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Books Briefing: Giving Romance a Language

📚 Find Me, by André Aciman

📚 Call Me by Your Name, by André Aciman


How to fall in love over text

Emergency Contact is a book about how relationships that begin as a collection of pixels can become capital-R Real—in the Velveteen Rabbit sense. It’s also about the vague and slippery rules of communication in the digital age that both help and hurt those relationships.”

📚Emergency Contact, by Mary H. K. Choi


Writing unconventional narratives that reconstruct love

“Maggie Nelson’s Bluets, an ode to a mysterious ‘prince of blue,’ written in short, numbered sections, [is] more like a philosophical proof than a traditional love story.”

📚 Bluets, by Maggie Nelson

📚 Heart Berries, by Terese Marie Mailhot


(Tamas Panczel-Eross / Shutterstock)

An Exclusive Love is a romantic tragedy

“The book chronicles the final hours of Vera and Pista Adorjan, Hungarian Jews who had survived the Holocaust and the 1956 uprising in Budapest. In old age, with Pista suffering from a prolonged illness, the two made the decision to take their own lives, hand in hand, in Denmark in 1991.”

📚 An Exclusive Love, by Johanna Adorján


(New York Public Library)

Men who love too much

“Patrick Hamilton’s exceptional, and overlooked, novels show that falling in love with the wrong person is misery—and it isn’t much fun for the wrong person either.”

📚 The Midnight Bell, by Patrick Hamilton

📚 Hangover Square, by Patrick Hamilton

📚 The Siege of Pleasure, by Patrick Hamilton


The Reference Desk

(New York Public Library)

This week’s question comes from Nancy: “Which collections of poetry do you recommend and why?”

The poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winner Gwendolyn Brooks wrote with sensitive precision about black life, communicating reflections that are both incisive and nuanced. Her largest collection of poems is titled Blacks. Anne Carson’s Nox is a book-length elegy for the poet’s brother, who died unexpectedly after maintaining little contact with her in the decades after he ran away from home. Nox is enclosed in a boxlike outer cover and is experimentally printed on accordion-style pages. The poems inside relay fragments of the mysterious circumstances of Carson’s brother’s disappearance and death, tracking moments of the siblings’ relationship and the overall experience of remembering a loved one who’s no longer living.

Write to the Books Briefing team at booksbriefing@theatlantic.com or reply directly to this email with any of your reading-related dilemmas. We might feature one of your questions in a future edition of the Books Briefing and offer a few books or related Atlantic pieces that might help you out.


About us: This week’s newsletter is written by Myles Poydras. The book he’s reading right now is Lot, by Bryan Washington.


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