A 'Bad At Valentine’s Day' Recommended Reading List

Posted by Cybil on February 5, 2019
New Yorker and Onion writer Blythe Roberson's new book How to Date Men When You Hate Men is a comedic philosophy book about what it means to date men within the trappings of modern society. We thought, who better to suggest some Valentine's Day reading? So here are her 'love-themed' book recommendations to get you through February.


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I love Valentine's Day in the same way I love astrology: It's a thing we all know is actually wrong and bad, but, after admitting that to ourselves, we can then totally unironically enjoy. (Surely there are three to seven happy couples out there who have no qualms about the holiday, but like people who watched Two And A Half Men, I do not know them and do not wish to know them.)

In what would otherwise be the objectively worst month of the year, when it's cold and dark and my hair seems to never fully dry, Valentine's Day gives us a chance to celebrate love, and the colors pink and purple, and the shapes "heart" and "doily." It's a holiday created by greeting card companies, which makes me love it even more, because it inspires people to complain about capitalism and I get to be like: "[raises fist] welcome to the struggle, comrade." None of us are fully onboard with it—we're single, or ambiguously coupled, or just stressed because Trump is president—so we can just enjoy being bad at it.

And what better way to appreciate the CONCEPT of Valentine's Day, without actually going full "candlelit dinner with my hot husband," than reading a love-themed book? Here are some suggestions!



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"If there is a better flirt than sitting a man down on a bed and reading him two full pages of your emotional and sexual cosmic compatibility, I have not yet found it. You may think that astrology books are not a good investment, since you will only read the sections pertaining to your sign, but I assure you that male friends text me 'Cancer + Aries. Go.' at all hours of the night."


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"Dr. Fisher is a biological anthropologist, and I learned so many scientific facts about love from reading this book—but even better was learning scientific proof behind things I already EMOTIONALLY knew to be true. Like: Women actually usually make the first move (through eye contact, touches, and asking questions). Love isn't eternal (the worldwide divorce rate peaks around 3-7 years). Millennials are taking longer to settle down with a partner than previous generations have. There's nothing I love more than citing a study, and after reading this book, I do constantly."


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"Every single white male author who has ever lived had a wife or girlfriend who was ten thousand times smarter and cooler than he was. This book is beautiful and made me very furious."


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"Elif Batuman is one of our GOATS; she can write about seemingly anything for the New Yorker and make it so clear and fascinating and genius. It makes me so happy that she chose to use her brilliance on writing a long novel about love, a topic I think we all need to be taking at least 40 percent more seriously. The Idiot is one of the funniest books I have read, and made me realize: Ah, yes, I, too, am an Idiot."


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"Now that Tumblr has banned porn, this is the only remaining feminist way to get hornt."

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"Some may say that this is a memoir by Carly Simon, but I say it is a motivational book about the pleasures and methods of sleeping with every single hot man in the entertainment industry. Carly was a brilliant and hard-working artist who banged some of the most brilliant artists of her time; as a woman and as a writer, I find this incredibly inspiring. I eagerly anticipate the day my exes are all much older and much more internationally respected, and *I* get to write a memoir that will shock young women with my incredibly good taste in (creative) men."

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"A philosophical book about words and phrases associated with love ('jealousy,' 'engulfment,' 'waiting'), A Lover's Discourse made me feel incredibly seen and would have totally changed my love life IF I were capable of personal growth. After reading this, check out the loose film adaptation Let The Sunshine In starring Juliette Binoche and book adaptation How to Date Men When You Hate Men by Blythe Roberson."

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"This incredible book is at once like twelve different genres, ONE of which is a dating-in-NYC story. I can't stop thinking about this one line from a sex scene: 'I can honestly say that it was my favorite body, his dick an ugly sea cucumber, veiny and brown and wretched.' Recently I texted a screenshot of this line to a new crush and for this, I deserve a National Book Award."



Blythe Roberson's How to Date Men When You Hate Men is available now. Don't forget to add it to your Want to Read shelf. Be sure to also read more of our exclusive author interviews and get more great book recommendations.


Comments Showing 1-43 of 43 (43 new)

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message 1: by Frank (new)

Frank Every single white male author who has ever lived had a wife or girlfriend who was ten thousand times smarter and cooler than he was.

So, you're telling us your husband is stupid?

