I have been reviewing books for Psych Central since 2015. Happily, many of them have been about single people, single life, or experiences particularly relevant to single life. Even better, each year seems to bring even more singles-relevant books than the year before. There are now so many that it seems worthwhile to assemble a list of them, and that’s what I’ve done here. I will continue to update this post as more reviews and discussions are published.

If you think books about single people are all about dating and other ways of escaping single life, you are in the wrong century. In many nations around the world, more people than ever before are single, many by choice. They deserve affirming and unapologetic books about their lives, and at last, they are getting plenty of them.

Here are 63 books for and about badass single people, organized into 8 categories. Included are links to the books, to reviews I’ve written of many them, and (under “also see”) to other essays I’ve written relevant to the themes of the books. Not all of the books that deserve to be mentioned are listed here; I hope to continue adding to this collection. Deliberately excluded are any books with a “poor me, I’m single” mentality. If you liked the attitude of a previous Medium essay of mine, Writing single life: A manifesto, I think you will approve of this collection.

The books are listed in these categories:

  • Single Life as Described by Social Scientists, Reporters, and Other Professionals
  • Memoirs, Essays, and Cultural Critiques
  • Friends and Family
  • Solitude, Happy Loners, and Living Alone
  • Transitions: Moving, Retiring, Divorcing, Becoming Widowed
  • Not Specifically, or Not Only, about Single Life, But Relevant to It
  • Activism, Advocacy, and Social Justice
  • Critiques of Marriage and Love

Single Life as Described by Social Scientists, Reporters, and Other Professionals

  1. Happy Singlehood: The Rising Acceptance and Celebration of Solo Living, by Elyakim Kislev

Here’s my review.

Also see:

19 ways single people are doing way better than you realized

What makes single people happy?

The social lives of single people

What the right online community can do for you

 

  1. Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

Living Single” blog at Psychology Today

Single at Heart” blog at Psych Central

 

  1. The New Single Woman, by Kay Trimberger

Also see:

Kay, Kate, and the single ladies, Part 1: Different experiences of single life across the generations

Kay, Kate, and the single ladies, Part 2: Experiments in living outside of a nuclear family household

Single women in India: A conversation with Kay Trimberger

 

  1. Leftover in China: The Women Shaping the World’s Next Superpower, by Roseann Lake

Here’s my review.

Also see:

China’s “leftover women” and “shake and bake” husbands

Women who hid in empty graves to avoid marrying

 

  1. All the Single Ladies: Unmarried Women and the Rise of an Independent Nation, by Rebecca Traister

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Before “All the Single Ladies” there was “Singled Out”

 

  1. A Table for One: A Critical Reading of Singlehood, Gender, and Time, by Kinneret Lahad

Also see:

“A Table for One”: Singles scholar Kinneret Lahad tells us about her new book

Telling our personal stories: What we will – and will not – get out of it

Israeli scholar calls for the politicization of singlehood

 

  1. One: Valuing Single Life, by Clare Payne

Also see:

The double standards of single life

 

  1. Here Comes the Bride: Women, Weddings, and the Marriage Mystique, by Jaclyn Geller

Also see:

Meet a brilliant, fearless, and funny satirist of the marriage mystique

 

  1. The Challenge of Being Single, by Marie Edwards

Also see:

A singles manifesto, from a pioneer

 

  1. Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

What’s wrong with studies and claims about the supposed benefits of marriage?

 

  1. How to Be Single and Happy: Science-Based Strategies for Keeping Your Sanity While Looking for a Soul Mate, by Jennifer L. Taitz

Here’s my review.

Also see:

What does it mean when married people feel sorry for single people?

 

  1. It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single, by Sara Eckel

Also see:

About those 27 wrong reasons you are single

 

  1. The Best of Single Life, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

The real reasons for living single

Memoirs, Essays, and Cultural Critiques

  1. No Thanks: Black, Female, and Living in the Martyr-Free Zone, by Keturah Kendrick

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Single life in the 21st century: A guide to owning it

The two choices women make that are routinely met with skepticism

 

  1. Spinster: Making a Life of One’s Own, by Kate Bolick

Here’s my review.

