16 Books About Love Everyone Should Read

Love is simultaneously one of the most important emotions people can have and one of the most misunderstood ones. What’s more – it’s also subjective. 

How many countless situations have there been where two people are together and experience the exact same feelings for each other, however, one dubs these feelings “love” and the other isn’t ready to use that word. How many of these relationships have ended then and there because of simple semantics?  

Situations such as these show that, even though we all think we know what love is, we actually desperately need to try and understand it better. With that goal in mind, here are 16 fiction and non-fiction books about the love we think everyone should read. 

8 Non-Fictional Books About Love 

Many of us are hesitant to “study” love as if it’s a school subject. Needless to say, however, getting rid of these restraints and burying your nose between the pages is one of the best things you can do for your future love life. 

the art of loving book

1. The Art of Loving by Erich Fromm  

Bottom Line:  

The Art of Loving has only been around since 2006 but its less than 200 pages of insight have already helped millions of people learn how to love fully and completely, way above the surface-level feelings most of us see as “love”. 

Quick Review:  

As an experienced and world-renowned social philosopher and psychoanalyst, Fromm manages to fill every page of his short but best-selling book with invaluable wisdom. He talks about the profound difference between “true love” – one that’s built on maturity, self-reflection, and commitment. He presents love as an art, as something that needs to be understood, practiced, mastered, and that always requires our full attention if it’s to be done right. 

essays in love book

2. Essays in Love by Alain de Botton 

Bottom Line:  

De Botton’s Essays in Love is one of the best books for everyone who’s feeling confused about their love life and relationship experience. 

Quick Review:  

In this ingenious collection of essays, de Botton goes through the various stages of a relationship in a systematic and comprehensive style. He goes from the very first moments of affection to the confusion, anxiety, and heartache at the end of each relationship. This step-by-step breakdown of people’s relationships can seem simple but Alain de Botton’s approach is surprisingly illuminating and insightful. 

men are from mars book

3. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray 

Bottom Line:

The title Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex can seem overly simplistic but behind that metaphor, Gray has crammed a lot of ingenious tips and tricks for understanding the opposite sex. 

Quick Review:

Gray’s metaphor may seem crude at first glance and can even appear as something that flies in the faces of gender abolitionists but it’s actually quite straightforward. There are differences between gender roles – whatever we wish to ascribe them to – and understanding these differences is essential for avoiding and fixing many of the common pitfalls in relationships that countless people struggle with. 

on love book

4. On Love by Stendhal 

Bottom Line:

Stendhal famously considers On Love to be the best book he’s ever written. Yet, for a lot of his fans and critics, that’s quite controversial. There is no denying that On Love is a must-read, however – for its wit, insight, as well as out of sheer curiosity.  

Quick Review:

Stendhal’s book on love is a book that requires patience to grasp fully which is likely why so many members of the modern audience have trouble with it. If you have the patience and drive to truly look into Stendhal’s words, however, you can find lots of easily-unraveled mysteries and clear answers to the questions about the love we all have. 

the mathematics of love book

5. The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proof, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation by Hannah Fry 

Bottom Line:

Mathematics and love don’t mesh well for most people but Fry’s The Mathematics of Love: Patterns, Proof, and the Search for the Ultimate Equation actually offers a very insightful and unique look at the question of what love is. 

Quick Review:

As every math teacher always says – everything can be seen in mathematical terms. Hannah Fry, a mathematician herself, certainly takes this idiom to heart and dissects everything love-related through the prism of mathematical equations and patterns – from sex and dating sites to marriage, love, and divorce

the five love languages book

6. The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts by Gary Chapman  

Bottom Line:

The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts is the type of book we’d recommend for every couple with communication issues plaguing their relationship.  

Quick Review:

One of the biggest bestsellers in the love and relationship side of literature, Chapman’s book on love languages is a must-read for anyone who wants to keep their long-term relationship going strong. It’s not controversial to say that communication is one of the secret ingredients to a happy love life and Chapman hits the nail on the head with this masterpiece. 

all about love book

7. All About Love: New Visions by Bell Hooks 

Bottom Line:

Bell Hooks’ All About Love: New Visions is a provocative, insightful, and revolutionary take on how we see and understand love. 

Quick Review:

As a renowned scholar, philosopher, and feminist, it’s no surprise that Bell Hooks has some ideas about love that not many before her have considered. According to Hooks, our society has failed to provide people with an adequate and consistent understanding of what love is. So, she proposes that agreeing on such a cultural paradigm about love can be immensely helpful for people who currently try to build their love lives and relationships on a more of a “trial and error” method than anything else.  

hold me tight book

8. Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Sue Johnson 

Bottom Line:

In Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love, Sue Johnson offers an entirely new model for couples therapy that has changed the love lives of millions of people. 