I'm going to write this about women, and see the reaction.


message 2: by Kyle (new)

Kyle Turpin I love watching straight men get triggered on the internet. It seems Goodreads also isn't free of sensitive fools. It's a list of books, idiots, is your masculinity so fragile that you get upset at a *list of books*?? Ughhhhhhhh


message 3: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Kyle wrote: "I love watching straight men get triggered on the internet. It seems Goodreads also isn't free of sensitive fools. It's a list of books, idiots, is your masculinity so fragile that you get upset at..."

And the answer to that would be "yes."


message 4: by Megan (new)

Megan Mathias wrote: "What a horrible list. Here's a good book instead:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3..."


Get out of here with your misogynistic book recommendations.


message 5: by Bert (new)

Bert Mathias wrote: "What a horrible list. Here's a good book instead:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3..."


I agree. This list is horrid!


message 6: by Bert (new)

Bert So what you are saying is that is fine to belittle a heterosexual. And if they call you on it, then they (the heteros) are 'fragile'.
However, if a LGBT is belittled in the same manner, then you (the Speaker) are threatened and attacking in fear.

I love the double standards embraced by today's Liberals.

Kyle wrote: "I love watching straight men get triggered on the internet. It seems Goodreads also isn't free of sensitive fools. It's a list of books, idiots, is your masculinity so fragile that you get upset at..."

Frank wrote: "Every single white male author who has ever lived had a wife or girlfriend who was ten thousand times smarter and cooler than he was.

So, you're telling us your husband is stupid?

I'm going to w..."



message 7: by Derpa (new)

Derpa Disgusting, sexist list. And for all the "lovely" people who call me or anyone else saying anything about it "fragile men" or even going racist as well and bringing in being white... I'm a woman. I'm just naturally the type that realises that it would make me a disgusting person to blame all my flaws and shortcomings on the supposed whuuuuite men who are all so powerful or whatever delusion idiots have.

Also, what's more emotionally fragile than writing a book hating on men because you can't convince yourself about your own worth without belittling someone else? I can be happy with myself while also having the magical and super special ability of... not being a hateful, jealous, petty bitch.


message 8: by Bert (new)

Bert Derpa wrote: "Disgusting, sexist list. And for all the "lovely" people who call me or anyone else saying anything about it "fragile men" or even going racist as well and bringing in being white... I'm a woman. I..."

Brava! Brava! Well said and well written.


message 9: by Beth (new)

Beth Brekke I love: My husband of almost 33 years, Two and a Half Men and President Trump. This list--not so much.


message 10: by Jorie (new)

Jorie W Mathias wrote: "What a horrible list. Here's a good book instead:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3..."


This comment is why this list exists.


message 11: by Derpa (new)

Derpa Jorie wrote: "Mathias wrote: "What a horrible list. Here's a good book instead:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3..."

This comment is why this list exists."


Because saying women are better than men is just a defence, not ridiculous sexism, because we women always need excuses.
I hold myself to the same standards as I use for men. Which means me (or you, or any other women) being a sexist bitch is just as bad as men being sexist to women is.
Now you will most likely make more excuses why women do it rightfully, but I have said my piece. I am just as capable as a man, so I need to behave just as well as a man.


Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You Derpa wrote: "Disgusting, sexist list. And for all the "lovely" people who call me or anyone else saying anything about it "fragile men" or even going racist as well and bringing in being white... I'm a woman. I..."

well-written reply.


message 13: by Michelle (new)

Michelle The thing about triggered men is, they immediately strike back where they think it will hurt the most. They will attack your looks, your intelligence. Anything to try to wound a woman's self-esteem to make him feel superior. Mathais is a perfect example of this typical behavior. He sent me this private message twice. Sad.

you‘re simply annoying by insulting me. But I don‘t take it personally, looking through your list of read books, it‘s pretty obvious that you belong to a less educated group. Still, I would appreciate it, if you could stop being so rude towards people who are intellectually superior to you.


Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You question for anyone: what made the porn on Tumblr acceptable?


message 15: by Michelle (last edited Feb 07, 2019 12:13PM) (new)

Michelle Mathias wrote: "Michelle, this was in response to your insult against me. In this pm I told you to stop that. If you think I have no right of defending myself, you‘re wrong. And you are wrong in another way:
I ha..."


I didn't insult you. I didn't even acknowledge you. All I said was that the answer to Kyle's question was yes, and you came at me privately.


message 16: by Jorie (new)

Jorie W Michelle wrote: "The thing about triggered men is, they immediately strike back where they think it will hurt the most. They will attack your looks, your intelligence. Anything to try to wound a woman's self-esteem..."