Also see:

10 fun facts about spinsters

50 shades of single

Spinster is the new black

 

  1. Hard to Love: Essays and Confessions, by Briallen Hopper

Here’s my review.

Also see:

From “The One” to “the ones”: A beautiful personal story

What should you call the people who feel like family but aren’t?

 

  1. The Art of Not Falling Apart, by Christina Patterson

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Insights and quips from “The Art of Not Falling Apart”

 

  1. No One Tells You This, by Glynnis MacNicol

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Is there a script for your life if you choose to be single?

 

  1. The Unexpected Joy of Being Single, by Catherine Gray

            Here’s my review.

Also see:

Are friendships psychologically healthier than romantic relationships?

Author of new book explains why not dating is better than dating

 

  1. I Didn’t Work This Hard Just to Get Married, by Nika C. Beamon 

Also see:

Life experiences of successful single black women

 

  1. Single State of the Union: Single Women Speak Out on Life, Love, and the Pursuit of Happiness, edited by Diane Mapes

Also see:

The singles collection

 

  1. If Someone Says, “You Complete Me,” RUN!, by Whoopi Goldberg

Also see:

Why Whoopi Goldberg doesn’t want anyone to complete her

 

  1. Single: Arguments for the Uncoupled, by Michael Cobb

Also see:

Who is the true avatar of the lonely crowd – the single person or the couple?

Have you been bullied into coupling?

Not against coupling but beyond it

 

  1. Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics, by Sasha Cagen

Also see:

“Single at heart”: Is it Quirkyalone’s naughty cousin?

 

Friends and Family

 

  1. Modern Families: Stories of Extraordinary Journeys to Kinship, by Joshua Gamson

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Our families: What’s missing?

Radically new families and how they are becoming more ordinary

 

  1. How We Live Now: Redefining Home and Family in the 21st Century, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

Innovative 21st century living arrangements

 

  1. Single Parents and Their Children: The Good News No One Ever Tells You, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

Single parents and their children: Don’t believe the prophecies of doom

 

  1. We Live for the We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood, by Dani McClain

Also see:

Stigmatized? Tell another story about yourself – about your strengths

 

  1. Single, No Children: Who Is Your Family?, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

Adults with no kids

 

  1. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not to Have Kids, edited by Meghan Daum

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Choosing not to have kids: 16 writers bare their souls

 

  1. Text Me When You Get Home: The Evolution and Triumph of Modern Female Friendship, by Kayleen Schaefer

Here’s my review.

 

Solitude, Happy Loners, and Living Alone

 

  1. Going Solo: The Extraordinary Rise and Surprising Appeal of Living Alone, by Eric Klinenberg

Also see:

Living alone: 12 things you didn’t know

This book will change our lives

How going solo takes lonely out of being alone

 

  1. Living Alone: Globalization, Identity and Belonging, by Lynn Jamieson and Roona Simpson

Also see:

Where in the world do people live alone?

How living alone will transform men

 

  1. Live Alone and Like It, by Marjorie Hillis

Also see:

Advice to singles from an editor at Vogue – in 1936

My favorite book inscription — from 76 years ago

 

  1. Alone Time: Four Seasons, Four Cities, and the Pleasures of Solitude, by Stephanie Rosenbloom

Here’s my review.

Also see:

My Q and A with Stephanie Rosenbloom for the Washington Post

15 quotes for solitude lovers from the book, “Alone Time”

 

  1. Solitude: A Return to the Self, by Anthony Storr

Also see:

Insights from the most renowned book on solitude

 

  1. Party of One: The Loners’ Manifesto, by Anneli Rufus

Also see:

Why true loners are awesome – and why you thought they weren’t

The happy loner

 

  1. Alone: The badass psychology of people who like being alone, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

The badass personalities of people who like being alone

 

  1. How to Be Alone, by Sara Maitland

Also see:

“How to Be Alone”: 14 quips and tips

 

  1. Odd Woman and the City: A Memoir, by Vivian Gornick

Here’s my review.

 

  1. The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories, by Marina Keegan

Here’s my review.

Also see:

What is the opposite of loneliness?

