Great books about love take many forms, and in building this list of our favorite books on the subject, we didn’t limit ourselves to any one genre. Our search covered great fiction, religious and literary classics, poetry, modern standards in self-help, and more. Certainly there are more than 50 great books about love, but these are top of mind among our editors in 2015.
#1 – The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts
Keeping a relationship thriving means understanding how to speak the language that best suits your partner. The author of this book about communication and love discusses the five different languages of love: physical affection, investing time, giving tangible gifts, providing acts of service and speaking words of affirmation. The book guides readers into understanding their own language and communicating their needs to their partner.
#2 – Love You Forever
Robert N. Munsch and Sheila McGraw
“Love You Forever” is a children’s book about the beautiful and unconditional love between a mother and her son. Though the son’s actions often exasperate his mother, she sings him a lullaby of unconditional love every night. The son absorbs his mother’s lessons on love, and he eventually passes on the same message to his own children.
#3 – An Awesome Book of Love!
Written and illustrated by Dallas Clayton, “An Awesome Book of Love!” is a charming exploration of the many different types of love. Originally written for his son, this book became a viral sensation when the author self-published it. Although the illustrations are simple and childlike, readers of all ages have enjoyed this colorful book about love.
#4 – Love and Respect: The Love She Most Desires; The Respect He Desperately Needs
Dr. Emerson Eggerichs
Pairing biblical understanding with psychological research, this book about love and respect aims to help romantic partners improve their communication with each other. By giving her husband the respect he craves, a woman can earn the unconditional love of her spouse. Likewise, by committing to love his wife unconditionally, a man can gain the respect that he needs to feel whole.
#5 – Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World
Bob Goff and Donald Miller
Through a series of hilarious anecdotes and personal stories, Bob Goff reflects on a life of improbable events made possible through determination and love. In Goff’s eyes, love isn’t an idea that stops with feelings; love inspires actions. When fueled by love, people become capable of great and impossible things.
#6 – The Four Loves
C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis, the well-known Christian author, uses this book to examine four types of love, including the affectionate love between friends and the unconditional love between family members. Lewis also discusses romantic love and love based on charity and religion. Through sharing his understanding of love, Lewis aims to spread his belief that love makes all things possible.
#7 – The Psychology of Romantic Love
The author of “The Psychology of Romantic Love” takes readers on a journey through the historical, philosophical and physiological background of romantic love. Branden also explores the modern idea that romantic love isn’t compatible with contemporary society. However, through his experiences with thousands of loving couples, the author explains how romantic love is still completely possible.
#8 – True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart
Thich Nhat Hanh
The renowned Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh invites readers to improve their understanding of love by being present in each moment. The author focuses on four important components of love, including compassion, kindness, freedom and joy. He also shares several simple techniques from the Buddhist tradition that readers can use to anchor themselves in the present moment.
#9 – 100 Love Sonnets
Published in 1959, this book of love sonnets by the famous Chilean poet was written for his beloved wife. The poems are divided by sections of the day, ranging from morning to evening. Many of the poems refer to the beautiful landscape of Isla Negra, where the couple shared their life together.
#10 – Guess How Much I Love You
Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram
This adorable children’s book reassures children of the depth of their parents’ love as two rabbits go to great lengths to show their love for each other. No matter how much Little Nutbrown Hare claims he loves his father, Big Nutbrown Hare constantly shows that he loves his son even more. The whimsical illustrations and simple story make this book about parental love a joy for any child.
#11 – Love and Friendship in Plato and Aristotle
A. W. Price
Although Plato and Aristotle are both regarded as among the founders of Western philosophy, they held radically different ideas regarding friendship and love. In this book, however, A.W. Price explores the common elements between the philosophies of these two great thinkers. Both Plato and Aristotle believed that love was the binding element that allows people, though separate individuals, to share a single life. Love provides the bridge between the selfish and the selfless.
#12 – Love Is a Choice: The Definitive Book on Letting Go of Unhealthy Relationships
Robert Hemfelt, Frank Minirth, Paul Meier
Toxic relationships are often difficult to leave permanently, keeping people trapped in a vicious cycle. In this book, the authors suggest 10 faith-based strategies to help people leave unhealthy relationships. Once they have escaped their toxic relationships, they can move on and heal the damage.
