection that spins out of control. For a classic, its genre-bending elements are totally fresh, breathing notes of ghost story, poetic allegory, and gothic novel into a tale as old as time.
The Paris Wife
Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, was swept off her feet by the aspiring writer, and the two set off for Paris not long after their whirlwind courtship and marriage. But serving as wife and muse to an ambitious and thrill-seeking novelist is no easy feat, and when Hemingway’s eyes start to follow another woman, their marriage hits its biggest crisis yet. Paula McLain’s painted a fascinating and complex portrait of the literary couple, tinged with both despair and hope, and set in one of our most glamorous eras.
Bridget Jones's Diary
Bridget Jones is the perfect companion after a breakup. She’s a total wreck, but irreverent and hilarious, poking fun at the Smug Marrieds and lamenting dying alone and left for dog food. There’s a love triangle, of course, along with a kooky cast of friends and an overbearing mother, all following along for the ride of Bridget’s life into responsible (albeit messy) adulthood. Good luck not cackling through this one.
Ice cream helps. So does pulling the blinds and having a Dance-It-Out-Party-of-One in your living room. Rom-coms can help, but sometimes they make it worse. Time with friends is always good. But sometimes the best cure for a broken heart is a good book. You could go with the classics: a book that will exercise your brain and remind you how smart you are. Or self-care: a book that will give you practical information to heal yourself and move on. Or maybe humor: a book that will lift your spirits and make you laugh. Either way, reading is the ultimate way to treat yourself, so check out our recommended books to read after a breakup.
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