Yeah, I got a message about feminazis too.

I will continue to maintain that this behavior is exactly why this list exists since he wants to keep proving my point for me *shrug*


message 17: by Megan (new)

Megan Jorie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "The thing about triggered men is, they immediately strike back where they think it will hurt the most. They will attack your looks, your intelligence. Anything to try to wound a wo..."

I also got a message from him. I blocked him. I hope y'all did as well. It's not worth engaging with him.


message 18: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Michelle wrote: "Mathias wrote: "Michelle, this was in response to your insult against me. In this pm I told you to stop that. If you think I have no right of defending myself, you‘re wrong. And you are wrong in an..."

And you just keep proving Kyle was right, and that I was right to agree with him.


message 19: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Jorie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "The thing about triggered men is, they immediately strike back where they think it will hurt the most. They will attack your looks, your intelligence. Anything to try to wound a wo..."

Agreed.


message 20: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Megan wrote: "Jorie wrote: "Michelle wrote: "The thing about triggered men is, they immediately strike back where they think it will hurt the most. They will attack your looks, your intelligence. Anything to try..."

Done!


message 21: by April (new)

April Edwards

So, you're telling us your husband is stupid?

I'm going to w..."


How did you get that from the quote?


message 22: by Gemma (new)

Gemma The comment section of this post makes me sad.
Great list though! Loved the choices.


message 23: by Frankie (new)

Frankie Oof


message 24: by Hoolia (new)

Hoolia If we could somehow harness this insatiable drive to be offended by anything that seems to power "nice guys" on the internet, we could be energy independent in 5 minutes flat.

It's Goodreads broskis. It's not that deep.


message 25: by Laifalath (new)

Laifalath April wrote: "How did you get that from the quote? "

Well, the regarding comment from an other point of view:
"Every single white female author who has ever lived had a husband or boyfriend who was ten thousand times smarter and cooler than she was. This book is beautiful and made me very furious."

Got it?


message 26: by Nick (new)

Nick Jones "Why rise above the current caustic cultural climate and celebrate love when you can just wallow in cynicism and contempt instead?"

- Goodreads, I guess


message 27: by Nóri (new)

Nóri Goreczky The answer to the author's question is, of course, "don't". If you truly hate men for whatever arbitrary reason that is fashionable nowadays, then at least be somewhat decent about it and don't actively inflict your hatred on some innocent dude. Just... stay at home and seeth in your hatred. Or go to a therapist so that maybe you will learn to love yourself without being an insufferable dick to others. Either option is fine.

Oh and to everyone making fun of men in the comments, telling them that it's "just a book list" and that their ego is fragile if they can't get over it: no. Stop trying to pretend like it's not completely acceptable, nay, downright expected to shit on men like this nowadays. I can't think of any other demographic group that gets so actively hated in mass media nowadays without any repercussions, and it's fucking disgusting. It's not funny, it's not revolutionary, it's just sad and pathetic, and men have every right to be upset when they see this kind of content on a website that they come to to share in their love of reading.

Signed, a woman


message 28: by Luna (new)

Luna Nóri wrote: "The answer to the author's question is, of course, "don't". If you truly hate men for whatever arbitrary reason that is fashionable nowadays, then at least be somewhat decent about it and don't act..."

I couldn't have said better myself. We should have a list celebrating love instead of people who are bitter-ass bitches about it.


message 29: by Anna (new)

Anna Honestly, the next time someone tells me that making fun of the impotent rage of a straight, white man against women having a laugh at his expense is "mean" and "hurtful", I'm going to have a hernia. In fact, I may have already, with how hard that eyeroll just now was.

I added most of these to my (already way too long) to-read list, can't wait to get to them. :) That quote from Severance? Never heard a better recommendation than that.


message 30: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Saxena Derpa wrote: "Disgusting, sexist list. And for all the "lovely" people who call me or anyone else saying anything about it "fragile men" or even going racist as well and bringing in being white... I'm a woman. I..."

Hail!!


message 31: by Ankit (new)

Ankit Saxena Well, well!!

This is just a gender war as it seems.
There is always a section of people who are feminist and who are don't. And rest of it, as well. There had and always will be writers who wrote something either of some worth or avoidable thoughts. But that's what resembles the freedom of mind, I guess. And, there always remains a choice to either pick that sort of book or create your own space around the one you fantasize for. If it passed from cultural views of large community to not being among the ones those are banned then surely it affects someone in queue.
Question is, is it really affecting our thoughts without picking it or not? Is that going to or had made any unwanted impact on any mind to its disturbed resonance frequency?