Quick Review:

This New Your Times best-seller introduces the Emotionally Focused Therapy model which views relationships and love as a type of attachment bond. This can seem simple on the face of it but Johnson takes a very scientific and psychological approach to relationships and spends a lot of time in her book teaching her readers how to recognize “the demon dialogue” and how to approach and revisit the rockier moments of their relationships.  

8 Novels About Love 

If non-fiction really isn’t your thing and you prefer to get your insight from fiction – or if you’re just looking for some heartwrenching love stories to delve into – below we’ve also listed some of the best love novels humanity has ever produced. 

le grand meaulnes book

1. Le Grand Meaulnes by Alain-Fournier 

Bottom Line:

Le Grand Meaulnes or ‘The Lost Domain’ in English is lauded as one of the best French novels of the 20th century because of its fascinating exploration of what love is for young men. 

Quick Review:

The only novel of the young Alain-Fournier who was unfortunate enough to die in 1914 at the early age of 27, Le Grand Meaulnes looks into that fragile period between boyhood and manhood, and into what love looks like at that age. Also, if you’re looking to read Alain-Fournier’s novel in English, we’d recommend the version translated by Frank Dalby Davison. 

anna karenina book

2. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy 

Bottom Line:

Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina is one of those books that don’t need an introduction as it’s one of the world’s greatest novels and possibly the greatest tragic love story ever put to paper. 

Quick Review:

A tale of love, passion, betrayal, and loss, all set in 19th-century Russia, Anna Karenina may scare some western readers who “don’t feel ready” for Russian literature but it’s a novel every fan of romance literature should read.  

the portrait of a lady book

3. The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James 

Bottom Line:

The Portrait of a Lady is one of Henry James’ most acclaimed novels and it explores the tragedy of loving the wrong person as well as the painful disconnect between money and happiness

Quick Review:

In The Portrait of a Lady, James tells the story of Isabel Archer, a young American lady brought to Europe where she tries to find love. The book is ultimately a tragedy, however, as it explores the Archer’s wrong choice and the many ways in which it affects her life going forward. 

jane eyre book

4. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 

Bottom Line:

An all-time classic, Bronte’s Jane Eyre is often said to have revolutionized prose fiction with its use of a first-person narrative but what really helped it beat the test of time is its phenomenal lead character and the tension-filled story. 

Quick Review:

Set in the middle of the 19th century, Jane Eyre follows the titular character as she goes through the pains of early adulthood. A psychologically intense love story, a mystery, and a poignant social commentary on class, feminism, sexuality, and religion, Jane Eyre likely always will be a must-read. 

the time travelers wife book

5. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger 

Bottom Line:

A newer but incredibly popular entry to our list, The Time Traveler’s Wife is a masterful exploration of the importance of love and dedication even the in the face of seemingly unmanageable situations.  

Quick Review:

The book asks the “What if” scenario of a time traveler who can’t control his powers but falls in love and tries to maintain a marriage anyway. In that way, Niffenegger looks at just how far love and dedication can get a married couple even in the most impossible and absurd situation. 

call me by your name book

6. Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman 

Bottom Line:

Call Me By Your Name by Andre Aciman became famous across the globe for its intense and intimate look at queer love and the fascination, fear, and passion that accompany it. 

Quick Review:

Aciman’s world-renowned work was quickly adapted on the big screen and for good reasons – such an extraordinarily good presentation of the uniqueness and intensity of queer love is still so rare that Call Me By Your Name easily stands out above its peers and is a must-read for modern audiences. 

the thorn birds book

7. The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough 

Bottom Line:

Colleen McCullough’s The Thorn Birds presents the large Clearys family – an ensemble of fascinating characters, all with their unique love aches and experiences.  

Quick Review:

Set in early 20th century Australia, The Thorn Birds is a classic family drama that effortlessly shifts its focus between the many members of the Clearys family, their dreams, problems, loves, and pains. In that way, The Thorn Birds is an incredibly thorough and enjoyable exploration of love, relationships, and marriage from all possible angles. 

pride and prejudice book

8. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen 

Bottom Line:

Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of the most famous books on this list and is an absolute delight to read and reread because of its cheerful and witty yet insightful view of love. 

Quick Review:

Few novels show us this side of early 19th-century England as well as Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. The center of the story is the playful romance between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy, and it is presented as delightfully and enthrallingly as possible. Behind the wittiness of their banter is lots of substance too, however, making this the quintessential romance novel for many generations. 

Wrapping Up 

Are we saying that you’ll become a love guru after going through this list? No, we can’t promise that. If you’ve been feeling a little confused about this whole topic as of late, however, there certainly are lots of answers and wisdom hidden in those 16 gems above. Happy reading! 

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Yordan Zhelyazkov

Yordan Zhelyazkov

Yordan Zhelyazkov is a published fantasy author and an experienced copywriter. While he has degrees in both Creative Writing and Marketing, much of his research and work are focused on history and mythology. He’s been working in the field for years and has amassed a great deal of knowledge on Norse, Greek, Egyptian, Mesoamerican, Japanese mythology, and others.