Reading list

6 books to help you find love

From cookbooks to chemistry, love letters to lonely hearts, finding love isn't easy. Read on for our 7 best books to point you in the right direction...

The Ladybird Book of Dating 

Jason Hazeley and Joel Morris

The modern world of romance is a daunting place, so best to start simple. The Ladybird Book of Dating will help adults just starting out to familiarise themselves with the elementary vocabulary and principles of dating. Readers will repeat and consolidate these key points throughout the book and gain confidence, all the while enjoying bright and helpful illustrations. A gold star to all those who complete it.

Shapely Ankle Preferr'd

Francesca Beauman

From arranged marriages to Tinder, people have been searching for ways to vet their suitors since time immemorial. Enter Francesca Beauman and her hilarious collection of historical lonely hearts ads. For hundreds of years these listings have been placed in newspapers, journals and, more recently, online. Beauman deftly charts the evolution of dating through this unusual but hugely revealing medium. What did we look for in a partner in the seventeenth century? And, more to the point, what's desirable now? Who knows, you might just pick up a few tips for your own ad.

This Modern Love

Will Darbyshire

As his traumatic break-up unfolded, YouTube star Will Darbyshire turned to his followers for guidance. Then he began chatting to them on Twitter and Instagram too. Before he knew it, he was conducting a full-scale survey of dating and romantic etiquette in the modern era. Somehow able to elicit the most intimate and private thoughts of his audience, he used them to assemble this therapeutically honest, melancholy, ultimately charming collection of sources, from love letters to screenshots.

First Dates

Fred Sirieix

Fred Sirieix is best known as the endearingly charming Maitre'd on Channel 4 dating show First Dates. He's seen a few good first dates - and many more terrible ones - and is on hand to share his tips for success. Hopefully, you won't have the pressure of 40+ hidden cameras or 60-odd crew members during your romantic dinner but, if Fred can impart such pearls of wisdom on-screen in the midst of all that, imagine what treasures lay in the pages of this book.

The Lovers Cookbook

Milton Crawford

If eating in is more your bag, try a candlelit dinner with a difference - made by your own fair hand. Dip into Milton Crawford's raunchy recipe book for inspiration, starting with cocktails, continuing through the courses and ending with, well, more cocktails. From the lovely to the lewd, Crawford has the just the dish to entice your prospective lover. How about the saucy haunch of venison? Like something spicier? The Pineapple and Pork Curry should fit the bill. And for dessert? Well, you can probably imagine. You might like to have the same author's Hungover Cookbook to hand, just in case...

Related features