So, Be calm and choose wisely. Its always you who is free and able to think exponentially about the Books those had and will always remain in your good-books. Right?


message 32: by Iset (new)

Iset I'm just going sidestep the rest of the comments and put this book It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History as suggested reading for anyone facing Valentines newly broken up. I found it strangely comforting - however bad one's messy break up, these ones really take the cake.


message 33: by Bert (new)

Bert Nóri wrote: "The answer to the author's question is, of course, "don't". If you truly hate men for whatever arbitrary reason that is fashionable nowadays, then at least be somewhat decent about it and don't act..."

Wonderfully worded response. And I agree totally!


message 34: by Bert (new)

Bert Iset wrote: "I'm just going sidestep the rest of the comments and put this book It Ended Badly: Thirteen of the Worst Breakups in History as suggested reading for anyone facing Valentines newly ..."

Thank you! This is a very interesting sounding book! And let me just say from the promo about Charlotte Lamb- EWWWWW!!!!!! :)


Erin *Proud Book Hoarder* Luna wrote: "I couldn't have said better myself. We should have a list celebrating love instead of people who are bitter-ass bitches about it.
"


Agreed, there's some ignorant and bizarre potshots in some of these book descriptions. What's the point about being divisive or nasty on a reading list? I find it odd, but some people spread hate in even the smallest and most innocent of things.


message 36: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Willis It's quite sad to see so many people out there who have given up on love and seem to be basking in a kind of collective cynicism/group misandry to seemingly reassure eachother of their "strength". Nobody's fooled.

Planning a Spa Day and a lovely home made meal for my fiancee for Valentines Day, which has become sort of a ritual for us every year. She loves it! :)

I hope you all find love one day, and can put the bitterness behind you.


message 37: by Sara (new)

Sara Nóri wrote: "The answer to the author's question is, of course, "don't". If you truly hate men for whatever arbitrary reason that is fashionable nowadays, then at least be somewhat decent about it and don't act..."

"I can't think of any other demographic group that gets so actively hated in mass media nowadays without any repercussions, and it's fucking disgusting."

Try being black since the beginning of this country and constantly being hated on in mass media without any repercussions for hundreds of years...

While I don't like hateful rhetoric, I see no reason why those who have been discriminated against for years stand up for themselves and, for once, live at a time where the majority of people will listen to them and hear their pain and want to change the world for the better to accept them. If you don't understand that feminism is not about "man-hating" but instead about fighting for equal rights for all, then you've completely missed the point here.

And, though I can't believe this needs to be stated, just become some women hate men does not compromise the whole of feminism. People need to stop using blanket terms when referring to people. And also, this is a book reviewing website. This book that has people so upset exists whether you like it or not and people are allowed to express their opinions and feelings about it. If you don't like this book, or its message, maybe you should stay off of this book list?


message 38: by Daniel (new)

Daniel Willis "Try being black since the beginning of this country"

Nobody living in America now (or the world) has been alive since 1776.


message 39: by Nóri (new)

Nóri Goreczky Sara wrote: "Nóri wrote: "The answer to the author's question is, of course, "don't". If you truly hate men for whatever arbitrary reason that is fashionable nowadays, then at least be somewhat decent about it ..."

I said NOWADAYS, not since the beginning of the country. The only group you can get away with writing scathing, hateful articles about in the year of our lord 2019 is men, as a collective. You know damn well that there would be an outrage if someone like CNN or HuffPo ran an article titled "black people are the problem" or "what women can do to fix themselves" or something like that, whereas it's acceptable to write the same about (straight, white) men. And I will never agree with the rhetoric of "well women have been oppressed for so long, it's time we turned the tables now". No. Neither I nor any man alive today has anything to do with what happened in the past. By being hateful to men TODAY, you're not sticking it to some long dead assholes who have been hateful to women in their own time. You're just making things worse NOW.

Also I didn't once include the word "feminism" in my post, so I don't know where that came from. I was talking about attitudes I see in the world in general, not just among people who call themselves feminists. But since you brought it up, I know damn well what feminism is supposed to stand for, but like it or not, there are people out there who are giving it a bad name with their man-hating, and you can't just brush it off with "well those are not REAL feminists". Fixing the movement should include acknowledging its problems, not ignoring them, and as long as there are people out there openly hating man while claiming to be champions of feminism, those associations will remain.


message 40: by Iset (new)

Iset Personally I would prefer a much more reasonable discourse, where everyone can have civil dialogue.