#13 -Love Letters of Great Men
Many famous men, from Beethoven to Charles Darwin, wrote love letters that were fortuitously saved by historians and private collectors. This collection highlights these captivating letters, ranging from eloquent and flowery romantic pleas to simple missives bemoaning a long-distance relationship.
#14 – Love Story
Originally written as a screenplay for a movie of the same name, “Love Story” follows a privileged young man, Oliver, who abandons his family fortune to marry his college sweetheart against his father’s wishes. Although the couple struggles, their happiness together allows them to pull through adversity and start a promising life together. When tragedy strikes, however, Oliver must confront his father to try to save his beloved.
#15 – Love Yourself Like Your Life Depends On It
Checking in at a mere 68 pages, this is one of the shortest books about love you’re likely to read. However, it deals with an important truth: When it comes to our self-image, we’re often too willing to accept negative thoughts and opinions, making happiness difficult. Instead, the author suggests that people should love themselves as intensely as they would cling to a cliff above a vast chasm.
#16 – Love Without End: Jesus Speaks
Ever since His life and resurrection, Christians have reported spiritual experiences talking directly to their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. This book about divine love explores the author’s own such experience, which happened to her in 1992. Throughout her four-month experience, she spoke with Jesus at length and asked many questions, carefully taking note of the Savior’s answers. Whether you believe the author’s account or not, this book contains much wisdom about life and love.
#17 – The Nature Of Love: Courtly and Romantic
This book, part of Singer’s three-part series of books about love, traces the philosophical and religious development of our modern conception of love. This book explores the courtly traditions started in the 12th century, when romantic love was also seen as a celebration of godly love and the union between two souls. As opinions and tastes changed over time, the religious components of romantic love began to wane, but the idea of two people becoming one through their love remained.
#18 – The Relationship Cure: A 5 Step Guide to Strengthening Your Marriage, Family, and Friendships
John M. Gottman
This book of love advice focuses on the practical aspects of relationships, helping the reader to understand the emotional connections she has with those around her. A key concept in the book is the idea of emotional bids, fundamental units of emotional connectivity that people use to meet their emotional needs and the needs of others. The author lays out a five-step process by which readers can use emotional bids to improve their relationships.
#19 – The Science of Love
With an understanding informed by the Hermetic tradition, John Baines explores the evolution of love and celebrates the union of man and woman. The author introduces the idea of corrupt love and contrasts it with true love. Throughout the book, Baines teaches his readers how they can move past superficial and toxic relationships to embrace a deeper and more divine form of love.
#20 – The Velveteen Rabbit
“The Velveteen Rabbit” is a beloved children’s classic about the everlasting love a stuffed toy rabbit has for his young owner. Through the sage advice of an older toy, the rabbit learns that toys who are loved enough may become real. Though the rabbit endures mocking from other toys in the boy’s room and from real rabbits, he clings to his dream.
#21 -Whatever…Love Is Love: Questioning the Labels We Give Ourselves
Written by the actress Maria Bello, this book encourages women to stop using labels to limit their relationships. By avoiding labels, women can explore deeper relationships, both platonic and romantic. Bello’s writing gives voice to the families and relationships of today that don’t fit the typical mold that was common decades ago.
#22 – Why Can’t You Read My Mind? Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get in the Way of a Loving Relationship
Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D
Psychologist Jeffrey Bernstein discusses how negative and distorted thinking can destroy a relationship. In this book, he details nine specific patterns of thought that can lead to a broken relationship. Readers can learn strategies to help them turn their thinking around to approach problems with a positive outlook.
#23 – Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love
Taking a scientific approach to the many questions regarding love, Helen Fisher dives into the history of love and its physical and behavioral effects on humans. Fisher argues that love is part of human evolution, showing that parts of the human brain see an increase in blood flow when someone falls in love. According to the author, love isn’t simply an emotion; it is a basic physical drive, like hunger, that must be satisfied.
#24 – Women Who Love Too Much
For some women, romantic relationships bring more pain to their lives than joy. Robin Norwood guides women who have a history of troubled relationships to the causes of their destructive patterns. Thanks to her advice, women can seek men that better suit their needs to build fulfilling and loving relationships.
#25 – Your Love Path
Breaking down relationships into a series of steps, Joe Beam helps couples strengthen their marriage through a better understanding of how love works. Within the book, readers can find stories of real people and how they were able to build a strong relationship using Beam’s counsel.
