Entering your single era isn’t a bad thing. If Miley Cyrus’s “Flowers” taught us anything, it’s that we’re capable of loving ourselves better than anyone else can. Besides, the first image of singledom shouldn’t be Bridget Jones singing “All By Myself” alone in her flat while chugging a glass of wine. Don’t get me wrong: everyone should have the emotional freedom to process a difficult breakup in whatever way they need to grieve, but there is so much more to being single than wishing you weren’t. Being on your own can be celebratory. (Did I celebrate a small victory when I fixed a broken cabinet all on my own? Yes. I did.) This is a period where you’re able to put yourself first without worrying about anyone else, and you may even find that this era of your life surprises you in ways you didn’t expect.
That being said, if you, like me, want to read books about the single experience—whether you’re coming off a fresh breakup, happily single and thriving, or opening yourself up to love again—I’ve got you covered. Below you’ll find a few books for single women that encapsulate all the above—and to really kick this off, allow me to set the mood. Ahem, ALEXA, PLAY “BETTER BY MYSELF” BY HEY VIOLET.
Where are all my long-term relationship babies at? Listen, moving on from a long relationship is tough, but Monica Heisey keeps it real by introducing us to Maggie, who’s struggling after an unexpected divorce from her husband of nine years. Through her stream-of-consciousness hilarity and witty insights, Maggie gives an honest portrayal of how tough it can be to let go of the past and embrace the new.
If you’re looking for a book that feels like sitting down to vent with a good friend, then Sophia Beniot’s memoir-in-essays might be for you. As someone who navigated the world of online dating with all its ups and downs, Sophia doesn’t shy away from stark honesty and hilarious insights. From discussions about modern womanhood, feminism, and mental health, this is a great read for single individuals who are looking to feel a little less alone.
Okay, look. We’ve all found ourselves single spiraling at one point or another. There’s no shame in that. So if you’re looking for something comforting yet relatable, allow me to recommend Wow, No Thank You. Samantha Irby’s essay collection is sharp and conversational, poignant and funny, and downright entertaining. And although Samantha is happily married, she reminds readers that love doesn’t fix all our problems—that bad dates with new friends and imposter syndrome still happen to the best of us.
One of the biggest emotional hurdles of being single is loneliness—a feeling no one loves to experience—but it doesn’t have to be framed as a negative thing. Post-divorce, John Kim realized he’d never really been on his own and the most important part of moving forward was building a healthy relationship with himself first. This book is an important read for anyone who could use guidance in finding themselves again—and for those who need a reminder that there’s more to life than who we choose to love.
Can anyone else relate to feeling single anxiety? There’s a ton of societal pressure to find the right partner, have the dream wedding, and settle down into a happily-ever-after before your mid-thirties. In her memoir, Gray recounts the year she took off dating and unpacks the internal and external pressures we feel to get it all right.
I have this thing where I distract myself with TikToks, books, podcasts, and TV shows instead of sitting down with my thoughts for a consecutive ten minutes. Perhaps you can relate. In her book, Francesca highlights the importance of dedicating quality time to yourself—whether you’re single or in a relationship—and stresses that our relationship with ourselves is vital toward growing as a person.
Have you ever felt blissfully content on your own only to be told that you should probably be craving more? Then, even though you’re happy, you start second guessing what you want? In Sayaka Murata’s novel, 36-year-old Tokyo resident Keiko Furukura begins working at Smile Mart—and continues to work there for the next 18 years. And despite being perfectly happy, her colleagues and friends begin to pressure her to find a husband and settle down.
If you’ve ever felt like an outsider, like you don’t belong, or if you’ve desperately tried to fit in, to be loved and admired, but ultimately came up empty, then this enchanting fantasy novel is for you. Miller’s powerful retelling breathes life and depth into Circe, a woman grappling with new powers, and explores who she becomes in spite of what she’s been through. It’s an excellent read for those looking to find their own inner strength.
In her memoir, former Sunday Times columnist Dolly Alderton recounts her experience (or maybe a universal one?) falling in love, finding a job, getting dumped, realizing that Ivan from the corner shop is probably the most reliable man in her life, and learning that no one can hold a candle to her best girlfriends. Throughout all the trials and tribulations of Alderton’s journey into and throughout adulthood one lesson stands above the rest: realizing she is enough—and so are you.
Ever been through a devastating break up and are left with no idea what to do? Same. Queenie captures that experience perfectly. Following a messy break up from her long-term boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places...including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth. As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, "What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?" Whether you've been there, or are currently there, this is a must-read.