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Love Rules / Love Stinks

 
Love sure is complicated--and nothing captures that truth more than books. Here are some of Bookshop Santa Cruz staff's favorite books about the agony and ecstacy of love.
 
 
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Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307949332
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 10th, 2012

Love is tricky. It can be daunting, painful, and overwhelming. For these times, there is Sugar (aka Cheryl Strayed), an advice columnist like no other. Drawn from her own experiences, Sugar’s responses are full (both in length and content), bluntly honest, and utterly heartfelt. This is a not a book to devour in one sitting, but one to savor, a few letters at a time, whenever you need it most. I really, really love it. —Flannery


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The Buried Giant (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780307455796
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 5th, 2016

Do we stay with those we love because of the memories? Or something deeper? Do we hate from the memory of wrong? Or from something deeper? Kazuo Ishiguro has woven together a world that is part fairy tale, part Arthurian legend, and placed within it one of the best love stories I have ever read – while also telling a much deeper and more complex story, both timely and timeless. This book broke my heart in all the best ways. - Jocelyn


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Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780393334791
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 6th, 2009

Snicker if you must, but admit it: Sex is important! To paraphrase David Brooks, women need love to have the best sex, and men need sex to fully experience love—so, yup, it's all tied together in one big messy bundle, and in his ever-entertaining way, de Botton wants to tell us why, how, what we can do to have more of both, and how to feel better about all of it. Yippee! —L.L.C.


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Spinster: Making a Life of One's Own Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780385347150
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Crown - April 19th, 2016

As a perpetual singleton, I often feel like I should be in a relationship, though I don't particularly want to be. I value my independence and solitude, and fear losing my identity to another person. This book confirmed that I am not alone in this, and made me really consider how much my desire for a relationship is my own and how much is dictated by where society thinks I should be at 27. Blending her own life story with the history of spinsterdom and the story of five women who influenced her "spinster wish", Bolick has written a book that touches the heart of many women chafing at the pressure to marry and settle down. After reading this, I feel empowered to pursue my own spinster wish and not to succumb to what everyone else thinks I should do unless I damn well want to. - Flannery


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The Little Paris Bookshop: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780553418798
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - March 22nd, 2016

The title is a bit of a misnomer – for the bulk of this story is a one-of-a-kind roadtrip on the Seine, as a quiet, mildly cantankerous bookshopowner searches for his past, in company of a brilliant young writer worried that he has no future. Evocative of the French countryside, love young and old, and the passion of books and written words, this is a beautiful tale to escape into for a time away. - Jocelyn


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Love Warrior: A Memoir Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781250075727
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - September 6th, 2016

When her marriage falls apart, Melton (a blogger by trade) does the only thing she can: She writes every brutal truth with surgical precision for the world to see. Glennon speaks secrets about being a person that you feel never should be voiced, but in a way that compels you to look at your own shortcomings and come to terms with them. This book tore me to pieces but left me with a pleasant ache of hope.  —Ivy


Love & Misadventure (Lang Leav #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781449456146
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - September 17th, 2013

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Outlander: A Novel Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780440212560
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dell - June 2nd, 1992

It’s easy to get swept up by Gabaldon’s Outlander. I mean, Scottish highlands, bandits, rebellion, Nessie, time travel, steamy sex, kilts, and sword fights… how could I not like it? But this book is more than just sensational plot devices—Claire and Jamie’s story is a beautifully crafted romance played out on a meticulously researched historical stage. A book that defies genre classification, it’s my go-to for restoring my faith in the power of love. —Kimberly


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The Odyssey: (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) Cover Image
By Homer, Robert Fagles (Translated by), Bernard Knox (Introduction by), Bernard Knox (Notes by)
$19.00
ISBN: 9780140268867
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Classics - November 1st, 1997

One thing is certain: love is epic. Sometimes love means traveling for ten years across stormy seas, facing furious gods, ravenous cyclopses, and terrible, magic-wielding witches. On Odysseus' journey to return to his lady-love in the aftermath of the Trojan War, he faces all this and more! If you view love as an adventure, The Odyssey is the book for you. —Katie


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Seeing as Your Shoes Are Soon to Be on Fire: Essays Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781593766498
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soft Skull Press - October 11th, 2016

My hope is renewed - that being single as I approach 30 is fine, fulfilling, and probably for the best. Reading Liza Monroy's hilarious new collection of biographical essays about her (many) foiled and fraught romance endeavors - from cringe-worthy to downright dangerous - is both a pleasure and a relief. Inspired by her controlling yet caring mother (a State Department immigration profiler), Monroy takes a retrospective look at modern love, reaffirming that I'd rather be alone than in a not-quite-right relationship. - Julia


