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7 Books That Will Stimulate Your Love Life

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that the grass is always greener on the other side. In sex and relationship terms, this means that those coupled-up want out, and the singletons want in.

These sentiments, of course, bear no relation to the fact that most people are actually content in their current situations. It’s just the consequence of the time when God got tired and watched reruns of Friends instead of sorting out the monogamy/polygamy Venn diagram. Annoying, huh?

Still, there’s no need to panic. This is what fantasy is for. And no, I don’t really mean envisaging the shining brow of your boyfriend’s brother whilst your other half lies on top of you, trying hard at lovemaking. I mean fantasy in fiction.

Here is a range of literature to help stimulate such imaginings. Take them somewhere scenic, enjoy, and head back to reality when it suits you. Literature. It’s not what you think it is.

1. The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets, Eva Rice

Vintage porn. It tells the story of young, tall and awkward Penelope and her love affair with rock and roll. Full of glimmering parties at the Ritz, suave Americans and high society. Oh, and quiet moments where she meets her soulmate. Perfect for singles or smug marrieds – lets you live out the magic of falling in love whilst fantasising about which ball gown you’d choose if you went to that party.

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2. Polo, Jilly Cooper

Jilly Cooper’s epic. Loads of sex, everywhere. Helps if the summer is a bit of a drought in that department. My friend told me that she read it way quicker than she did Anna Karenina. I wonder why.

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3. The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Set against the charm of mid twentieth century Barcelona, this novel is like a fairytale. A great compromise if part of you longs to lie in bed watching Pocahontas, but you also want to hang on to that shred of credibility. Full of reminders about just how painful love can be.

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4. The Rules of Attraction, Bret Easton Ellis

Pithy little tale from Bret Easton Ellis about how fucked up we are all when we are, um, fucking. Not a shred of smug marriedness to be seen – way too ironic for all that.

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5. The Last Kings of Sark, Rosa Rankin Gee

It’s just beautiful really, with sensual details and finger-lickingly good prose. Save it for summer, though, as the tale is about the magic of youth, islands and sun. I couldn’t recommend enough.

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6. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, Louis de Bernières

And we reach another island, but this book is of course a classic that you’ll be able to borrow from a library, right now! De Bernières weaves a complex tale of love and allegiance, as the doctor’s daughter Pelagia and Captain Corelli fall for one another against the back drop of war-torn Cephalonia.

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wikimedia.org

7. A Spot of Bother, Mark Haddon

Okay, maybe this one shouldn’t be on the list because it’s a little too realistic in terms of romance, i.e. it makes you look at what you have and think, god, that’s all really rather nice after all. Maybe read this after all the rest, in case Polo is having an adverse affect on your notions of reality. As one would expect from the author of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, the prose is warm and witty – it’s the sort of book that will lead you to laugh embarrassingly loudly in a waiting room.

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Just be wary of being too truthful when you get asked about what you’re currently reading in an interview. If it’s Polo, there’s no harm in saying Anna Karenina instead. Some delights are meant to be private.

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