#26 – We Can Work It Out: How to Solve Conflicts, Save Your Marriage, and Strengthen Your Love for Each Other
Clifford Notarius and Howard Markham
The authors of this self-help book used a 20-year study to create detailed guides for couples to improve their communication skills. In the early sections of the book, readers can learn about the study and read accounts of bad and good marriages from real people. The rest of the book is dedicated to strategies to help couples stop conflicts from harming their marriage.
#27 – What I Love About You
Kate Marshall and David Marshall
Kate and David Marshall help readers write their own tale of love, using prompts to fill in the many blank lines in the book. In the beginning of the book, couples can write down memories of their first meeting. Once completed, this book can become a treasured keepsake of the couple’s romance, a book about love unique to the couple.
#28 – What Is Love? A Path In Discovering the Vibrational Energy of True Love
Despite all the books about love written every year, the author of this book contends that many people still don’t have a grasp on what love actually is. The existence of the idea of true love implies that many types of love are false. This book explores what love is, using ideas from vibrational energy and quantum theory to truly define the meaning of love.
#29 – Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain and Attachment Style Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Build a Secure Relationship
Stan Tatkin and Harville Hendrix
This book utilizes science about the brain to help people improve their romantic relationships. The authors argue that most brains respond positively to common elements of a relationship, including rituals and comforting words. By increasing the quality and quantity of these elements, couples can boost their relationships.
#30 – The Scientific American Book of Love, Sex and the Brain
In her third book about the brain, Horstman explores the neuroscience behind love in all of its forms. Using the latest in scientific research and articles from Scientific American, the author explores both the importance of love and the evolutionary history of human love. The book traces the impact of all types of love, such as the effect of parental love on brain development or the addictive qualities of romantic love.
#31 – The Power of Love: Ten Spiritual Practices that Can Transform Your Life
As part of the author’s “Laws of Love” series, this book seeks to teach its readers how they can draw closer to God by learning to love without condition. The book contains a series of ten practices that readers can work on to improve their ability to love. After successfully adopting each of the different practices over a ten-week period, readers will have a greater understanding of this transcendent human emotion.
#32 – The Great Gatsby
F. Scott Fitzgerald
This classic of American literature gives readers a close look at the decay hiding underneath the gilded surface of the Roaring Twenties. The story follows Jay Gatsby, a poor soldier who turned to a life of bootlegging and crime to amass a fortune so that he can pursue his one true love, Daisy, a wealthy socialite. However, as Gatsby continues his pursuit of the now-married Daisy, the consequences of his choices begin to catch up to him.
#33 – The Love Dare
Alex Kendrick and Stephen Kendrick
Although unconditional love is often held up as a perfect ideal at weddings, many marriages fall victim to conditions and demands. This book about love offers to guide readers through a 40-day journey so that they can achieve unconditional love in their marriages. Each day offers scriptures, advice and a daily dare, such as not saying anything negative about one’s spouse.
#34 – The Mastery of Love: A Practical Guide to the Art of Relationship
Don Miguel Ruiz and Janet Mills
This book applies the three Toltec masteries to human relationships. Through parables and other stories, the authors help the reader to pierce through the veil of misunderstanding that characterizes many relationships. They teach that before people can hope to enjoy positive relationships with others, they must first nurture a healthy relationship with themselves.
#35 – The Book of Love Towards God: Biblical Poems
Rev. Claiborne Brown
This book, inspired by a poem recited by the rapper DMX while appearing on a television show, is filled with poems about divine love. The passages are based on biblical ideas, such as the “Second Chance Prayer,” which acknowledges the author’s imperfections but asks for God to give him the strength to become better.
#36 – The Divorce Remedy: The Proven 7-Step Program for Saving Your Marriage
Michele Weiner Davis
When marriages are rife with problems, many couples fall into the trap of believing that divorce is the only option. However, in this book, the author instead offers practical solutions to common marriage problems. By eliminating hurtful methods of communication and identifying tangible goals, couples can shore up a damaged relationship and avoid divorce.