'Straight white men' are still the most privileged group in the western world hands down; absolutely dominant in business, politics, STEM, entertainment, the arts, and other arenas far too numerous to list here.

That said, any feminist worthy of the name - that is, the dictionary definition of holding to the principle of equal opportunities - should never be seeking to 'flip the tables'. Replacing one inequality for the same thing but in reverse creates the same problems just with a different face. Anyone may call themselves 'feminist' but if all they care about is vengeance and violence then the label is a hollow shell, and in fact an oxymoron.

In any group, there are a few idiots. A few men today do perpetuate stupid attitudes. A few people labelling themselves 'feminists' do perpetuate stupid attitudes. Frankly, I condemn idiocy in any form. And I would label myself 'feminist', by the dictionary definition.

As for the original blog post - what a mistake. Sweeping statements that may apply to some but certainly not to all, combined with woo-woo magically knowing stuff. Seriously, I expect better objectivity and scientific standards.


Shall I Download A Black Hole And Offer It To You and this string of word-vomiting (from all sides) is why we (humans) won't survive this century... sad.


message 42: by Jewel (last edited Feb 09, 2019 11:40AM) (new)

Jewel Iset wrote: "Personally I would prefer a much more reasonable discourse, where everyone can have civil dialogue.

'Straight white men' are still the most privileged group in the western world hands down; absolu..."


I wish civil dialogue would happen more often too.:) But I do admit, I'm confused when people call men privileged. The definition of privilege in the dictionary is a special right or advantage only given to a specific group or person.

Yes, there may be more men in all the fields you mentioned, but there is nothing obstructing women from pursuing those fields. Women weren't encouraged to pursue those occupations for the longest time, but now that has changed. The only thing to do is wait for time to pass, and as more time passes more women will engage in these careers which they were before (in previous generations) dissuaded from joining. More women will engage in these careers, I think, because culture is changing and no longer puts so many limits on women.

But a cultural expectation for a women still does not take away her equal right to go to school for whatever she desires. In this, men have no more privilege than a woman.

And yes. You're right. In any group there will be a few idiots.

But I do feel that feminism itself has changed to mean something different than it used to and has been overtaken by those who don't wish for true equality, so the group has changed completely as well. That's why I hesitate to call myself one anymore. I don't want to be associated with the women marching stupidly for rights they already have while wearing vagina hats.

Third wave feminism isn't my cup of tea. And I think that original feminism is becoming a thing of the past, so that when I think of a feminist, I don't think of a woman who wants equality anymore.

That's why I now say I'm for equality, not feminism.

Because to me, this book list represents what feminism is now. It's been poisoned, essentially.


message 43: by Iset (new)

Iset Jewel wrote..."

The term itself 'privilege' used to seem odd to me too. I thought as you did - 'why is basic rights called privilege?!' Such as, for example, to have one's CV judged based on its merit and nothing else - that's a basic right, surely, not a privilege! Yes, it is a basic right, indeed, not special treatment. Except some people are not getting those basic rights. It's being treated as if it were a privilege then, with only some getting access to these basic rights, when in fact it shouldn't be a privilege, it should be universal to all. Then, as if that weren't enough, you do get a few genuinely corrupt people who knowingly dole out bonuses (not just basic rights) in a discriminatory way - real privilege.

You say that there is nothing obstructing women from getting into certain fields but that is a rather generalised statement. For sure it has opened up a great deal in comparison to the past. But there are actually still considerable blocks still in place. For example, where I live it is actually illegal for an employer to ask about a woman's family plans and refuse to hire her purely on that basis - but it still happens, as evidenced by the cases that are reported every year, and the investigative exposes which record them. The numbers are certainly still unequal, and sometimes those already in the circle either unwittingly or knowingly tip the scales against prospective candidates. So, it isn't really true that there is now 'nothing' preventing women accessing these fields. It isn't just about women, of course, there are other groups that are discouraged in this manner; including men from certain professions. Cultural pressures do come back and bite everyone sometime.

Your choice is understandable, though the dictionary definition of feminism is still 'for equality'. I don't feel the movement has been overtaken by this other meaning - just that people shouting very loud make a lot of noise and now there's a misconception that 'all feminists' or at least 'most feminists' this that or the other when in fact it is a few fools. I could call myself an orange if I wanted but would not make it so just by taking the label. I don't think much of the book list. It quite obviously makes sweeping statements and is unscientific.


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