In the mood for some light and lovely reading? We’ve got just the thing! This list of nine sidesplitting, heartwarming romantic comedies will set your heart aglow and restore your hope in love’s mysterious and quirky ways. From master writers like Jane Austen, Nora Ephron, and Laurie Colwin, to the avant-garde Raphael Bob-Waksberg and zany Kevin Kwan—we have an extraordinary lineup of hilarious and deeply felt stories featuring best-friends-turned-lovers, dysfunctional families, nosy neighbors, and more. Instead of turning on your favorite movie, why not read your way into romantic oblivion and fall in love right alongside these memorable characters?
Happy All the Time by Laurie Colwin
Guido and Vincent, best friends (and third cousins), aren’t expecting to fall head over heels in love, but that is exactly what happens. Guido is smitten with Holly, a dazzling young woman who chafes at the idea of complacency, while Vincent falls for Misty, a work colleague with an acerbic sense of humor who seems as uninterested in love as she is in Vincent (at first). In the months that follow, both couples will experience the rituals of courtship, jealousy, estrangement, family entanglements, and other perils of the heart, as they try to find love in spite of themselves. A modern classic first published in 1978, Happy All the Time is as much a sophisticated romantic comedy about the love between two partners as it is a novel about the powerful bonds shared by family members, friends, colleagues, and confidants.
Heartburn by Nora Ephron
Is it possible to write a hysterical novel about the breakup of the perfect marriage? If the writer is Nora Ephron, the answer is a resounding yes. Seven months into her pregnancy, Rachel Samstat discovers that her husband, Mark, is in love with another woman. The fact that the other woman has “a neck as long as an arm and a nose as long as a thumb and you should see her legs” is no consolation. In this inspired confection of adultery, revenge, group therapy, and pot roast, the creator of Sleepless in Seattle reminds us that comedy depends on anguish as surely as proper gravy depends on flour and butter.
Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
Written with all the scathing dark humor that is a hallmark of BoJack Horseman, Raphael Bob-Waksberg delivers a fabulously off-beat collection of short stories about love—the best and worst thing in the universe. From a young engaged couple forced to deal with interfering relatives dictating the appropriate number of ritual goat sacrifices for their wedding to a pair of lonely commuters who ride the subway in silence, forever, eternally failing to make that longed-for contact, these tales of humor, romance, whimsy, and cultural commentary are beautifully written with crushing emotional vulnerability.
Standard Deviation by Katherine Heiny
This uproarious novel from the celebrated author of Single, Carefree, Mellow is about the challenges of a good marriage, the delight and heartache of raising children, and the irresistible temptation to wonder about the path not taken. When Graham Cavanaugh divorced his first wife, it was to marry his girlfriend, Audra, a woman as irrepressible as she is spontaneous and fun. But, Graham learns, life with Audra can also be exhausting, constantly interrupted by chatty phone calls, picky-eater houseguests, and invitations to weddings of people he’s never met. As Graham and Audra share dinners, holidays, and late glasses of wine with his first wife, he starts to wonder: How can anyone love two such different women? Did I make the right choice? Is there a right choice?
This Must Be the Place by Maggie O’Farrell
Daniel Sullivan and his wife, Claudette, have made an idyllic life in the country, but a secret from Daniel’s past threatens to destroy their meticulously constructed and fiercely protected home. Shot through with humor and wisdom, This Must Be the Place is an irresistible love story that crisscrosses continents and time zones as it captures an extraordinary marriage, and an unforgettable family, with wit and deep affection.
The Pursuit of Love by Nancy Mitford
Mitford’s most enduringly popular novel is a classic comedy about growing up and falling in love among the privileged and eccentric. The first of three novels following the Radlett family focuses on the travails of Linda, the most beautiful and wayward Radlett daughter, who falls first for a stuffy Tory politician, then an ardent Communist, and finally a French duke named Fabrice.
Emma by Jane Austen
Twenty-one-year-old Emma Woodhouse is comfortably dominating the social order in the village of Highbury, convinced that she has both the understanding and the right to manage other people’s lives—for their own good, of course. Probing the deepest human ironies while setting before us a dazzling gallery of pretentious and admirable characters, Jane Austen’s revolutionary and inspiring novel has captured the imagination of readers for centuries.
The Accidental Tourist by Anne Tyler
Immobilized by grief, travel writer Macon Leary is becoming increasingly prickly and alone, anchored by his solitude and an unwillingness to compromise his creature comforts. Then he meets Muriel, an eccentric dog trainer too optimistic to let Macon disappear into himself. Despite Macon’s best efforts to remain insulated, Muriel upends his solitary, systemized life, catapulting him into the center of a messy, beautiful love story he never imagined.
Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
When New Yorker Rachel Chu agrees to spend the summer in Singapore with her boyfriend, Nicholas Young, she envisions a humble family home and quality time with the man she hopes to marry. But Nick has failed to give his girlfriend a few key details. One, that his childhood home looks like a palace; two, that he grew up riding in more private planes than cars; and three, that he just happens to be the country’s most eligible bachelor.