#37 – The 50 Greatest Love Letters of All Time
David H. Lowenherz
In the eyes of Lowenherz, few things capture the depth and intensity of human emotion like love letters. This book of love letters features eloquent and witty letters written by famous historical figures, such as Henry VIII, Zelda Fitzgerald and more. These love letters reveal the tender and emotional private lives that many of these figures hid from the public, allowing modern readers a glimpse into the real people behind the historical giants.
#38 – The Art of Loving
This book was one of the first books about love in the modern self-help industry. It teaches readers to reject the idea that love is something magical and to instead approach love as a skill that can be practiced and improved. Throughout the book, Fromm teaches about brotherly love, platonic love, romantic love and more.
#39 – The Birth Order Book of Love: How the #1 Personality Predictor Can Help You
In this book, the author analyzes relationships through the theory of birth-order personality types. He divides people into 12 different categories, such as last born or first born, and gives advice on how to communicate with that type or person. He also analyzes celebrity relationships through the lens of his theory.
#40 – Pride and Prejudice
A classic fixture of English literature, “Pride and Prejudice” explores how assumptions and terrible first impressions can stand in the way of love. The protagonists, Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, meet near the beginning of the book and take an instant loathing to each other through a series of misunderstandings. However, in confronting their misunderstandings and working to overcome them, the pair eventually develop a deep love.
#41 – Real Love
In this book about love, Greg Baer pulls together data gleaned from interviewing hundreds of couples and individuals to give couples a map to help them stay in love. This roadmap includes learning how to love unconditionally and taking responsibility for your own happiness instead of relying on your partner to make you happy.
#42 – Redeeming Love: A Novel
This retelling of the biblical story of Hosea places the tale in California during the gold rush. Angel, a woman who has suffered much at the hands of men, marries a kind farmer named Michael. With the help of her husband’s love, Angel learns to let go of her pain.
#43 – Rumi: The Book of Love : Poems of Ecstasy and Longing
Jalāl al-Dīn Rūmī (Maulana), Coleman Barks
Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet, left behind poetry exploring all types of love. His poems, which explore themes such as new love, the grief of a loved one’s passing, and the joy of true friendship, have lasted through the ages. In this collection, Coleman Barks includes introductions to help the reader understand the text.
#44 – On Love
Alain de Botton
This fictional love story follows the course of a relationship that began on an international flight as the narrator quickly fell in love with another passenger. Throughout the book, the narrator details the history of their romance with charts and diagrams. Ultimately, the relationship ends, but the narrator leaves many reflections on love for readers to enjoy.
#45 – Overwhelmed: Work, Love and Play When No One Has the Time
Thanks to busy schedules packed with work, parental duties, chores, social events and more, few parents have time to spend pursuing their own leisure interests. This book examines the lack of leisure in today’s culture and how parents can make a change so they have more time for love.
#46 – Loving Our Kids On Purpose: Making a Heart-To-Heart Connection
Although many parents prefer to set limits on what their children can or cannot do, Danny Silk suggests allowing children more freedom to do as they wish, leaving them to face the consequences of their actions alone. This parenting style is intended to empower children to learn how to make good decisions early in their lives.
#47 – LOVE: Quotes and Passages from the Heart
The enduring words of well-known politicians, actresses, authors, fictional characters and more make up this collection of passages and quotes about love. Romantic love isn’t the only topic covered by this treasure trove of quotes; the book also includes thoughts about families and friendships.
#48 Love: The Words and Inspiration of Mother Teresa
This thoughtful book about love features quotes from the famous humanitarian, Mother Teresa. Motivated by love for her fellow humans, Mother Teresa devoted her life to supporting and advocating for the poor. Readers can enjoy photographs throughout the book as they learn more about the power of love from someone who touched many lives in her time.
#49 Love, Freedom, and Aloneness: The Koan of Relationships
This book is an examination of one of the inherent contradictions in the human condition: We love to be around others, but we also crave solitude. The author explores the interplay between these two opposing ideals, and gives his readers an understanding of how these two competing drives can work together to bring about love and happiness. The ideas contained within its pages can help readers gain a deeper understanding of love and solitude.
#50 – Love at First Click: The Ultimate Guide to Online Dating
Online dating is becoming more popular, but it’s easy to make a few mistakes if you’re new to the scene. This guidebook offers advice on a number of topics, including picking a dating site, creating a winning profile and taking your relationship from the screen to real life. In the new world of online dating, this might be one of the most useful books about love that you can find.