In a world consumed by Fifty Shades of Grey, we’d like to redirect your attention to this explicit tale. For decades it was censored in the United States and Britain and banned in Australia and Canada — which is why we want to read this sexy story that crosses the class divide again and again.
You’ll fall in love with author Rob Sheffield when you read his memoir about tragically losing his wife. It’s as much a tribute to music as it is one to her; prepare to spend at least $100 downloading songs as the story unfolds.
We think it would have been exhilarating (frustrating, but exhilarating) to have been married to Ernest Hemingway. Here we see the great writer — and a grand love affair — through the eyes of his first wife, Hadley.
When it comes to nontraditional romances set on sweeping English estates, Cecilia Tallis and Robbie Turner make Lady Mary and Cousin Matthew (and Sybil and Branson, for that matter) look like child’s play.
James Baldwin’s tragic Parisian tale depicts the affair between David, an American expat, and Giovanni, a free-spirited Italian, examining the underworld of gay love and self-discovery in the early 20th century.
We’re smitten with the lighthearted story (with art by Maira Kalman) that plants you in the middle of a teen breakup. A girl dumps her guy by leaving him a box filled with mundane items collected over the course of their relationship. Ouch.
Please cast the terrible James Franco movie out of your memory. Way before Romeo and Juliet were breaking hearts, this tale of adulterous love between a knight and an Irish princess had 12th-century hearts racing.
From an obscenely heartfelt vacation breakup to a teen summer spent lusting after his big brother’s (much, much) younger bedmate, the Dominican-born Oscar Wao award winner proves that wearing one’s heart on one’s sleeve takes major cojones.
Papa takes on the Lost Generation with a gorgeous roman à clef about expat debauchery and thwarted love. Extra points for tantalizing bullfight scenes and a heroine who flaunts the libertine flapper ethos with more aplomb than anyone this side of Zelda Fitzgerald.
If you give Marcel Proust a cookie (a madeleine, to be precise), he’ll spin it into an expansive meditation on everything from the rise of the bourgeois class to the nature of memory. The first in what became a seven-volume series, In Search of Lost Time, this novel is required reading for any true book lover.
This glittering and meticulously researched biography of Sara and Gerald Murphy (the real life inspiration for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night) offers a glimpse into the world of one of history’s more inspired couples.