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Shakespeare's Sonnets & Poems (Folger Shakespeare Library) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780743273282
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 1st, 2006

Get old school with your honey! These love sonnets are the perfect way to include literary flair in your Valentine's Day celebrations. If you really want to spice it up, create a Shakespeare-themed dinner complete with dates and quinces, oil lamps, and Elizabethan music. I then urge you to jump onto your dinning table and recite these timeless declarations with fervor and exuberance. Remember, there is no such thing as cheesy. —Louise


The One Hundred Nights of Hero: A Graphic Novel Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780316259170
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - December 6th, 2016

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Modern Romance Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143109259
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Books - June 14th, 2016

I love Aziz Ansari, and love that his first book isn’t exactly what you’d expect from a comedian. This isn’t a celebrity memoir—it’s better: an incisive look at modern romance, written with a sociologist following a year-long sociological study. It’s pretty brilliant: informative, smart, and really, really funny. This is an Aziz-infused guide to dating, and as a confused single person, I’m thrilled with this practical, totally entertaining book. Thanks, Aziz! - Flannery


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Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals Tp #1) Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781607069461
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Image Comics - April 29th, 2014

Not what you’re thinking. I mean, yes—there’s sex. But really, what else
would you do if you could stop time every time you orgasm, besides
robbing banks? Especially with a library at stake? Not to mention
(hopefully) true love? This book is as ridiculously fun as it sounds—but
also heartbreakingly true about sex, love, and growing up alone, until you
miraculously find that someone who actually understands. - Jocelyn


Milk and Honey Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781449474256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Andrews McMeel Publishing - October 6th, 2015

A runaway, naturally-born best seller of the past year, Rupi Kaur uses brief, powerful poetry and spare illustrations to viscerally capture the complications of love as it defines you - love from a parent, the oft-times dangerous love of a lover, and the most difficult love of self.


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Come as You Are: The Surprising New Science that Will Transform Your Sex Life Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781476762098
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 3rd, 2015

Too few sources of sex advice put you, yourself, first. Even fewer do so without the assumption of some sort of generic "normal." Emily Nagoski starts with the idea that we are all different in our sexuality - who, how, how often, what we are attracted to - AND we are ALL normal. Do yourself a favor: take this book home with you and feel better in every way. - Jocelyn


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Marrow: A Love Story Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062367631
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Harper Wave - September 20th, 2016

Elizabeth Lesser introduces Marrow as a love story, not a memoir of grief. When her sister Maggie requires a bone marrow transplant and Lesser is a perfect match, the sisters wholeheartedly, messily push into the emotional and spiritual core of their relationship. With staggering tenderness and humor, Marrow brings us the last years of Maggie’s life and shows how a sisterhood as imperfectly complex as any other is made transcendent by two people’s commitment to ultimate vulnerability and authenticity. Reader advisory: Do not read in public with mascara on.  —Julia


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The History of Love: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393328622
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 17th, 2006

This novel combines a fervent belief in the importance of all types of love with a heart-rending tale of separation and longing.  It is impossible to keep Nicole Krauss' all-too-human characters at arm's length: we see their vulnerabilities as our own, and hope desperately for them to become whole. While Krauss' novel is about love, yearning, loss, survival, growing up, loving books, family, and isolation, it is--incredibly--about so much more. The History of Love will keep you up all night just to stay in the company of its characters, and at its conclusion you will ache to start again from the beginning. - Kate


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Shiver (Shiver, Book 1) Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780545682787
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 29th, 2014

This is your typical love story—girl meets wolf, wolf becomes boy, boy and girl fall in love, boy becomes wolf. Ok, maybe not typical, and you may think you’ve read this one before, but with Stiefvater’s lovely, simple storytelling, what could have been a clichéd werewolf novel is transformed into a tender, thoughtful love story with unique werewolf mythology and two strong, sympathetic characters. This is a great first book in a stellar trilogy. —Flannery


I don't know whether to be relieved that my experience of being female is normal or depressed about how much, um, annoyance is inevitable. Julie Holland unveils the hormonal chemistry behind our feelings and discusses many strategies for living well with our changes. She backs up her information and advice with over forty pages of notes and references. Best of all, she addresses sometimes uncomfortable material with a matter-of-fact writing style that I found very helpful. - Cat


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Keturah and Lord Death Cover Image
$9.95
ISBN: 9781590789490
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Boyds Mills Press - October 1st, 2012

Keturah is lost in the woods the day Lord Death claims her as his bride. She spins a tale and Death spares her for the night so he might hear the story’s end the next. So begins this beautifully written tale of a girl trying to find her true love—to save herself and her village. Keturah is a bright, resourceful heroine, devoted to her home and family, and this is a wonderfully sweet story. —Flannery