Of Love and Literature

A new book attempts to demonstrate that some literary classics contain valuable dating advice for the modern era.

Courtesy of publisher.

After being ignored by the male guests at a party in SoHo, writer Maura Kelly turned to her friend Jack Murnighan for advice. The literary buff handed her his copy of War and Peace and instructed the former Closter resident to focus on the character of Natasha. She would show Kelly all she needed to know about being alluring.

Kelly followed his advice and a light bulb went on. Suddenly, she felt more in control of her “romantic destiny.” Kelly shared this wisdom with a friend who responded, “It’s not fair that you have Jack all to yourself.” And with that the seed for her next book was planted.

In Much Ado About Loving: What Our Favorite Novels Can Teach You About Date Expectations, Not-So-Great Gatsbys and Love in the Time of Internet Personals, authors Kelly and Murnighan demonstrate that most literary classics contain great lessons about romance that are still relevant today. Sure, Jane Austen never experienced online romance or speed dating, but she had plenty of exposure to momma’s boys, cheats, narcissists and elitists.

The authors take a magnifying glass to some of literature’s great and not-so-great hookups, injecting some of their own dating triumphs and faux pas, both relatable and comical. Learn 10 things you shouldn’t say after sex from Lady Chatterley’s Lover; why you shouldn’t obsess over someone who is just not that into you from Great Expectations; and what types of men to watch out for from F. Scott Fitzgerald, David Foster Wallace and Ernest Hemingway. And maybe this Valentine’s Day you’ll rock that certain je ne sais quoi that will snag you a second date—all thanks to Leo Tolstoy.

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