 

Transitions: Moving, Retiring, Divorcing, Becoming Widowed

 

  1. Splitopia: Dispatches from Today’s Good Divorce and How to Part Well, by Wendy Paris

Here’s my review.

 

  1. Suddenly Single After 50: The Girlfriends’ Guide to Navigating Loss, Restoring Hope, and Rebuilding Your Life, by Barbara Ballinger and Margaret Crane

Here’s my review.

Also see:

If you have been single all your life, you have a lot to be proud of.

 

  1. Making the Big Move: How to Transform Relocation into a Creative Life Transition (3rd edition), by Cathy Goodwin

Here’s my review.

 

  1. Essential Retirement Planning for Solo Agers, by Sara Zeff Geber

            Also see:

How adaptable are you? Find out here.

 

  1. Retiring Solo: Plan to Be Happy, Healthy and Independent in the Years Ahead, by Lori Martinek

Here’s my review.

 

 

Not Specifically, or Not Only, about Single Life, But Relevant to It

 

  1. Happy Ever After: Escaping the Myth of the Perfect Life, by Paul Dolan

Also see:

Is it true that single women with no kids are the happiest?

When their husbands are not around, do married women report less happiness?

 

  1. The New “I Do”: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists, and Rebels, by Susan Pease Gadoua and Vicki Larson

Here’s my review.

Also see:

7 kinds of marriages – and one awesome alternative

 

  1. The New Better Off: Reinventing the American Dream, by Courtney E. Martin

Here’s my review.

 

  1. Somebody Hold Me: The Single Person’s Guide to Nurturing Human Touch, by Epiphany Jordan

Here’s my review.

 

  1. On Silver Wings: A Life Reconstructed, by Kristin Noreen

Here’s my review.

Also see:

Worried about dying alone? Read this story

 

  1. On Being 40 (ish), edited by Lindsey Mead

Here’s my review.

Also see:

How do you know that living single is right for you?

 

Activism, Advocacy, and Social Justice

 

  1. Beyond (Straight and Gay) Marriage: Valuing All Families Under the Law, by Nancy Polikoff

Also see:

The marriage-promotion claim that is right – for all the wrong reasons

 

  1. Has the Gay Movement Failed?By Martin Duberman

            Also see:

            Marriage equality: Was it too small a dream?

How homosexuality got kicked out of the official book of psychiatric illnesses

 

  1. Should marriage be a ticket to privilege? (Books are in sections II and III)

 

  1. Singlism: What It Is, Why It Matters, and How to Stop It, by Bella DePaulo

Also see:

Singlism and matrimania

 

Critiques of Marriage and Love

 

  1. Minimizing Marriage: Marriage, Morality, and the Law, by Elizabeth Brake

Also see:

Should marriage be abolished, minimized, or left alone?

 

  1. A History of Marriage, by Elizabeth Abbott

Also see:

Single life as a ‘satisfying choice and a profound threat’

The couple rises: Historian Elizabeth Abbott explains why

 

  1. More Perfect Unions: The American Search for Marital Bliss, by Rebecca L. Davis

            Also see:

The American quest for bliss in marriage has a checkered past

On asking how to be married and not whether to be

Money problems have nothing to do with marital problems and other bad advice from the past

If marriage keeps changing, does that mean it has no real essence or value?

 

  1. Marriage Confidential: The Post-Romantic Age of Workhorse Wives, Royal Children, Undersexed Spouses, and Rebel Couples Who Are Rewriting the Rules, by Pamela Haag

            Also see:

            Keeping marriage alive with affairs, asexuality, polyamory, and living apart

            Melancholy marriage: Are we in a post-romantic era?

 

  1. Marriage, a History, by Stephanie Coontz

            Also see:

Single in America: 6 cutting-edge perspectives, 2 others

Without unmarried equality, gender equality is not enough

Bigger, broader meanings of love and romance

 

  1. What Love Is and What It Could Be, by Carrie Jenkins

Here’s my review.

 

  1. Love, Inc.: Dating Apps, the Big White Wedding, and Chasing the Happily Neverafter, By Laurie Essig

Here’s my review.

 

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