The Best Books About Relationships To Read Now

Debut author EMILY PHILLIPS shares three books she’s reading and one that INSPIRED HER OWN NOVEL


Emily Phillips is features director of Grazia. Her debut novel is a comedy about what to expect when you’re not expecting. When the baby doesn’t appear for Olivia and Felix, instead come distractions: clambering ungracefully up the career ladder, family pressure, suburban boredom and temptation that threatens to upend the happily-ever-after.

Trying, Hodder & Stoughton, £14.99stg.

Conversations With Friends by Sally Rooney

I started this as part of our magazine’s book club, but enjoyed it one so much I’ve eked it out. I love how assured Sally Rooney is as a writer, calm-headed, simple but searingly truthful – just like Frances. Having written a storyline (spoiler!) from the other side of an affair – within the marriage – I really lapped up how Frances perceives Melissa and Nick’s relationship from the outside as she works her way in. Also, isn’t this cover a beautiful sight to behold? Faber & Faber, €14.99.

I Love Dick by Chris Kraus

Clearly I’m obsessed with attractively designed books about people having affairs, but this book absolutely blew me away. I’m re-reading it now as I watch the excellent Kathryn Hahn and Kevin Bacon in the Amazon series. The epistolary structure was so influential on parts of my book: how couples talk to each other in messages. I was interested in the blurred boundaries of what can be allowed in a marriage and reading about sex through a female prism. Profile Books, €14.85.

The Break by Marian Keyes

I’ve worked my way through Marian Keyes’ back catalogue, so her latest novel is now top of my “to read” pile. I love the warmth of her humour and the way she renders family, so I’m excited to get deep into the heart of – yep, another relationship on the rocks. I enjoy seeing how relationships can flex and bend and Keyes writes beautifully on the realities of being together, and coming to grips with issues both big and scary, and tiny peculiarities which make your marriage unique. Penguin Books, €12.99.

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