Street art by Amberella
Some call it Valentine’s Day, some call it Single Awareness Day (SAD). If you fall into the latter group, you are likely looking for a way to either ignore the hearts and flowers overflowing from every store aisle, or you are expanding your right to protest by launching a full-scale Anti-Valentine’s Day attack.
So if you’re out shopping for ironic candy hearts that say “Platonic Forever” and planning to watch a bunny boil in Fatal Attraction, add a little reading material that will also make you happy you’re single for the night.
Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
It’s the grandmother of all dark love stories. Seriously, if you haven’t read the classic by now, spoiler alert—Heathcliff and Catherine do not live happily every after. In fact, Heathcliff has become a benchmark for all revenge-obsessed lovers in literature. Apparently, love even sucks on the Yorkshire moors.
The Shining, Stephen King
If classic revenge stories don’t fully reach the depths of your Valentine’s Day animosity, you’d be hard pressed to find a fictitious married couple whose relationship deteriorates into more dangerous territory than Jack and Wendy at the Overlook Hotel. If you’re reading it while snowed in on February 14th, be happy you’re single and not locked with a creepy psychic kid on a big wheel and a lunatic husband with an axe.
This is How You Lose Her, Junot Díaz
Most people won’t have time to read an entire novel on Valentine’s Day (and how could you, if you’re also watching hate movies and making a “Love Hurts” playlist), so try a collection of romantically ill-fated short stories instead. Whether Yunior, the primary character, gets busted for cheating (repeatedly), or he’s sleeping with a substitute teacher, his relationships do not go smoothly. Bonus—you could pick any story and mail it to your ex to explain, “This is how you lost me.”
Why We Broke Up, Daniel Handler
The title is a pretty big spoiler that should appeal to any Anti-Valentine’s Day fan, but it’s even better for those who have shoeboxes under their beds full of memorabilia from past relationships and un-mailed letters scorning exes. Now imagine if you sent it all. You know you’ve thought about it. And that’s exactly what Min does to her ex-boyfriend Ed in this young adult novel written by the man who also brought us Lemony Snicket.
I Hate Valentine's Day, Bennett Madison
If you’re still at a complete loss as to how to effectively convey your loathing for this Hallmark holiday, consider this step-by-step manual that will guide you through the pain. It’s funny, short, and even considers why this twenty-four hour period might be miserable for those who are in a relationship, as much as for those who aren’t. Helpful tip—eat at a fast food restaurant, because no one is dumb enough to bring their beloved there that night.
A Crankenstein Valentine, Samantha Berger
Kids are notorious for puking at the mushy love stuff, which makes this picture book perfect for any child refusing to pass out obligatory Valentines to everyone in the class. Not only does Crankenstein hate the holiday, but the book has an added feature of fantastic end papers with ironic candy heart slogans like “Just leave” and “I’ve seen better.” It’s for grown ups and kids alike.
Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn
It might be a cliché, but it’s also impossible not to include this dark novel on any anti-relationship list. So for anyone who’s ever been called “crazy” by an ex, revisit Amy Dunne’s twisted actions and remind yourself—hey, I could have done a lot worse. Nick and Amy take psycho and dysfunctional to level we all hope is unmatched in real life.