Want a new couple’s activity that’s just as cozy as a Netflix binge sessions, but slightly more stimulating? Why not dive into one of the many books couples should read? Reading the same book together as a couple and then discussing it is one of the most powerful ways to know each other better, respectfully argue, and find unexpected places of agreement. Books can provoke intense and otherwise silently held beliefs, recall memories, force you to explore gray areas, or simply delight in the world, the intellect and the written word. And, like a good Netflix and chill session, it can be done from the comfort of your living room.
Some books are ideal for couples to read together because they are intellectually stimulating, some are emotionally resonant, some are commentaries on the large and confusing modern world, but all will create space for further intimacy and discovery with your partner.
I was already in love with my husband when we read Robert B. Parker's Spenser novels together, but I admit to falling just a tiny bit more in love with him after discussing the novels and hearing his thoughtful commentary on the nature of violence in a violent world and the love between the two main characters. I don't know an easier way to bring about such serious subjects that reflection through art. So if you’re looking to take part in a book club for two, head to the bookstore a pick up double copies of these books for couples to read, enjoy, and discuss together.
1'The World According To Garp' by John Irving
The World According To Garp is a perfect storm of feminism, sexuality, marriage, trust, parenthood, and politics that'll keep you two talking for days. And afterwards, you can curl up and enjoy the movie version starring Robin Williams.
2'Too Old Too Soon, Too Late Too Smart' by Gordon Livingston
Gordon Livingston is a psychologist who knows about heartbreaking loss, having death with the deaths of two children. And he's used that tragedy to write Too Old Too Soon, Too Late Too Smart, a book full of wisdom about living despite the setbacks and pain: one of the best. Livingston's impossibly won grativas make his words more profound than the usual self-help teacher.
3'High Fidelity' by Nick Hornby
High Fidelity centers around Rob, the owner of a failing record store, that offers plenty to talk about. Rob's past as a serial monogamist who breaks hearts with a ruthless unawareness of what he's doing meets directly with this feelings for his new girlfriend, who leaves him after becoming tired of waiting for him to commit. The dialogue and setting are sharp and make for a great read and even greater discussion with your SO.
4The 'Spenser' Series by Robert B. Parker
Staring with The Godwulf Manuscript, Robert B. Parker created one of the most memorable and lovable private eyes in the history of the crime novel: Spenser. The center of the novels is Spenser's relationship with Susan, a beautiful Jewish psychologist who he falls in love with, and Hawk, the black, quietly intelligent woman charmer who has a ferocity born from his brutal childhood years.
5'Wolf Hall' by Hilary Mantel
Wolf Hall cemented Hilary Mantel's reputation as a first-class historical novelist. Taking place in 1520s England from the perspective of one of King Henry's most trusted advisors, this novel brims with wit, detail and imaginative leaps that feel effortless and true. Discussing the dark and mysterious times of the 1500s with your partner can lead to some of the deepest conversations you have had: it did for my husband and I.
6'Getting The Love You Want' by Harville Hendrix
Harville Hendrix wrote this now classic self-help book, Getting The Love You Want, to help people get the love they want. A powerful, at times unsettling read, (looking at your patterns can be painful), this can be a highly rewarding book to read together and discuss.
7'Americanah' by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Americanah is a powerhouse of race, identity, love, and country that acts as a world unto itself. The novel centers around a love relationship between Ifemelu and Obinze. This is the perfect book to read together and then have coffee and sit for an hour to discuss.
8'Between The World and Me' by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Between The World and Me explores the racial history of the United States from the personal perspective of a black man. Touted as a 'brilliant thinker', Coates' book gives any couple hours of material to discuss and get to know not only our country, but yourselves, better.
9'Grace (Eventually)' by Anne Lamott
Anne Lamott was an addict and aspiring writer floundering through life, suffering, and loss. Her honest portrayal of herself as a flawed and struggling person makes it so easy to relate to and read Grace (Eventually). Not hiding behind the facade of perfect devotion to some clearly identifiable god, Lamott writes smartly, clearly and entertainingly about the struggles inherent in keeping faith. A book that will bring about conversations on God (or not-God), spirituality, church, suffering and the meaning of life. Intimacy, here you come.