“Break-ups suck. But you don't have to suck at break-ups.”
These are the oh-so-wise words of Zoë Foster Blake, author of Break-up Boss.
“She was just really, really shit at break-ups for a long time,” reads Foster Blake’s author bio. “... And did some really embarrassing, borderline illegal stuff.”
We all deal with breakups in different ways. Some, like Foster Blake did. Some, as highly-functioning, givers back of things that no longer belong to them. Others hold onto that t-shirt in the hope that that ex of yours will one days return in search of it (read: in search of you). Others throw themselves into work, into three yoga classes a day or into re-watching all 9 seasons of Scrubs.
However you want to deal with your breakup, we’ve got some reading materials to help you out.
And no, Eat Pray Love is not on the list.
And, sure, time heals all wounds, but the below is the perfect way to pass the time. And, potentially, keep you out of trouble, or as Foster Blake says, “to save you the same humiliation when you’re knee-deep in your own filthy break-up swamp.”
If you’re looking for someone who has it worse than you, read Nick Hornby’s High Fidelity
... Because no matter how sad you are, there is always someone sadder than you. And that man is Nick Hornby’s main man and record store owner Rob Fleming.
He’s had his heart and his world smashed to smithereens. “I lost the plot for a while ... And I lost the subplot, the script, the soundtrack, the intermission, my popcorn, the credits, and the exit sign.”
Read his 253-page almost-monologue o cry, to laugh, and to cry again.
Like he says: “It's brilliant, being depressed; you can behave as badly as you like.”
If you just want to have a good, old-fashioned cry, read Sarah Winman’s Tin Man
Devastatingly beautiful and set in Oxford, Tin Man is the story of friends, lovers, families, of first loves and last loves – and, no, you can’t put it down. With lines like this -
“And I wonder what the sound of a heart breaking might be. And I think it might be quiet, unperceptively so, and not dramatic at all. Like the sound of an exhausted swallow falling gently to earth.”
- how could you? You’ll read it in one hit and you’re almost guaranteed to cry for the first three-quarters.
If you feel like making trouble your business, read anything By Bukowski
If you’re even a little tempted to go off the rails, Bukowski is your man. He does all the hard-drinking, tough-talking and wallowing for you, so you are off the hook in that department.
His novels - Pulp, Ham On Rye, The Post Office - are great but the real magic is in his poetry. Try Love Is A Dog From Hell or You Get So Alone At Times That It Just Makes Sense. They’re real and raw and funny in a please-don’t-tell-me-that's-true kind of way. The perfect late night companion.
“I don’t hate people,” Bukowski wrote. “I just feel better when they’re not around.” And, after enough Bukowski, here's hoping you'll feel that way re your ex.
If you’re looking for a distraction, read anything by Murakami
“Confusing” is a word that almost always comes up as people appraise Murakami's work.
He sends his characters - and takes you - into a metaphysical realm, a dreamscape of sorts. It’s a place where cats can speak and where history is far from linear. On our list? Kafka On The Shore and The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle. Get lost, take that trip.
If you need a hand getting over it, read Zoë Foster Blake’s Break-up Boss
We’ve mentioned her once (or 42 times) before, but Zoë Foster Blake is a total boss. Her Break-up Boss is an app and an Instagram account and, just to be old fashioned, a book to help guide you through that pesky break-up of yours. Consider this your please-help-me guide to getting through it, with practical advice like DON’T CALL THEM and daily reminders of just how great you're doing.
Why not update that book bag of yours?