Female romance readers, do you love reading romance but hate that you can rarely discuss books with the men in your life? A lot of men wrongly assume that love stories are for women only, and in a world where almost every other form of entertainment is geared toward men, it can be just fine to have our own thing. Sometimes, though, it would be great to share a good book recommendation with your husband, or boyfriend, or male best friend, and have them actually agree to read it. Well, it turns out there is another whole section of romantic fiction that you’re probably missing out on and it just might bridge the gap. It’s called Lad Lit and you’re going to love it just as much as he will.
You may have experienced this genre without even knowing it. The defining factor of Lad Lit is the less-than-mature twenty or thirty-something man finding his way in the world, and usually falling in love in the process. Wait, this sounds a lot like a movie or two you might have seen. That’s right. You’re already watching the film versions. From the sweet and swoony Silver Linings Playbook, to the raunchier slapstick Judd Apatow films like Knocked Up, these kinds of stories are probably already a staple in your Netflix queue. The book versions are just as good.
The best part about adding some Lad Lit to your romance reading pile is that you get the man’s perspective on relationships straight from the horse’s mouth. As a woman, reading the hero’s POV written by a man—uncut, unfiltered and completely NOT sugar-coated for my benefit—was eye-opening. If you want to know what the men in your life are really thinking, especially when it comes to women and love, try out these books. And even better, see if your guy will read them with you!
Here are a few suggestions to get you started in the Lad Lit genre:
Who doesn’t love a second-chance romance? Danny Jackson is a forty-something, recently-divorced man who goes back to his alma mater to relive some of his glory days. In the process, he mends some long-broken friendships and, oh yeah, just happens to reconnect with his college sweetheart. This book is mostly about the hero’s journey from has-been to hope, but the love story, especially the flashback retelling, is prime romance material. Chances are, if you have a romance-phobic boyfriend or husband, he has no idea what he’s missing by ignoring stories like this. Give him a copy of Postgraduate and read along with him.
If you like your romances with fantasy elements, workplace meet-cutes, and nerdy heroes, this is the Lad Lit book for you. This book also features an age gap, so if that’s your thing, snatch this one up, then tell your guy about the time machine in the garage (!) and see who turns the pages faster. Between the hero’s complex and emotionally formative relationship with his late father, the accurate as hell depiction of the corporate grind, and the hotel sex, this romance was tailor-made for men, but there is much to love here for any romance fan.
Here’s another one with an age gap between hero and heroine. It also features a virgin heroine, and a little bit of a love triangle—a couple of tropes that garner a lot of fans in the romance world. Alli is an up and coming singer-songwriter on the Boston music scene, the next Taylor Swift as the blurb says, and Nick is fresh off the heart-break of a lifetime. Romance fans will love the budding relationship between shy and somewhat naive Alli, and Nick who, though he has a bit more experience than her, still has a lot to learn about life and love. Everyone will love all of the amazing music and vivid depictions of the night life in your twenties. This is a book that you can recommend to the men in your life and feel confident that there is something here for everyone, so get a copy, put on your favorite Spotify station, and open a bottle of wine for the perfect book club/date night.
There you have it. The next time your favorite guy is looking for something to read, introduce him to the world of Lad Lit and enjoy it with him. Don’t forget to say ‘I told you so’ when he loves it.