Beyond “50 Shades”: Better Books for Love

I’m throwing a little shade on “50 Shades.”

Listen, I don’t want to rain on anyone’s sex-fueled parade as gaggles of ladies and their partners head out to see the much-heralded movie version of E.L. James’ runaway erotica read. But honestly, there’s just so much better out there when it comes to love stories. Looking to fall in love with a book that won’t leave you blushing when your Grammy sees it on the coffee table? Try:


J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst

Looking for a reason to snuggle up under the covers with your lover? This book is a passion project for Abrams and Dorst, as they pay homage to the written word with a love story within the pages of a book. Take turns reading the footnotes to each other and feel Eric and Jen’s story come to life.


better-books-for-love-To-Be-Sung-UnderwaterTo Be Sung Underwater
Tom McNeal

I’ve mentioned this read before, and to this day it remains probably my favorite contemporary romance. The story of Judith and Willy is one for anyone who felt that first rush of honest-to-goodness love as a teen.



better-books-for-love-Eleanor-and-ParkEleanor & Park
Rainbow Rowell

The much-beloved YA love story is a fan favorite for so many reasons, but mostly because it reminds us all what it is like to really be in love.




better-books-for-love-The-Complete-Poems-of-John-KeatsThe Complete Poems of John Keats
John Keats

“Love is my religion—I could die for that.” Oh, John. Here’s the book to take to bed and take turns reading aloud. Poetry is HOT.




better-books-for-love-Sense-and-SensibilitySense and Sensibility
Jane Austen

All right, so this may not make the perfect book to share—but the love is profound and the movie will make you ugly cry.




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