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10 Modern Must-Read Romantic Novels and Poetry Books for 2021

Love romance novels library. Photographed by Josh Felise. Image via Unsplash

Romance yourself with a modern-day love story!

Classic love stories like Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice are great in their own right, but they are incomparable to modern-day love stories. For one, modern love stories are less constricted by the patriarchy. They’re also multifaceted offering more than just lovey-dovey scenarios. And, most importantly, they are fit and more relatable to a modern audience.

Of course, it’s not just fictional novels that tell great stories; there’s poetry too.

Float on air as you read some of the most rhythmic and eloquent stories of our recent times. Whether prose or poetry, there’s bound to be something here for you with our guide to the 10 best modern romantic novels and poetry books you must read in 2021:

<strong>Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine</strong> by Gail Honeymoon
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Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeymoon

Romance and mystery go together like a matching cup and saucer in Gail Honeymoon’s debut novel. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine tells the story of a social outcast whose mundane life gets turned upside down when she meets Raymond, a regular IT guy. Together they save an elderly man named Sammy, which launches them all on a quest to save themselves from the life of social isolation they’ve all lived in. And, who knows, Eleanor may just find out what true love really is…

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<strong>The Sun and Her Flowers</strong> by Rupi Kaur
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The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

Poetry is the language of love harnessing the ability to transform thoughts and ideas into evocative scenes. And Rupi Kaur knows just how to use it. In The Sun and Her Flowers, Rupi uncovers various forms of love – from blossoming to wilting and the nitty-gritty in between. Perhaps most notably is how this poetry book focuses on the greatest love of all: the love you have for yourself.

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<strong>Norwegian Wood</strong> by Haruki Murakami
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Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami

First launched in 1987, this book is set in the glory days of 1969. Toru, a young student who’s living in Tokyo, is in love with Naoko. But their attraction is marked by the death of their best friend years before. As Toru adapts to campus life and the isolation he faces there, he deviates from Naoko in search of new love with a sexually liberated young woman. Filled with marvellous metaphors and plenty of insight, Norwegian Wood is Haruki Murakami’s most unusual love story.

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<strong>The Longest Ride</strong> by Nicholas Sparks
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The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks

Famed for his bestselling work The Notebook, Nicholas Sparks’ latest creation The Longest Ride cements his skills as a master storyteller. It centres on two love stories that have more in common than meets the eye. Ira Levinson is a 91-year-old man struggling to stay conscious after a car crash. And then his long-dead wife Ruth appears, urging him to hang on. In another county, Sophia Danko is recovering from a break-up where she meets Luke, a rugged cowboy who takes her on a journey. And soon, they’ll intertwine.

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<strong>Devotions</strong> by Mary Oliver
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Devotions by Mary Oliver

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver has curated a selection of her best poems, with each focusing on the power of devotion. Within the 200 poems are sweet observations of daily life, spanning her long career from her first published book of poetry in 1963 to her latest creation, Felicity, published in 2015. The perfect book for bedtime reading, bringing the loveliest of dreams from the page.

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<strong>The Essential Rumi</strong> by Coleman Barks
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The Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks

Translated by Coleman Barks, The Essential Rumi is a re-release from a collection in 1995, showcasing powerful poetry in the English form. It is romanticism in its most elegant form. But there’s more to this book than love ‒ more specifically, readers can find a collection of worldly treasures and lessons.

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<strong>Call Me By Your Name</strong> by André Aciman
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Call Me By Your Name by André Aciman

Poetry and prose go hand in hand, especially when André Aciman writes. This book is a colourful, deeply introspective novel about a 17-year-old boy named Elio who has a summer fling with the much more mature Oliver. Its beautiful and evocative language will transform everything you know about love and lust while simultaneously drawing you into a world of carnal appetites and the yearn for unbridled connection.

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<strong>The Fault In Our Stars</strong> by John Green
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The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

The movie adaptation of this was the talk of the town in 2014, but, as always, the book is always so much better. It’s a coming-of-age romance novel that tells the story of Hazel who’s battling a terminal illness, and Augustus who falls in love with her. It’s deeply raw and powerfully emotional, bringing insight into unconditional love against all odds. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry and you’ll never be the same again after reading this.

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<strong>Swimming Lessons</strong> by Lili Reinhart
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Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart

One of the greatest poetry books to launch during the COVID-19 pandemic is Swimming Lessons by Lili Reinhart. It’s her debut collection exploring the blossoms of young love, the struggles of mental health and bittersweet passion. You’ll be intimately drawn into a youthful world that uncovers the beauty of humanity and the deepness of burgeoning life. Each poem digs into the world of young womanhood in an identity-obsessed world.

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<strong>From Blood and Ash</strong> by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout

From Blood and Ash is a medieval romance budding with love, lust and all the violence that comes with it. Living the solitary life as a maiden, Poppy has been chosen from birth to usher in a new era for the kingdom she’s part of. But things heat up when Hawke, a golden-eyed guard honour-bound to ensure her ascension, enters her life. He incites her anger, makes her question everything she believes in, and tempts her with the forbidden.

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Looking for more to add to your 2021 reading list? Start with these 10 best Australian books and then relive sporting season with one of these 10 sport autobiographies you must read. For a real page turner, you can’t look past these 21 bookshops in Australia that you must visit in 2021.

Feature image: Photographed by Josh Felise. Image via Unsplash.
Editor’s Note: Our writers and contributors have independently selected and curated this article, and all opinions are their own. This article does contain affiliate links which allow us to make revenue off some purchases made by our readers.
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